GLUT.framework legal issues?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by blueshogun96, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. blueshogun96 macrumors regular


    Nov 24, 2012
    Since I'm not a legal expert, I wanted to ask about using GLUT in a Mac app. My game uses it because it was originally written as a simple tech demo, that evolved into a fully featured game that people want to play. One reason I kept it in the code because I could easily press a button, and get a full screen borderless window the size of the desktop resolution without having to shutdown the app and re-initialize it. That feature is something I want to keep. Yes, I know there's a button you can click for that, but to be frank, I want this functionality across all desktop platforms if I can help it.

    I hear that you cannot sell a program that utilizes glut. If that's so, then I'll have to replace it in order for a Mac release to be legal. But GLUT.framework comes with the OS, so I'm technically not distributing it. But I am linking to it, is that a loophole of some sort? I want to be absolutely sure before I even think of releasing this game.

    And before you bring up FreeGlut, I already looked into that. Not only is it a pain to use for MacOS, but it also requires X11 to be installed on the user's machine. These days, X11 is not included with MacOS and forcing a user to install it will likely result in a loss of customers. If FreeGlut had a proper cocoa port, then I would use that without question.

    Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    From the header file "glut.h":
    /* Copyright (c) Mark J. Kilgard, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998. */
    /* This program is freely distributable without licensing fees  and is
       provided without guarantee or warrantee expressed or  implied. This
       program is -not- in the public domain. */
    I'd think "freely distributable" largely obviates any legal concerns. Plus the fact that you aren't actually distributing the software itself, only a program that dylinks to it.,_Inc._v._Google,_Inc.

    When you wrote "I hear that you cannot sell a program that utilizes glut.", exactly what were you referring to? If claims and rationale were made, then please be specific about what those are.
  3. blueshogun96 thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 24, 2012
    Utilize as in uses it. Since I'm not distributing it, it seems to me like a loophole. That's what I was wondering. The license is quite short and the description doesn't explicitly forbid using it in a commercial product while it's only linked to but not distributed with. Hence why I asked.

    GLUT.framework seems to come with MacOS anyway.

  4. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    When I asked what you were referring to, I meant, "Where did you 'hear that you cannot sell a program that utilizes glut'?". In other words, please give a specific example where this claim is being made.

    I already know that "utilize" means "uses". What I didn't know, and still don't, is exactly what claims you read or heard. The reason I asked is precisely because the words "freely distributable" seem pretty clear. There isn't any restriction on distribution. Nor is there a distinction between commercial and non-commercial uses (utilizations).

    Given that there isn't any stated restriction with regard to commercial use (i.e. selling a program that utilizes glut), I honestly have no idea how any plausible argument could be made that there is such a restriction. It defies plain logic. In short, given the words "freely distributable", it's a direct contradiction for someone to assert that this implies a restriction on commercial use.

    I don't see any "loophole", because I don't see any restrictions on distribution. You can't "escape" a restriction that doesn't exist.

    FWIW, and not that it applies in this case, but one of the rights of a copyright holder is creation of derivative works. For example, making and distributing variations on a program. By retaining those rights, the holder prevents modifications, without preventing distribution. The prohibition against making mods is one reason other versions of GLUT were developed.

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