Hall of Shame

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VICE is published under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2 (full text), and we expect other developers, who use (part of) VICE in their programs, to respect just that - it's plain and simple. If you do not agree with (parts of) the GPLv2, then you can not use (parts of) VICE. - And no, it is not possible to use (parts of) VICE under a different license.

According to Richard Stallman, the major change in GPLv2 was the "Liberty or Death" clause, as he calls it – Section 7. The section says that licensees may distribute a GPL-covered work only if they can satisfy all of the license's obligations, despite any other legal obligations they might have. In other words, the obligations of the license may not be severed due to conflicting obligations. This provision is intended to discourage any party from using a patent infringement claim or other litigation to impair users' freedom under the license.

On this page we document all cases of not only plain GPL violations (usually that means no source code was released), but also fishy cases where the GPL was hidden for the user, the source code only available by sending money via snail mail, the released source code was not complete or did not build, etc pp.

Note that we will usually attempt to contact you if we think your published program violates the GPL, often by posting in your webforum (if there is one) or by sending an email. Also note that any other resulting reaction than complying with the GPL will make us start documenting the process here.

A case will get moved to the "Resolved Issues" paragraph below if the published program


  • does no more use (parts of) VICE, and no more binaries that do so are being provided. (you may still be obliged to provide the source code to the people who you provided the binaries)

or complies with the terms of the GPL, which among other things means:

  • The GPL must be visible to the user. Note that technically the user can not legally use the program before he accepted the terms of the license, which means you have to show it to him. (We are aware that forced dialogs at startup are not always practical, so something like a menu option ("about") is fine with us too.)
  • All source code, which is required to build the binaries that are provided, is available for download. (While it is technically ok to require sending a letter and charge a small amount of money, we consider it an unnecessary dick move in this decade). Note that in practise this very often means you have to publish the source code to YOUR program too, and most likely will have to license it under the terms of the GPL too.
    • The sourcecode is complete, and everything required to actually build it is included (assets, custom tools etc).
    • For every published binary there is corresponding source code available.
  • The copy of the GPL in the source tree was not removed. (And, although not strictly required, even refrain from renaming it or moving it around - the absence of "COPYING" will make things look fishy to us)
  • The documentation for the user contains a copy of the GPL.

Note the above is just a brief and simplified summary, it is YOUR job to read the GPL and understand it's implications!

Last not least, please understand that the VICE team consists of hobbyists working on the project in their sparetime - we are not monitoring recent developments all the time, and may have missed something. If you think your case should be resolved, please get in touch.

Resolved Issues


Combian is a rhaspian based linux distribution for the rhasperry pi that boots directly into x64 from VICE

RESOLVED The author agreed to provide the VICE source used to build VICE on the Combian image and a proper readme explaining where to find said source. He'll also remove the requirement to ask for permission to download the Combian image. In return we have offered to host Combian on our SF project page. The full download is now available without having to register on the combian page.


Deflemask is a Tracker to create chip music for various Systems, including the SID.

  • It used reSID from VICE for its SID emulation.
  • reSID was linked into the program statically
  • Nowhere in the program or the documentation did it mention that reSID is being used, and where to get the related sourcecode

when a member of the team asked for the sourcecode, we got this nice reply:

On Monday 20 June 2016, 12:58:59 Delek <deeleek@gmail.com> wrote:
> I will not release all the Defle source only because 0.01% of it uses a gpl
> licensed thing, this sounds like a joke. I know the gpl is "open or death"
> but this forces me to make from scratch a new sid emulator and release a
> new version of my tracker rather than open source my project.
> Btw Defle is free software and I didn't touch your code.
> Thanks for being so lame guys.
  • (2018-11-15) version 0.12.0 of the software, which had the mentioned problems, was still being offered for download on their website.

RESOLVED (2020-02-08) in the meantime apparently all downloads for older versions disappeared and v0.12.1 was published, which does no more use reSID.

C64 - A Legend

C64 - A Legend is a C64 emulator for Android with a custom frontend, but using a library which has been built from VICE. One notable point is that additional features can apparently be unlocked using in-app purchases. The emulator also seems to display advertisements. Nowhere does it mention that VICE is being used, and where to get the related sourcecode apparently its mentioned now

  • (2019-10-06) gpz requested the sourcecode
  • (2019-10-07) The author posted in his web forum and provided the sourcecode which we have mirrored here. we need to check if its complete... (It appears to be)
  • (2019-10-22) Apparently all posts made by VICE team members in the forum were deleted and their accounts terminated. Also the download page for the source code does no more exist. The post made by the author changed (archived copy) and he is now requesting 5 euros and a snail mail letter for requesting the source. It looks like he, similar to the The64 people, choose to make it as hard and unattractive to obtain the source as possible. Note the requirement "no anonymous mailboxes" (which does not quite match the GPL requirements).
 You may optain the corresponding Open Source from me, by sending a money order or cheque for 5€ to:

