Does Electronic Arts infringe LGPL?

So, if you remember my post about RTS I’m a very big fan of realtime strategy games. Even if my sister finally brought to me my Total Annihilation CDs, I wanted to try something new, so I decided to finally order Command & Conquer Tiberium Wars (C&C3), Mac edition, even if I first had some concern about the fact that the porting was done by TransGaming, of Cedega fame.

So yesterday I received my C&C3 DVD (with some problem on delivery by UPS, in Italy deliveries this month are quite late, so I’m fine with receiving it in just three days, rather than waiting till the holidays are gone). I installed it and read the manual in the mean time, after the first game, I noticed the copyright listing at the end of the manual.

I already suspected that TransGaming used some sort of modified Wine code for the porting, and it seems like I was quite right. The copyright page lists quite some free software projects:

  • libpng by the eponymous project;
  • libjpeg by the Independent JPEG Group;
  • dmalloc by Wolfram Gloger;
  • SDL by the eponymous project, this is LGPL’d;
  • bstring, by Paul Hsieh, this is under dual BSD or GPL license;
  • iniParser by Nicolas <devillard, under MIT license;
  • FreeType by the eponymous project, under dual FTL or GPL-2 license;
  • Squish ;
  • FFmpeg by Fabrice Bellard, et al.; this is LGPL to a minimum, GPL if GPL’d code is enabled;
  • ReWind quite obviously;
  • Wine totally obviously, this is under LGPL, and I’m one of the contributors too.

Now, splitting up what really uses the code from what it’s a complex task, and I haven’t spent time on that yet, but the listing already lists one component that uses FFmpeg code: libquartz.dylib. I do have that file installed together with Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars, so they are distributing that; I suppose they are also distributing the code from the above mentioned projects, as Cider is likely to act in more or less the same way that winelib is designed to work for porting Windows applications under Unix.

So, I have the binary form, do I have the source code? Not on the DVD, I looked in all the subdirectories, but found no source code.
Do I have a written offer to receive the code? Well, something like that, the manual lists this:

Source code to the LGPL components is available via CVS access through: http://transgaming.org/cvs/

As far as I can see, this does not cover the written offer clause in GPL, as it doesn’t easily allow me to get the exact source code used for the product I bought; also it doesn’t seem to properly cover the patches, that I downloaded from the official site, and had no source code links at all (and I wonder if the patches to fix Leopard support were only to C&C’s code or also to Cider code).

I wonder if Electronic Arts knows what TransGaming used to do the porting, as they are the ones actually distributing the game.

Anyway, I hope this post will work as an head up for the projects involved (FFmpeg, SDL and Wine; the rest all seems to be covered through BSD or MIT licenses that allow use in proprietary software). While I’m actually happy to see that Free Software is helping to reduce Windows’ monopoly, even if by helping Proprietary software, I don’t really like if it’s abused infringing the license.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s