License Discussion

Anything and everything that's related to OGRE or the wider graphics field that doesn't fit into the other forums.
Lioric
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Post by Lioric » Sun May 15, 2005 3:52 am

Please dont put my words out of their context, if you quote me with some like "i dont want to distribute the source code", you are getting my words out of its intended context, i said "if i do some minor modification, like just exporting a class that was not exported originally, i dont think i had to release the source code", that was what i said, but it is already clarified by Sinbad, so lets end this point
but I'd like your opinion on this: why would we publish the source of the Ogre library freely in the first place, if there wasn't anything for us in it?
Im with you in this too, all i asked is how/why you will benefit of me sending a patch for a trivial change in the engine, a change that will be of use in my own implementation, like deriving all the ogre classes from CUserObject or some like that, to keep pointers to our objects from the ogre engine, but again this was already clarified, so thanks

Sinbad:

Im pretty sure you have worked with publishers, as you know, they dont care if product x is comparable to product y, what they always ask us, is how that featrure x will impact on the target market, meaning, "ok cool you can put or use these hard to spell feature/word, but can we make more money because of it? ", in this case the engine

Here in my desk i have loads of game boxes, with logos all over it because of the publicity of using some techonology, "GameSpy ready...", "Quake III engine based", "3dfx only"(long ago), "Powered by X AI engine", "Made with XXX", not because they are the best, but because they sell more, then how can you explain that there are still companies licensing the quake3 engine, the last was a few months ago, even when the q3 engine is too outdated

After saying this, keep in mind that i am with you, i like the Ogre engine and i have all the intention to support it and use it, what i needed was a clarification of some of the license issues, because LGPL is a interpretation based license, and the word from the copy holders is always good before adopting it in our ptoject

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Post by temas » Sun May 15, 2005 5:36 am

I split this off the old topic cause it was just a total derail.
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Post by :wumpus: » Sun May 15, 2005 11:01 am

Lioric wrote: Im with you in this too, all i asked is how/why you will benefit of me sending a patch for a trivial change in the engine, a change that will be of use in my own implementation, like deriving all the ogre classes from CUserObject or some like that, to keep pointers to our objects from the ogre engine, but again this was already clarified, so thanks
Exactly, those are changes we wouldn't want to propagate into the main source tree anyway. So in this case, mentioning it in a forum post is enough for me :D
Im pretty sure you have worked with publishers, as you know, they dont care if product x is comparable to product y, what they always ask us, is how that featrure x will impact on the target market, meaning, "ok cool you can put or use these hard to spell feature/word, but can we make more money because of it? ", in this case the engine
Of course, of course. Do you know, I've got the perfect solution: License the q3 engine (cheaply these days anyway?), then put it prominently on your desk so the marketing division is in heaven. Then base your actual game on Ogre. You can then put both an ID software and an Ogre logo on the box!
That should help people in their subconscious word association games...
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Post by BenO » Sun May 15, 2005 11:22 am

rofl ^^
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Post by sinbad » Sun May 15, 2005 12:11 pm

Ah yes, marketing. I actually think plastering your box with common engine names can be a bad marketing approach sometimes, since it doesn't take long for customers to become tired of seeing every game powered by the same engine, and in some cases, looking way too much like clones of the game the engine originally used. I think you start getting negative effects - as consumers say 'oh right, yet another FPS based on engine X, that'll be original'. Games often make a splash by not using the incumbents - see Far Cry; the effects in that are now largely attributed to 'the amazing Far Cry engine', when in fact the majority of the look is just great use of shaders, and a smart approach to game design. But because it looked so good, people start thinking that a game made using the CryEngine must inherently look better than one made using any others, which is of course nonsense - it's what they did with it that counts. Same goes for HL2 - most of that is old tech, but used it very well.

Maybe I'm just an abberation, but as a game buyer I couldn't give a flying monkeys what engine a game is based on. If it plays well, and looks good, I really don't care what powers it. I can't believe a significant amount of the population actually make purchasing decisions based on that - sure the hardcore PC crowd often do (especially the slavering tech whores with little taste in actual games, only what feature of their overpowered hardware it uses), but IMO success lies in attracting other game players, not trying to sway that relatively small minority by doing the same thing all the time. I have big respect for Nintendo in this - they seem the only major player with balls enough to really go out on a limb with ideas these days.
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Post by :wumpus: » Sun May 15, 2005 12:45 pm

