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Reply 61 of 149, by red_avatar

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I would have more than happily helped out creating the right settings for Dosbox but my main concern went to the way they did all this without even contacting anyone and as a result, the Dosbox configuration is badly done. I spent over an hour fixing the mess they made.

I would have made it run in a window for one, to avoid crashes when going to full screen mode. The set cycles also causes people to complain about the games being jerky and slow - the forums mention this in several places, Hexen (the oldest of all DOS games in the collection) being the main culprit. Let's hope not too many people come here to complain 😜.

Reply 62 of 149, by HunterZ

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Hey guys, haven't been around in quite a while (still sucked into World of Warcraft and whatnot) but I just heard about this on Slashdot. Looks like an example of bad form on the part of whoever packaged DOSBox as a Steam app; they could have given the DOSBox community a heads-up and had some good two-way communication that would have resulted in a better product.

Reply 63 of 149, by DosFreak

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Just browsing the forums I find it amazing how alot of people don't really give a crap. They fork over their money to get the games. They don't seem to care if the games work well. They don't seem to care if the games work as well as they did when they first came out or to their fullest potential. They don't seem to care if the people pushing out the package "forgot a few minor files" or "oh, they'll release an update later it's STEAM".

WTF happened to the world? Do people not expect quality? Is it really that hard to include license files? Proper configurations? README's that actually go with the proper frickin' version? GODAMN.

Sorry, I guess I'm out of line. I'll just keep on lurking on VOGONS and hide from the idiocracy of the Internet. It's scary out there.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 64 of 149, by darkgamorck

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It has also become apparent that DOSBox is beginning to take some heat over the misconfigurations. There is a thread about the collection on Ars and I've seen more than one comment regarding how DOSBox "sucks".

I agree with you totally DosFreak. But I think that this issue is indicative of a larger issue in the world today: People refuse to take responsibility. I mean by not buying a crappy product you are sending a signal. By buying a crappy product you are sending a totally different kind of signal that will not have a positive effect on the market in the long run.

Reply 65 of 149, by Vision2098

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New developments: there was just now an update to the DOS games...

DOSBox was updated to 0.71. Launching the DOSBox executable or the batch files still requires steam, thus it is still modified/wrapped.

There was a source archive (dosbox-0.71.tar.gz) pushed out in the update as well, with the same hash as the official source archive. Meaning the wrapping or changes otherwise are not included.

...on the bright side, it made the Doom engine games run like a charm. Wolf3D still runs like it's on a 386 though. (It should be wayyy smoother than it runs, and upping the speed just bugs it up/freezes it =/ )

Still seems like there's some GPL violations going on though.

Reply 66 of 149, by DosFreak

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I'm wondering how support for these games should be handled at VOGONS. Should we just tell them to go to the Steam powered forums? From what I've heard and seen those forums aren't that great anyways but it's a pretty big forum and considering how ID/Valve have messed up the package I really don't feel like helping anyone out with their problems....

I'm all for helping people from 3DRealms/people with old games/people who download older games that aren't easily available. Helping people who are paying $60 to Valve/ID and who have a support forum already.....not at all.

Considering how well the people who packaged the err package did their job, I'd like to say I feel sorry for the poor people who bought it and it would be nice if they actually got support over at the Steam powered forums. I doubt they'll get any though.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 67 of 149, by Vision2098

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Well really, it was id's job to make sure these things ran/run with as few issues as possible. And I'd say it is still their job.

Yeah, the Steam forums are a massive ball of crap, but they function, and people should be good to get support from there. I wouldn't worry about it much.

Reply 68 of 149, by darkgamorck

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Well it seems clear that Valve is listening to the controversy. Unfortunately, until they address the modified source code issue, it's all in vain. As for the people that bought it, I think we should point them in the direction of the actual DOSBox distribution, a fine front-end and treat them as we would treat all others.

The only way to avoid this issue in the future is by properly educating people so that they won't sheepishly make their way into the same position again. If we blow them off like Valve is sure to, then we are no better than they are.

Also keep in mind that there is nothing preventing these people from using a real version of DOSBox to play these games they have "licensed". Only the emulator and not the games themselves are protected by Steam based on what we've been told.

Reply 69 of 149, by DosFreak

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So if someone here has bought the package could they write a guide to convert users from STEAM package over to the DosBox download from the website?

