Free Ryzom. It’s time.

Several other bloggers have written about the Free Ryzom campaign. In a nutshell, Nevrax, the French company that wrote Ryzom and is running the game is going bankrupt. Not because the game is not good – check out the free trial (Windows only, but see below) or the videos – but for unspecified ‘business reasons’. Whatever.

Nevrax is currently in bankruptcy court in Paris. Its assets will be sold. A coalition of free software people, spearheaded by a couple of Nevrax employees, is one of the bidders. They need to prove to the judge that they will have enough money to start a non-profit that will take over the assets of Nevrax, with a workable business plan and (this is important in French bankruptcy court, apparently) minimal loss of employment. To achieve this goal, the Free Ryzom campaign is collecting pledges to raise 200K Euro. Yes, that’s a lot of money. But they are promising to put the entire codebase and artwork under the GPL, as well as develop a GNU/Linux client. Given the quality of the game and the framework, this would be a major boon to Free Software gaming – an area that can do with some help, particularly when it comes to MMORPGs.

The Free Software Foundation has just pledged $60K, which brings the current total to roughly 135K Euros. Still some way to go, so if you can, please go and pledge. Remember, it’s just a pledge. If this does not work out, you won’t have to pay anything. But if it does work out, we will have a state of the art MMORPG framework with beautiful artwork, under the GPL! For 200K Euros, that seems like a bargain to me…

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