I don't see how adopting another license would change this. It's just part of the choice of using a well-known commercial engine versus an open source one.
A lesser known commercial engine like Torque doesn't have the HL2/Quake/FarCry ring to it either.
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Post by Lioric » Sun May 15, 2005 8:48 pm

Again, im completly with you on this

But the initial issue was my worries about the grey area LGPL has, im pretty sure you guys (copyright holders) act in good faith, and like me, you want Ogre to continue growing and improving each time

You say that you only need the modifications sended to the patch tracker and its done

Lets suppose that my changes dont make it on the next Ogre release, what happen if some rival company (you already know how agressive its out there in the dev market), wants to obtain the full source code, they can simply download and compile a recent library version and the project will not run, thus having enough to put this on a court, based on license missuse, and the distributor must either offer source code or refrain from distributing at all

In fact, it depends on the legal regime that applies. Consider a
recent (1999) decision of the U. S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Sun
v. Microsoft, which may be found at
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/cir ... 15046.html . The lower court had granted Sun a preliminary injunction against Microsoft's continued distribution of JVMs incompatible with Sun's Java standard

But it think you guys have already told me about how you interpret the license, and the good faith of it, so i will take a look at the Ogre engine again in a few days, i will pass this posts to our legal department to show that Ogre can be used in our projects

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Post by haffax » Sun May 15, 2005 9:22 pm

This is not how it works. The vile rival in your example is no party in your license agreement with the Ogre developers. They have no saying in this at all. They just can't sue you on this. And if they could (which they can't) the complaint was to be dismissed anyway, since all you have to do in this matter, is to publish your changes to Ogre when you distribute your software. Which you do in submitting the patch (or making it otherwise available). Whether or not it is committed to Ogre doesn't matter at all.
(Reading Groklaw educates :D )

And I fail to see the connection between this LGPL matter and the case you presented.
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Post by Lioric » Sun May 15, 2005 10:03 pm

Because the LGPL protects the right of the final user to freely modify the library and recompile the product without the need of the producer publisher/copy right holder (if you want to distribute a commercial project based on section 6, the only way for commercial projects)

in section 6, part a :
..... so that the user can modify the Library and then relink to produce a modified executable containing the modified Library
now you see the relation with the case above (an incompatible version is distributed so its a license violation)

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Post by Phantom » Sun May 15, 2005 10:10 pm

sinbad wrote:Ah yes, marketing. I actually think plastering your box with common engine names can be a bad marketing approach sometimes, since it doesn't take long for customers to become tired of seeing every game powered by the same engine, and in some cases, looking way too much like clones of the game the engine originally used. I think you start getting negative effects - as consumers say 'oh right, yet another FPS based on engine X, that'll be original'. Games often make a splash by not using the incumbents - see Far Cry; the effects in that are now largely attributed to 'the amazing Far Cry engine', when in fact the majority of the look is just great use of shaders, and a smart approach to game design. But because it looked so good, people start thinking that a game made using the CryEngine must inherently look better than one made using any others, which is of course nonsense - it's what they did with it that counts. Same goes for HL2 - most of that is old tech, but used it very well.
I'd have to agree. There are some(many, actually), that blame the complete failure of Irrational game's Tribes: Vengeance on the choice of engine(Unreal). That is ofcoures total bull, but since they don't know better they just blame the first thing they don't like :)
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Post by sinbad » Sun May 15, 2005 10:36 pm

Lioric wrote: now you see the relation with the case above (an incompatible version is distributed so its a license violation)
So long as the changes build against the released version of the engine you are using (which they obviously must), there is no violation. There is no onus on you to make sure changes build against future versions - that's our problem.
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Post by fog » Sun May 15, 2005 11:29 pm

Lioric wrote:Because the LGPL protects the right of the final user to freely modify the library and recompile the product without the need of the producer publisher/copy right holder (if you want to distribute a commercial project based on section 6, the only way for commercial projects)
No, no no. This is wrong. The final user can modify the library but if he introduces incompatibilities then that's their fault, not yours. If you publish the diffs required for the library to work with your program then you're safe because the final user has got everything needed to make "changes that work".
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Post by haffax » Sun May 15, 2005 11:43 pm

Now I am a bit confused. Say I make a game using an LGPL licensed lib, and I violate the license agreement by not publishing my changes as source. Am I liable towards my customer that bought the game? Can he/she/it sue me? I don't think so. I never made the promise to my customer to provide the source of the changes to that lib. So the customer can't take actions only the copyright holder of the library can, because I violated the license agreement. Am I wrong? If so, where?
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Post by Lioric » Mon May 16, 2005 12:44 am

