The Free Ryzom Campaign

Posted by Dave Wickham

You may know of the Saga of Ryzom MMORPG. If not, feel free to read our Saga of Ryzom review, and our preview of its expansion, Ryzom Ring. Alas, it didn’t end up doing too well in the marketplace, and so now Nevrax (the developer) is going into receivership, with one of the assets to be liquidated being Ryzom. As such, Ryzom is at serious risk of being shut down for ever.

This is where the Free Ryzom Campaign steps in. The Free Ryzom Campaign aims to raise enough in donations to purchase the rights to the game, and release it as Free software (note the capital F – if you don’t get the distinction, read the linked document) under the GPL, whilst maintaining a central server (which would be subscription-based) for people to use. Of course, in order to be able to do this, they need you. As I write this, €144,478 has been pledged, and their current goal is €200,000.

This isn’t the first time that a group of people have raised money to get some software open sourced. Blender is a 3D modeling tool that started off life as a shareware application. After a few years, the authors went bankrupt, and €100,000 was raised in order to get it released under the GPL. Now it is actively maintained, has greatly improved, and has a community around it who have created works such as the impressive Elephants Dream.

Hopefully The Free Ryzom Campaign will win the bid to get the rights to Ryzom, and it will become improved as has Blender. Either way, it will certainly be an interesting project to watch in the years to come.

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