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What Does Linux and Role Playing Games Have in Common?

As a recently revived Game Master/DM going back to my RPG roots in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 1st Edition after about a 20 year absence, I find that computer technology has impacted Role Playing Games far beyond being able to play online.

People have been working over the years to "free gaming". Yes, Free in the same terms as open Source software that we use today. Both "free beer" and "Free-dom".

Linux has an Open Source License in the GPL and RPG's have the Open Game License. Due to the proprietariness of many of the original artwork and story content of the gaming modules of games like Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and other game systems, it has become very difficult to access new "modules" or published adventures in which to continue playing the game people have become so fervent over.

Thus, the Open Game License was created to allow "near beer" versions of traditional games systems that allow fans and groups to legally "side step" those proprietary concerns of the original games and still continue to publish and make available new content for game systems that are no longer sold or are out of print but still under copyright.

It's a legal tightrope walk to be sure. Avid fans and supporters work very hard to stick to the rules in order to keep their favorite games alive. The good news...it's working.

Open licenses have far trancended the software universe and continue to have meaningful impact on very diverse areas of social life. I'm not entirely sure that table top RPg's could not only continue to exist but actually are experiencing growth in the ranks, without Open licensing.

The fight for "open-ness" is a good fight and goes way beyond making access of software and media accessible to the masses. Stiking a victory for open licenses in one arena is a victory for open licences in other arenas as well.

More in Tux Machines

Linux on Servers

Debian, Devuan, and Ubuntu

  • My Free Software Activities in April 2016
    I handled a new LTS sponsor that wanted to see wheezy keep supporting armel and armhf. This was not part of our initial plans (set during last Debconf) and I thus mailed all teams that were impacted if we were to collectively decide that it was OK to support those architectures. While I was hoping to get a clear answer rather quickly, it turns out that we never managed to get an answer to the question from all parties. Instead the discussion drifted on the more general topic of how we handle sponsorship/funding in the LTS project.
  • Initial Planning For Ubuntu 16.10 Today At UOS
    Beyond the announcement that Ubuntu 16.10 won't ship with Mir and Unity 8 by default, many other items were discussed for the Ubuntu 16.10 release due out in October.
  • Ubuntu 16.10 Isn't Going To Use Mir / Unity 8 By Default
    Well, another setback for Unity 8 and Mir. Kicking off the Ubuntu Online Summit for Ubuntu 16.10, it's been confirmed that the Unity 8 desktop and Mir display server will not be the default for the desktop spin. Similar to the current situation with existing Ubuntu releases, Unity 8 and Mir will be available as an opt-in feature for users wanting to upgrade their desktop, but Unity 7 and the faithful X.Org Server is planned to be the default for Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak.
  • Devuan Beta Release
    After two years in development, a beta release of the Devuan distro has made it into the world (Devuan is a registered trademark of the Dyne.org foundation). Devuan is a very Debian-ish distro. In fact, it basically is Debian, with one notable absence. Devuan doesn't use systemd. In fact, that's its main claim to fame. Devuan was created to offer an alternative to Debian fans who were alienated by the controversial switch to systemd.

Leftovers: OSS

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