That's the only way I can see them getting support here since AFAIAC DosBox running under Steam isn't the same DosBox as we support here. (STEAM issues, however they packaged the games with DosBox, incorrect configurations, etc)

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 71 of 149, by sgtbenc

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Valve is on the ball now. Sometime in the past day or two, Steam has released an update that has added a number of files in the directories for the games using DOSBox:
*the .71 DOSBox source files(or appear to be; I haven't seen the source files before)
*a dosbox configuration file
*an INSTALL.txt file that appears to be a compilation guide
*a NEWS.txt files that contains some DOSBox revision notes
*a README.txt files that appear to be a guide to DOSBox
*an uninstall.exe for DOSBox

EDIT: Also:
*an empty directory named "capture"
*a directory named "zmbv" with these files
**a README.txt which is a readme on how to use zmbv
**zmbv.dll
**zmbv.inf

Reply 72 of 149, by Qbix

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Thanks to 2k games I was able to get in contact with the right persons rather fast. I'm supprised by the speed of their repairs.

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Reply 75 of 149, by Vision2098

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I'm no law expert either but seeing as the Steam DOSBox still checks for and requires Steam, that means there is still some kind of modification or wrapping. From everything I've heard, this still seems to be a GPL violation.

Reply 77 of 149, by Qbix

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it's a binary patch/wrap to add that check. I'm no law expert either, but I have no problems with it. Afterall they have to protect their stuff as well

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Reply 78 of 149, by `Moe`

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Well, in the strict sense of the letter, it is still a GPL violation:

0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License. The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language. (Hereinafter, translation is included without limitation in the term "modification".) Each licensee is addressed as "you".

The wrapper is quite clearly "a work containing the Program". There is no mention of or restriction to source code, you can create a modified Program in any way.

2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

...

These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.

So when they create a program that incorporates DOSBox, they create a modified version. They may keep their copyright for their launcher code and everything -- but only if it isn't distributed with DOSBox as a part of it.

(section 2 continued...)
In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this License.

So there is a way out. If they distributed DOSBox as a truly separate entity, and their loader just launched that separate DOSBox installation, they would be totally safe. Which is also in the best interest of DOSBox itself, as it means there is a regular patchable, upgradeable, configurable DOSBox installation on user PCs.

There's more trouble inside. Their own (steam/valve) licensing conditions that users probably have to accept may not allow distribution of GPL code:

6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License.

This section indirectly says that DRMing DOSBox is not allowed, so their whole loader thing might not be valid. (Since it also isn't effective in this case, there's not much loss anyway)

Now there is an interesting thing: Since DOSBox was sold as part of other software, let's take Doom as an example, not as a mere aggregation, all recipients get a GPL license on the distributed software as a whole even if valve/id itself violated the GPL (see GPL, Section 4). I'm not claiming that this holds up in a court, and I don't know what other license terms an end user will have accepted as part of the purchase, but there is a definite possibility for the whole thing to backfire.

And another interesting issue:

it's a binary patch/wrap to add that check. I'm no law expert either, but I have no problems with it. Afterall they have to protect their stuff as well

Indeed it is Qbix' right to say "I'm fine with what they do" and any violation, even if it persists, becomes a non-issue. Unfortunately, Qbix is not the sole copyright holder of DOSBox. Open source suffers from having hundreds or thousands of contributors (= copyright holders), so for DOSBox, all copyright holders would have to accept their actions as acceptable. (BTW, this is why the FSF or the Apache foundation makes you sign a copyright assignment whenever you submit code: so that there is just a single copyright holder, also see the Wine/ReWind split on the same issue)

So even if the official DOSBox team said "the way it is now we are satisfied", all the people who have contributed (probably me included, I'm not sure) would have to say the same. Which leads back to the start of this post: If they truly separated loader and DOSBox, making them 100% independent distribution units, things would be 100% compliant, and the DOSBox Project would get maximum (unpaid) gain.

Reply 79 of 149, by darkgamorck

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Qbix wrote:

it's a binary patch/wrap to add that check. I'm no law expert either, but I have no problems with it. Afterall they have to protect their stuff as well

Yeah except they aren't protecting their stuff. Heh. Anybody could steal the DOS games right out of this distribution and redistribute them and Steam is doing nothing to stop that. Of course this is one of many reasons why I refuse to even install Steam. DRM already ticks me off, but the idiots at Valve tend to multiply that by a few orders of magnitude.