Actually the promise is implicit in the license, but as this is getting a long thread, i will not quote again and again the lgpl sections

No, the customer/buyer is not going to sue you, and in fact he/she/it cant sue you, but any group with demostrated interests (depends on court resolution) in your license issue can, just like the BSA can with software piracy, even when the copy right holder doesnt take any judicial action

As i said, i agree with the Ogre team. This post is nothing but a simple conversation

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Post by qsilver » Mon May 16, 2005 8:21 am

First of all, yes, only the copyright holder has the right to start legal action. A LGPL violation means that you do not have permission to use the library, hence you have committed a copyright violation by distributing it. That is the legal protection of the LGPL; it is founded on copyright law. Only the copyright holder, or an authorized agent of the copyright holder, may take action.

Nobody can sue for copyright because of "demonstrated interests". The BSA can only sue because they are specifically authorized to do so by the authors of the software. (Link: BSA member companies) So to make things perfectly clear: Competitors or third parties cannot sue over the use of Ogre. Ever.


That said, there is another *major* misconception about the LGPL that I want to clarify.

You don't have to send patches back to the Ogre project. We strongly recommend it, because it is an easy way to comply with the LGPL and because it benefits everyone. But it's not strictly required.

You only need to release modified source code to your users. You do not have to give back to "the public" unless your users are the public. People who do not have legal access to your binaries do not have any right to see your source code either.

If your company makes changes to Ogre for use in an internal tool, and the tool is never made public, then you never need to release your changes.

This is radically different from how people often think that the LGPL works. For example, even if you create a commercial game with a modified version of Ogre, you do not have to submit patches! (However, you *do* have to provide the complete source to the buyers of your game. And since your modifications must be included under LGPL, the buyers are then free to submit patches to Ogre. And everyone in the Ogre community will hate you for not having submitted patches. So you're better off doing it yourself and keeping our support!)
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Post by Lioric » Mon May 16, 2005 4:36 pm

Looks like in our country the laws are handled different

Please keep in mind that USA laws only apply to USA territory, no matter how bad USA goverment want it to be it in another country, so please dont belive that because in your country laws work in some way, my contry will do similar

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Post by :wumpus: » Mon May 16, 2005 4:44 pm

How do you think the LGPL is handled differently in your country?
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Post by jacmoe » Mon May 16, 2005 4:48 pm

Everything is handled differently in the US of A :P
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Post by haffax » Mon May 16, 2005 4:54 pm

Lioric, I was under the impression you where from USA too. So what country are you from? And how do the laws there actually differ in this respect? Germany is quite different in the law traditions, but it applies here more or less like qsilver explained.

Edit: And after all it is mostly about the license agreement, not the law. If I have a license agreement with someone it shouldn't matter to any outside party at all.
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Post by Lioric » Mon May 16, 2005 10:22 pm

I prefer to keep my country info not public if i may

What i said was not LGPL specific (about the law here)
But keep in mind that here, the laws are directly related to the money, and they work when there is money in the middle, so belive me when i say that here is not too hard to just create some pseudo group that represent the interests of some party and start to mess around things

[EDIT] removed some country specifics

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Post by makeshiftwings » Thu May 19, 2005 3:27 am

qsilver wrote: That said, there is another *major* misconception about the LGPL that I want to clarify.

You don't have to send patches back to the Ogre project. We strongly recommend it, because it is an easy way to comply with the LGPL and because it benefits everyone. But it's not strictly required.

You only need to release modified source code to your users. You do not have to give back to "the public" unless your users are the public. People who do not have legal access to your binaries do not have any right to see your source code either.

If your company makes changes to Ogre for use in an internal tool, and the tool is never made public, then you never need to release your changes.

This is radically different from how people often think that the LGPL works. For example, even if you create a commercial game with a modified version of Ogre, you do not have to submit patches! (However, you *do* have to provide the complete source to the buyers of your game. And since your modifications must be included under LGPL, the buyers are then free to submit patches to Ogre. And everyone in the Ogre community will hate you for not having submitted patches. So you're better off doing it yourself and keeping our support!)
That's interesting... are you sure about that? Does that mean that the modified code that you distribute to your users isn't actually LGPL'd or even open source? And that the users don't have the right to freely distribute that code? And then I guess it would be different then a patch, where you must transfer the copyright of the patch to the owner of the LGPL library... does the creator maintain the copyright on the modified code if he only distributes it to users who have bought his product?
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Post by regress » Thu May 19, 2005 4:40 am

qsilver wrote: That said, there is another *major* misconception about the LGPL that I want to clarify.

