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Comment GNU Emacs had Strokes Mode since 1997: Relevant? (Score 2) 87

Since 1997 GNU Emacs has contained a gesture-recording and recognition system called Strokes Mode. I don't know if this is relevant to the case at hand, but perhaps these links will help other Slashdotters investigate what I am talking about. The current source of strokes-mode is here:

I once made a fun video demo with GNU Emacs and Strokes-Mode on an HP TouchSmart Tablet PC:

The source code for the gestures I made are here, along with a few tweaks to make strokes-mode behave better with a touchscreen.

Keep in mind, I used Strokes-mode to create the gestures shown in the video---no gestures are included, you can create them yourself by just drawing them into strokes-mode. My point in setting up this repository would be so that GNU Emacs users could build a library of gestures amongst ourselves, and share code to adapt GNU Emacs better to touchscreen/pen environments. Which sounds like it could fall afoul of some patent or other. Right?

Interestingly, Apple publishes here an older version of Strokes-mode:

Even more interestingly, Apple's version says "This file is part of GNU Emacs. GNU Emacs is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version."

Well, "any later version" could be GPLv3, which contains this passage:

"You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License. For example, you may not impose a license fee, royalty, or other charge for exercise of rights granted under this License, and you may not initiate litigation (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that any patent claim is infringed by making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the Program or any portion of it."

(pasted from )

Anyone think this could be relevant? --dave

GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - Why I will not be developing for iPhone or iPad (

dto1138 writes: The REMIX THIS GAME contest (featured earlier this week on Slashdot) is forbidden by Apple's iOS SDK terms of use. Neither the original game, its remixes, the remixing activity, or any of my other games can run on iPhone---they are written in Common Lisp, and as many Slashdot readers know, earlier this year Apple banned cross-compilation and restricted iOS app development to a tiny whitelist of languages: C, Objective-C, C++, and Javascript. I've put up an opinion piece called "Thoughts on iOS games", exploring the questions raised by Apple's requirement that programs be written "originally" in one of the white-list languages, and conclude that the distinction they would like to make at app-approval time----that is, the black-or-white distinction between an approved app and a rejected app---is empirically unintelligible because (among other reasons) a permitted development technique (writing by hand "originally" in C) could produce absolutely the SAME output as a BANNED development process (using an old Objective-C preprocessor to compile a hand-written program to C, the way Objective-C was originally implemented.) Unintelligible (yet ruthlessly enforced) barriers to entry are not the sign of a healthy market, and I've decided accordingly not to develop for iOS.

Comment Re:Some comments from XONG's author (Score 2) 152

"The game looks like from the 80's". So um, despite claiming to work as an indie, you haven't heard of people doing retro graphics and sound on purpose as an artistic choice? "Are there any tools to help change the game"? The page says you can use any image editor to edit the images, any text editor to edit the code, and so on. The only thing not included is a proper level editor, which I have in the newer version of the engine. I also worked in the games industry, and left for a reason.

Comment Author explains XONG gameplay (Score 4, Informative) 152

Here is a youtube video i made a while back, showing gameplay with explanatory text. I'm used to people being put off by XONG initially because of the weird graphics, so I will try to explain it in a nutshell. You have to kill the enemies but have no weapons. The only way to kill an enemy is to direct it into a "black hole", each of which can only be used once. Basically, you lay down arrows (up, down, left , or right) on the game board, which the enemies follow, and hopefully you direct them into the holes. You have to dig tunnels to many of the holes, or to escape a bad situation, or whatever. There are 4 or 5 different types of enemies, though you have to progress in the game to see more than 2 or 3. One hit kills you and totally ends your game (start back at level 1). XONG requires quick reactions to avoid death, but requires pre-planning to kill the enemies, who behave in generally predictable ways. The predictability tells you where to place the arrows and which holes to un-dig.

Comment Some comments from XONG's author (Score 5, Informative) 152

Hello folks, I have addressed the originality (or alleged lack thereof) of the remix contest in another message here. I chose XONG because it's a small and relatively simple game, so it would be easier to get started remixing. There is a review of Xong here: And, folks, the game includes a thorough HELP screen on the F1 key, and an interactive in-game tutorial. So if the videos seem inscrutable, try reading the instructions. I make no claim to the engine or game being the greatest ever, but I hope the contest will be fun and get people possibly involved with creative commons licensed art, or free software, or lisp game dev. Who knows?

Comment Re:How is this different from the mod scene? (Score 3, Informative) 152

Hi, before I started the contest, I did some searching and could not find any "remix this game" type contests in the indie world, because it's a very proprietary culture. I think this is news because 1. it's a game that some indie people are aware of, given that it got some reviews and downloads, and 2. it could help raise awareness of more open licensing for games.

Submission + - Remix This Game (

An anonymous reader writes: REMIX THIS GAME is an experimental game design contest where participants can re-mix and re-cycle my free-software self-published PC game, XONG. XONG is available under permissive licenses allowing remixes and derivative works of the code, graphics, sound effects, and music—even for commercial use. The source code license is the GNU GPL Version 3, and the media is covered by the Creative Commons BY-SA license.

No special software or programming experience are needed—XONG has been packaged up so that you can just download the game and edit the graphics/code/music/sounds in place, and re-start the game to see your changes. Plus, it is available for Windows, Mac OSX, and GNU/Linux, so you can remix it on whichever OS you use, using whatever programs you like.

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