I've been thinking about getting a new freedoom release out for quite a while. It's quite hard to motivate myself to work on it however, as maintaining freedoom is a very thankless task.

Last week, whilst I was away in Edinburgh, I received an e-mail from one "Julian Marchant" asking how FreeDM can be used. This morning I received the following from him:

A week ago, I sent a message to you (see attachment), and I still didn't get a response. I demand that you respond immediately.

Googling around suggests that he's 13 years old and doesn't yet know better. FreeDM is not really designed for 13 year olds, so I didn't offer a helpful reply.

On the subject of FreeDM, I've just adjusted the freedoom Debian source package so that it spits out a freedm binary package, so you should see that hit sid at some point in the near future.

Also this week, someone discovered the origins of the pink fish. The pink fish features in Freedoom as the commander keen sprite replacement.

"Leileilol" informed me on the debian-games channel that freedoom was thus non-free. I contented this point: firstly, Debian's definition of freedom is in terms of copyright, rather than trademark: secondly, the games team had been advised to not be too worried about trademark infringements unless trademarks were being actively enforced (such as disney characters, etc.). Finally, I had not spent a lot of time examining the material so I was yet to be convinced it was a blatant trademark infringement and not just a generic cute fish.

Rather than attempt to convince me that this was a problem, or provide alternatives (that I would have accepted), he opted to part the channel, threaten to set me on ignore, and declare his intent to fork freedoom in another channel.

Forking freedoom is a novel idea. Of course, freedoom is free software, so anyone can fork it at any time they like. However, the problem we've had as a project in the last few years is lack of direction and lack of contributors, neither problem is likely to be fixed by a fork. I'd encourage anyone who has ideas about the direction of the project to get in touch: I don't plan to maintain it after the next release, so the future is very much for the taking.