You don't have to send patches back to the Ogre project....it's not strictly required.

This is radically different from how people often think that the LGPL works. For example, even if you create a commercial game with a modified version of Ogre, you do not have to submit patches! (However, you *do* have to provide the complete source to the buyers of your game. And since your modifications must be included under LGPL, the buyers are then free to submit patches to Ogre. And everyone in the Ogre community will hate you for not having submitted patches. So you're better off doing it yourself and keeping our support!)
Qsilver, are you saying that if I use a LGPL library in my game, regardless of dynamically or statically linked, then my entire project's source code must be released? Or only the updates which apply to the library I've linked to? Assume that I sell my project to anyone consumer in the public.

Just curious on this point, thanks.

EDIT: Added portion about target audience being the public, and not a large corporation or something along those lines.
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Post by IoN_PuLse » Thu May 19, 2005 7:27 am

I think the part your should focus on in his post is the "with a modified version of Ogre" part. If you modify Ogre, then you have to release the source to your Ogre with the changes. If you use Ogre (ie: don't modified it) I don't think you are obligated to release your entire source.
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Post by :wumpus: » Thu May 19, 2005 10:25 am

qsilver wrote: You don't have to send patches back to the Ogre project. We strongly recommend it, because it is an easy way to comply with the LGPL and because it benefits everyone. But it's not strictly required.
You do have to submit patches (or the full modified Ogre code) for changes you make. You can try to work around it, legally, but that's not what we try to encourage right?
You only need to release modified source code to your users. You do not have to give back to "the public" unless your users are the public. People who do not have legal access to your binaries do not have any right to see your source code either.
You have to release the modified Ogre source code to your users under the LGPL license. LGPL means that *everyone* has the right to see it, share it, modify it, as long as they respect the license terms. It's not possible to restrict that.
does the creator maintain the copyright on the modified code if he only distributes it to users who have bought his product?
The creator always maintains the copyright of his parts of the Ogre code. Still, the terms of the LGPL apply to it. But it's a misconception that you are giving away copyright. You still have copyright in case someone decides to relicense the library commercially or with a more/less restrictive license, even if it's the project leader that decides that.
Qsilver, are you saying that if I use a LGPL library in my game, regardless of dynamically or statically linked, then my entire project's source code must be released? Or only the updates which apply to the library I've linked to? Assume that I sell my project to anyone consumer in the public.
Please don't spread this kind of nonsense and first read the darn rest of the topic :) LGPL means that you have to distribute the changed *Ogre* source, noone forces you to release the source code of your program, ever.
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Opening up Ogre

Post by Lee04 » Thu May 19, 2005 2:19 pm

Ogre's design is wide open for commersial extensions in any way one would like and if you think something is not open, you can submitt a patch that opens that part up of Ogre as well.

If the patch isn't welcome then publish it on your web page.
Somewhere in the reachable background of your web site.

Here us an example:

I sudgested that the createPass would be put in the scene manager instead of in Technique because I wanted to have a temporal variable during rendering inside the pass structure.

If Technique::createPass calls SceneManagers::createPass to create a pass I am home free I can make my own Pass classes using my own scene manager.

Sinbad warned me that passes are reussed, but my needs are just temporal during rendering phase, so my extended pass class dooge
the fact that passes are shared.


Anyways I just think this way. Most of our work inside the plug-in are derative works (copied code of Ogre), but sence they are inside a plug-in
we are home free. We also have our own code inside there as well. But most of the code is Ogre code.

I say Ogre has a very good structure for letting people add things to it and not share it freely. I think and I have said it before the Ogre team have choosen this design because they to want to add commersial solutions to different parts to Ogre for their commersial customers and private projects.

Ogre just offers fundamental stuff it's up to us to flesh it out and then we can choose when and how we want to share it with the Ogre community.

The one reason to use a commersial engine / tools are patents and comm ersial support. For Renderware there is also the fact that a lot of programmers know how to use it, so its easier to find people that can work with it. Then it supports a lot of plattforms etc.

If you make a game using open source or your own engine, you can get suid if your game is a success (yes they only sue successfull games).

But if you use a commersial engine and tools you are home free, because then you can just say . hey we use there engine, sue them...

I think Renderware has paid to use some technology that is patented so if you use there stuff your company is safer than using home made or open source stuff.

Just my 2 cents

/Lee04
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