TADS3 Licence clarification

Sorry if this has come up before, but i have a question over the TADS3 licence:

Is it, therefore, prohibited for one to write a TADS paid-for game and distribute the result as a self-contained product, eg for Desktop or Mobile.

I can see that if one distributed work solely as a TADS data file, that’s ok, but any distribution together with a TADS interpreter must fall under clause (2) above.

Does anyone have clarification.



You cite from a license of author’s kit source code, whereas HTML TADS run-time executable has different license. See detailed license agreement during installation. Also note that alternative interpreters such as QTads or Gargoyle have their own licenses.

Sure, for the already compiled interpreter. But not if you had to recompile the source code as part of your product. For then, surely, it would be bound by the licence of that source code.

I don’t see how QTads, for example, can undo this restriction. Uness it has a separate agreement with the TADS author.


It is allowed to port TADS to new platforms, but other derivative works are not allowed without permission. You should contact Mike Roberts with detailed questions. My understanding is that he wants to allow porting and using in games but does not want forks of TADS itself. You seem to lie on border line.

Off topic a bit, but maybe relevant to the OP. Is Mike still working on TADS at all? I noticed that Graham Nelson (on the Inform side) seems to be almost entirely absent. I haven’t seen much from Mike at all for a couple of years.

I asked him if I can use an OSI license for QTads and he was OK with it. If you’re compiling your own interpreter and are unsure about licensing, try to contact Mike Roberts.

Yes. Although rather slowly. There’s changes and fixes queued up for a new release, but there’s no ETA.

If the license is problem, make a fresh implementation of the VM, and that will avoid the license problem.