Saturday, March 27, 2010

Xonotic - Nexuiz the Free

The first piece of news is that console Nexuiz will be re-written from scratch, because some coders decided against giving permission for a proprietary port (Slashdot , interview). This means no code contributions to Nexuiz.

Secondly, Nexuiz has been forked under the name Xonotic. Because philosophy, because management, because change.

I can't complain! Git repository instead of Subversion, no more tikiwiki (I hope) finally a feed for news (has been added to our Planet)! Open management and content enhancements are on the list of plans and promises, perhaps a little too much even, which led to the creation of a critical thread on our forums.

I have had the pleasure to test the warpzone/visible-portal feature (which is available in Nexuiz' SVN as well):


youtube-dl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qb4zk-31sVU

Currently, instructions to get Xonotic (using git) are here. Compilation is easy and right now the game starts using "./all run -nexuiz".

If you want to get involved, get on their forums and/or get on their IRC! The website is still in development, a public wiki is in the works.

So what do you think about the fork? I understand the "divided we are weaker" point, but console Nexuiz has caused much confusion and a new project (Xonotic) seems like a clear cut and new hope™. Also.. "Xonotic" sounds slightly better than "Nexuiz" in my most humble ears. :)

3 comments:

  1. I think forking was kinda stupid.
    While the same name might be confusing I don't think it can cause any harm to the original Nexuiz. I would say that it's more likely that the console Nexuiz gets hurt by the same name.

    I don't get it why it was simply necessary to act like this. While the original Nexuiz's gain would be minimal from the console version it could have been a stepping stone to encourage more collaboration from the industry or indies with open source communities.

    Now this gives a pretty bad message to the commercial area it's almost like if a software has open source written on it you better forget every ideas you had.

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  2. Unfortunately it's not quite that simple, Ádám.

    What seems to have happened in this case is that the project founder (who was no longer a contributor but DID own the website - and apparently the name):
    (a) made a deal with a commercial games company without bothering to consult (or even tell) any of the contributors
    (b) replaced the existing open source project website with one for the commercial project (there was a small link to a new page for the original project at the bottom of the page).

    This isn't a case of Open Source/Commercial antagonism. It's a case of a project founder acting in a high-handed, dictatorial way and alienating the people who were actually doing all the work.

    Open Source and commercial enterprise can work really well together, but in this case forking was the right thing to do. It was clearly impossible to maintain a viable working relationship here.

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  3. The point is not only Nexuiz name (even if it is an important one).

    Quickly reading this thread http://alientrap.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=6043 it seems that IllFonic is using a LICENSED version of Dark Places.

    Since Nexuiz is a different entity then Dark Places (because Nexuiz is essentially a MOD written in Quake C and using contributors media), based on the informations I/we currently have, there would be no GPL violation, apparently.
    This would be false if they were using Nexuiz specific Quake C code and/or media (textures, models, sounds, ...), configuration files, ... since all Nexuiz contributors, stable developers and media creatives own/share Copyright of that materials and, when they provided that materials to Nexuiz project, decided to release it under GPL license.
    To get license of such materials for closed source project IllFonic should ask agreement to all Nexuiz contributors.

    Secondly, there are also Dark Places specific developers and contributors. There is not only LordHavoc. Simply read this page http://svn.icculus.org/twilight/trunk/darkplaces/ and you will see some of the more recent contributors (for example, someone called molivier and divverent). I don't know who they are and if they are agree on what is happening.
    Though, to license a GPL project for use in a closed source project, it is required to have all contributors agreement (I think). After all, even if GPL would not comprise this requirement, GPL is ruled by international Copyright laws and related rights.

    Apart agreement for closed source license, authors of any art or code own the right to be clearly mentioned. And this cannot be avoided in any way.

    For example, if I had enough time, I would have contributed back to Nexuiz community a Mac OS X native version of Dark Places engine. With specific tweeks for Mac OS X. Luckly I had not enough free time, in fact, I would have not been happy of what is happening.

    About the name, IllFonic is essentialy ok. Even if their decision is disputable there is no law that block them to do so.
    Though, from an ethical point of view, I think that what they are doing is really bad.

    Considering the evil meaning that Nexuiz name is going to acquire in the mind of many people, to change the name to Xnotic is a good decision.
    And I hope that this decision will bring also some enancements to the game (network performances, Mac better support, ...) and team organizzation.

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