Wolfenstein 3D and the Pirates of Cydia.

wolf3d-cydiaOne of the problems with releasing your source code with your data is when people stab you in the back for doing so.

Soon, my next set of iPhone game reviews will go up on AtomicGamer, including Wolfenstein 3D Classic. While investigating the game for review, I came across a version on the Jailbroken iPhone app store called Cydia.

This is all fine and dandy, since the source code was released under the GPL (v2). but the problem is that the scum of the earth who put the game out on the Cydia store (again, a store for Jailbroken iPhones only) disobeyed the license text included with the Wolf 3D source release. Specifically, as summarized by John Carmack himself:

You are on-your-honor to buy a copy at the App Store before using the data. 🙂  The source code is under the GPL, but the data is still strictly copyright Id Software with no license given to distribute outside this code release package or to use for any commercial purpose.  You are certainly free to replace all the data and make commercial applications, as long as the code is made available under the GPL.

What did these asshats do? Well, they put ads and a nag screen on the loading screen of the application so they can make money, which turns it into a commercial project. This is not cool, and I will try to contact these folks and see if they didn’t read the license text.

Update 1:

To be clear for people who didn’t read the text of what I’ve said and probably won’t read this list:

  • The game DATA is not GPL.
  • The game DATA is not to be used in any commercial sense outside of id software’s control
  • This is “ZODTTD” distributing and using the same data from the source zip file provided by id software and slapping his logo and ads on there which makes it commercial usage and thus violates the contract to my understanding.

Update 2:

To give you another example from the past of someone who screwed up this badly, if not worse, and the reaction he received which was (I think) extremely appropriate to the “crime.” Though the two issues were different, they both involve GPL code, and both will hopefully get a reaction from id software. I think most of us old die-hard Quake and id fans remember Slade. Here is how John Carmack dealt with him:

The idea isn’t to punish anyone, it is to have them comply with the license
and continue to contribute. QuakeLives has quite a few happy users, and it
is in everyone’s best interest to have development continue. It just has to
be by the rules.

That was a rather good statement and it holds up to this day. Though it is sad that in this case “ZODTTD” contributes nothing to the Wolf 3D Classic GPL release. I think there is something to be said for people playing a game who otherwise wouldn’t, but it isn’t like Wolf 3D Classic for free on Jailbroken iPhones and iPod touches (no matter how much I love the game itself) is a good argument for piracy. People know what Wolf 3D is, or I’d like to hope that they do, and have many options for playing it at various reasonable price levels.

One person (who I later found out has his site linked from ZODTTD) has posted a ridiculous troll comment here. He made the argument that putting advertisements on a program doesn’t make the distributon of the program commercial. I suspect he might feel differently about that if were to create a popular domain which embedded his site and put advertisements all over it. I suppose these types of arguments are inevitable when you attempt to make people aware of any kind of possibly controversial subject.

At the end of the day, what is really wrong here is that regardless of ZODTTD’s original intentions, he has spelled out some (intentions) with his actions, which are to release and profit off of Wolf 3D Classic via advertisements inserted into the loading screen. That isn’t cool.

Author: Jack Slater

A Philadelphian exiled to Hawaii. You can follow or contact me on Twitter where I'm @TimeDoctor, via the contact page, or via e-mail to zjs AT zacharyjackslater dot com More here.

5 thoughts on “Wolfenstein 3D and the Pirates of Cydia.”

  1. Adding ads to a product does not turn it into a commercial product. Your article is inaccurate and makes some bad assumptions about this. In addition, Zodttd has given the community a lot of great free releases. Perhaps rather than complain (and not contribute anything) you should contact him and let him know you believe this is in violation.

  2. I don’t know about the commercial product claim, but the iPhone Wolf3D license clearly says no permission is given to redistribute the data. Does this ZodTTD bundle contain the game data (the file size of the .deb seems to indicate so)?

    And, in my opinion, emulator porters are bottom-dwelling scum suckers. I bet if I do a diff between id’s released source code and ZodTTD’s Wolf3d code, I won’t find any significant changes — the kid’s just doing it for his ego.

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