Non-free Licenses

What are Non-Free, Free, and Open Source licenses?

A non-free license is one that does not meet the Free Software Definition or the Open Source Definition. ContentDB will clearly label any packages with non-free licenses, and they will be subject to limited promotion.

How does ContentDB deal with Non-Free Licenses?

ContentDB does not allow certain non-free licenses, and will limit the promotion of packages with non-free licenses.

Minetest is free and open source software, and is only as big as it is now because of this. It's pretty amazing you can take nearly any published mod and modify it to how you like - add some features, maybe fix some bugs - and then share those modifications without worry of legal issues. The project, itself, relies on open source contributions to survive - if it were non-free, then it would have died when celeron55 lost interest.

If you have played nearly any game with a large modding scene, you will find that most mods are legally ambiguous. A lot of them don't even provide the source code to allow you to bug fix or extend as you need.

Limiting the promotion of problematic licenses helps Minetest avoid ending up in such a state. Licenses that prohibit redistribution or modification are completely banned from ContentDB and the Minetest forums. Other non-free licenses will be subject to limited promotion - they won't be shown by default in the client.

Not providing full promotion on ContentDB, or not allowing your package at all, doesn't mean you can't make such content - it just means we're not going to help you spread it.

What's so bad about licenses that forbid commercial use?

Please read reasons not to use a Creative Commons -NC license. Here's a quick summary related to Minetest content:

  1. They make your work incompatible with a growing body of free content, even if you do want to allow derivative works or combinations. This means that it can cause problems when another modder wishes to include your work in a modpack or game.
  2. They may rule out other basic and beneficial uses which you want to allow. For example, CC -NC will forbid showing your content in a monetised YouTube video.
  3. They are unlikely to increase the potential profit from your work, and a share-alike license serves the goal to protect your work from unethical exploitation equally well.

How can I show non-free packages in the client?

Non-free packages are hidden in the client by default, partly in order to comply with the rules of various Linux distributions.

Users can opt-in to showing non-free software, if they wish:

  1. In the main menu, go to Settings > All settings
  2. Search for "ContentDB Flag Blacklist".
  3. Edit that setting to remove nonfree,.
Screenshot of the ContentDB Flag Blacklist setting
Screenshot of the ContentDB Flag Blacklist setting

In the future, the platform_default flag will be used to control what content each platforms shows - Android is significantly stricter about mature content. You may wish to remove all text from that setting completely, leaving it blank, if you wish to view all content when this happens. Currently, mature content is not permitted on ContentDB.