Richard Stallman calls Steam on Linux 'unethical'

Richard Stallman, who’s pretty much the father of the free software movement, thinks that Valve is out to screw Linux users out of their freedom. In fact, he thinks that bringing Steam to Linux is downright ‘unethical,’ but it’s still a heck of a lot better than gaming on Windows.

“Nonfree game programs (like other nonfree programs) are unethical because they deny freedom to their users,” Stallman wrote on GNU.org. And while you’ll find plenty of people here on NeoGamr who hate DRM, we’re not sure how many folks you’ll find who are willing to take it as far as Stallman. On the other hand, he isn’t quite taking a ‘burn it with fire’ approach to the matter.

Even as Valve systematically transforms the world of free software into a dystopian wasteland, they’ll still be helping the movement by bringing more users to Linux (err, we mean GNU/Linux) and making it seem like more of a viable platform to Joe Average. The real evil comes from the indirect effects of Valve’s entry into the market: dilution of the GNU message.

Basically, what the whole thing really amounts to is a conspiracy to take the ‘free’ out of ‘free software.’ Even as Valve draws more people into Linux, they make it look less and less like the free platform that it is supposed to be. Basically, it’s better to have a little bit of free software than a lot of nonfree software.

On the other hand, it seems like this is just about the only way the open source community will ever get their hands on hardcore games; despite some admirable efforts, like Battle for Wesnoth, it just seems like an impossible task to bring a title like Team Fortress 2 to life as a free program in the current environment. For better or worse, money makes things roll a lot smoother.

In the end, Stallman has every right to his opinions, and we really do respect him for the work he has done (even if we do poke fun at him from time to time), but we doubt that very many gamers are gonna take his side on this one. Just remember one thing: if you’re downloading from Steam, you’re supporting capitalism!

Via: OMGUbuntu
Source: GNU.org | Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Stallman is just another form of tyranny imho. He is opposed to anything that doesn't mach his very very very narrow viewpoint...when really the truly open platform is the one that embraces any mindset.

While I respect Stallman for his contributions to the idea of free software he often comes across as a bit of a fanatic. He's taken shots at Linux in the past so I wouldn't think that he has much regard for anything that doesn't fit his definition of openness.

Steam could be a attractive addition to people who need another reason to try Linux. Given that Windows 8 will provide a much different experience that previous versions of the OS, this might open the door for more people to take a look at a Linux alternative. Plus if Valve and other developers manage to port their games to a platform that doesn't require DirectX then this will be an interesting development.

It could've been made possible if everything is free, in this world we call Earth...
Until then, hmm... no, it would be nearly impossible.

I don't pay the slightest attention to jackasses like Stallman any more. It's simply impossible that you're going to turn all software in the world FOSS, it should be up to the user to decide what they install. Besides, Valve provide the mapping tools for most of their games free anyway.

Steam could definitely entice some bigger players to develop for Linux. The various indie bundles have shown that typically linux users will donate more than windows or mac users so the market is there.

I for one am happy about Valve getting involved finally with Steam on Linux. The amount of hours that can be wasted getting stuff to run via Playonlinux, wine and winex is not a solution. The ability to serve up games to Linux via Steam would be fantastic, closed/open source - paid or free.

soldier1st said,

lol, good one. anything else to add?

umm yeah. People who want to buy games will install steam and freeloaders are.. well free not to install steam. No one's forcing anyone.

I am all for Steam on Linux.. I'd Switch to Linux 24/7 if my Games worked ok under Linux. but Right now.. some of my Games run 20-30% better on Windows..

I Dualboot and some games Do infact run Faster in Linux under Wine that Windows LOL.

I prefer Strem its nice and Easy to get new Games and its not some Crazy DRM BS.

can you imagine the rift in the PC realm if gaming shifted to Linux? not exclusively. this would surely keep MS honest and on their toes.

Not everyone wants to live on donations and foodstamps.. some people actually expect to get paid for what they program..

Also, having a closed program, on an Open OS, does not make the OS any less open.

Ryoken said,
Not everyone wants to live on donations and foodstamps.. some people actually expect to get paid for what they program..

Also, having a closed program, on an Open OS, does not make the OS any less open.

If someone wants to start charging for an app(when it has been free for a while), then they should inform thier users of the change so the user has the choice of what to do(such as Nick shaw, the creator of D7)

but what if they include modding tools to create user content? I think his comment is a bit hasty. don't they develop alot of games on linux system before compiling it for windows? so I've heard

ChrisJ1968 said,
but what if they include modding tools to create user content? I think his comment is a bit hasty. don't they develop alot of games on linux system before compiling it for windows? so I've heard

Stallman's point always has been "full access to the entire functional code". I guess if Steam releases games that use an open and free engine it will be fine by the fsf standards.

ChrisJ1968 said,
but what if they include modding tools to create user content? I think his comment is a bit hasty. don't they develop alot of games on linux system before compiling it for windows? so I've heard

No. Not really. Most games unless they're cross platform, are developed solely on Windows. Well ok, the art bits might be made on some crappy Mac, but everything else isn't.