Free Software Foundation founder describes Valve’s Linux Steam plans as “unethical”


Windows 8 is a “catastrophe”: so said Gabe Newell at Casual Connect conference in Seattle this week and his voice has echoed about the internet ever since, bounced from the homepages of myriad tech and games blogs. Such is Valve’s fear of a closed platform that the company plans to support Linux as a “hedging strategy”. But Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman worries that Steam is ideologically incompatible with open software haven Linux.

“Non-free game programs (like other non-free programs) are unethical because they deny freedom to their users,” wrote Stallman on his blog.

“If you want freedom, one requisite for it is not having non-free programs on your computer. However, if you’re going to use these games, you’re better off using them on GNU/Linux rather than on Microsoft Windows.”

He added: “Any GNU/Linux distro [distribution] that comes with software to offer these games will teach users that the point is not freedom. Non-free software in GNU/Linux distros already works against the goal of freedom. Adding these games to a distro would augment that effect.”

We get Stillman’s point; but here’s the thing: I still want to play Left 4 Dead on Linux, even if I have to pay for it. Why wouldn’t I?

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