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MAME goes fully FOSS

Multi arcade machine emulator says PEW PEW PEW to closed licences

Retro-gamers rejoice! Cautiously. The multi arcade machine emulator (MAME) is now open source.

MAME makes it possible to emulate the hardware found in early arcade game cabinets. If one can also find ROMs of the games that ran on those cabinets, one can play classic arcade games.

Last week, the MAME team announced that after a ten-month effort it had managed to contact all contributors and secure approval to change its licences. “As a result,” the project's maintainers write, “a great majority of files (over 90% including core files) are available under the 3-Clause BSD License but project as a whole is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 2 or later (GPL-2.0+), since it contains code made available under multiple GPL-compatible licenses.”

MAME's developers point out that the project is first and foremost an emulator, because old games are often still under copyright. You therefore risk legal shenanigans if you obtain and play games that MAME makes it possible to run. Happily, the MAME team has also secured several games for free, non-commercial use, downloadable here.

MAME's news of its new licence concludes with the ironic disclaimer “MAME is a registered trademark of Nicola Salmoria, and permission is required to use the "MAME" name, logo or wordmark.” Journalism, FWIW, is fair use. ®

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