 Matthias Lorenz, Alexandrinen Str. 91, 10969 Berlin

 Please write "source code" as purpose of your payment, and don't forget to include your private postal 
 address so that the letter can be sent to you by the worldwide post delivery service (no anonymous mailboxes).
  • Someone who bought the emulator from the android store reported that the mandatory notes on the license (ie a copy of the GPL) and a note on how to obtain the source is not shipped with the emulator.
  • (2020-01-29) Somehow "C64 - A Legend" disappeared from the Android Store, and was re-published as 'Future 64'. It looks like the author decided to remove all traces to "C64 - A Legend" from the web, including the forum. The new appstore site links to this repository on sourceforge, which apparently includes an updated sourcecode, which we have mirrored here. Note how the COPYING file, which contains the GPLv2, is missing in this package.
  • (2020-01-31) A new 'updated' source package (mirrored here) was uploaded, with the only difference to the previous one being a copy of the GPLv2 added in Future64/C64_Legend_Java/assets/gpl. Previous versions of the sourcecode and the documentation were removed from the repository. The (also updated) documentation (mirrored here) says:
 In the „assets“ folder you can find the „gpl“ file. I‘ve renamed it to „gpl“, because
 COPYING is a stupid name. A file with GPL inside, is a „gpl“ file.

The updated documentation also gives the supposed reason for renaming the app:

 "C64" is a trademark of Cloanto (#trademarks). So I had to change the App name. I've also
 changed the name of my new Real 64 Hardware Board. 

(This is not quite correct, Cloanto claims to own the copyright on the ROMs; the "Commodore" trademark is owned by C=Holding aka Polabe, "C64" is not a trademark at all.)

Interestingly, the google store page (archived copy) gives another reason:

 Hint: Some users did not like the advertising and the InApp functions, so I decided to change that. But it was not possible to change that with the existing app (GooglePlay has limitations), so I had to create a new app.

Last not least, after a bunch of passive-agressive attacks against a VICE team member, the documentation says:

 [...] if he doesn't stop his nonsense and his aggressive way, then I'll do it the way others
 do... just ignore him and the GPL, because nobody can take it seriously anymore. He is very
 bad publicity for the Vice project.
 I'm seriously thinking about not providing any more source code updates as long as that
 person is a representative of the Vice Team.

We are not sure if announcing to ignore a software license like that is a smart idea, especially if you are making money with the software in question.

  • compyx downloaded the 3.09 apk (mirror) and found that it is still shipped without a GPL, or a respective notice. Also apparently at least "resid" still requires an extra purchase. Someone who has the Android SDK installed may want to look at it and provide an unrestricted binary.
  • meanwhile a related discussion spawned in the german "Forum64". Apparently the author not only demonstrates his misunderstanding of the GPL (or licensing in general) - which was the inspiration for the "intro" added at the top of the page - he also denies to "do it for the money" (while charging 4,99 for the playstore download). He then posted another copy of the source, this time renamed to "Raster 64", and the downloads were removed again shortly after that (?), followed by a rage quit of the author (?). we are curious what happens next.


THE64 is a "mini console" running x64 of VICE, distributed by KOCH MEDIA. It started as this indiegogo project.

  • x64 is statically linked into their THE64 binary
  • the updates are Linux executables that are statically linked to libgcrypt, a LGPL 2.1-licensed library.

The packaging / Manual contains no pointers to GPL software. it contains this interesting (and obviously wrong, cloanto didnt even exist in 1984) copyright notice though:

CBM 8-bit ROMs © 1977-1984 Cloanto Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Furnished under license from Cloanto Corporation.

The required GPL notice on where/how to get the source code is at the bottom of a 5270 lines license notice, which you can view through their menu. The same note can also be found in their FAQ.

 You may obtain the corresponding Open Source code from us for a period of three
 years after our last shipment of this product, by sending a money order
 or cheque for 5 GBP to: 

 GPL Compliance Division,
 Retro Games Ltd.
 Suite 112, Crystal House, New Bedford Road, Luton, England. LU1 1HS

 Please write "source for <firmware version number>" in the memo line of your payment.

Obviously they are trying to make it as hard and unattractive as possible for users to get their hands on this source.

  • on 11.06.2018 algorithm requested source via their contact form. let's see what happens (->nothing)
  • on 13.11.2018 swingflip from the thec64 forum posted the actual sourcecode that he recieved. we still need to examine it and find out if it is complete (the updater program seems incomplete at least)
  • 17.11.2018 quick update
[...] So it seems that the code provided wasn't 100%.
The main bugbear I have is that the libnand for sun7i platform in the U-BOOT is incorrect so the U-BOOT code does not compile. [...]
Secondly the code for the firmware update was swapped out with stubs. Not sure why this was done but technically it violates GPL [...]
Also the code provided for the kernel doesn't seem complete either [...]