Originally published at: http://www.greenheartgames.com/2013/09/07/to-our-linux-players-game-dev-tycoon-for-linux-and-glibc/
On September 5th, the Free Software Foundation informed us that they have terminated our license to use ‘glibc’, the standard C library commonly used with Linux applications and which the distribution of Game Dev Tycoon for Linux dynamically links to.
glibc is licensed under the Lesser General Public License (L-GPL) and is thus fit for use in a commercial application through dynamic linking but we failed to inform our users that this library is in use and failed to provide a copy of the license file.
We respect copyright just as we expect our own copyright to be respected and promptly stopped distributing the Linux version of Game Dev Tycoon when the Free Software Foundation terminated our license and have since worked closely with the Free Software Foundation to address the issue. This blog post is part of the process to have our rights reinstated and we hope to be able to resume our distribution of the Linux version in the next few days.
We have updated our credits page to include direct download links to the license files of third party components. This page already listed third party components which were included in the distribution before, but failed to mention the dynamically linked glibc component for the Linux distribution. This is now corrected. We have also added an updated license directory in the deployment of Game Dev Tycoon to make this readily available to users and the next version of the Linux release will include this directory. As always, players can also contact us at email@example.com if they have any questions or concerns.
This was not the result of a wilful infringement but simply a lack of knowledge on how to properly distribute an application powered by node-webkit on Linux. Unfortunately, we did not know the intricacies of licensing requirements for dynamically linked libraries and neither did our contractors who prepared the Linux distribution. Node-webkit itself does also not include any information about the use of glibc and we suspect that others who use node-webkit might thus also be in non-compliance with the glibc license. We will try to contact the node-webkit community about this issue and hope that we will remain the only ones who have to go through the official complaint process with the Free Software Foundation.
We received the first letter from the Free Software Foundation almost a month ago, during a stressful time while preparing for the Steam release, and unfortunately it took a while to clarify that there was indeed a problem. As an indie developer, receiving a formal letter from a legal department of a well-known organization is as scary as it gets and this uncertainty was the primary reason why we stopped updating the Linux distribution and why we delayed the Steam release of the Linux version. I want to apologize to our Linux players for the lack of open communication. We drafted a blog post to be more open but found it very difficult to word it so that blame was not put unfairly on the Free Software Foundation. In the end, they simply did their job and responded to a formal complaint. We wish that whoever made this complaint to the FSF had tried to contact us first. This would have saved us a lot of trouble, angst and the costs involved with a formal process.
This blog post is part of the process to resolve this issue. In this post we aim to inform our Linux players about our use of glibc and provide them with a copy of the license through our credits page. Once the Free Software Foundation approves of our changes we should receive a letter re-instating our rights to use glibc and we then plan to resume distribution of the Linux version via our website and introduce a Steam release, all of which will have copies of the necessary licenses included.