After 18 years, MAME is finally making the jump to open source.

Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator is an emulator designed to simulate arcade game systems for use on personal computers. The emulator has been designed with arcade accuracy in mind over improving and enhancing games, although of course individual games can and have been easily patched. The emulator is free to distribute and has been ported to multiple OSes and systems, including Windows, Unix like systems, Mac, Android, and even Google’s Chrome browser.

However, this whole time the emulator has been distributed under a copyleft license, for the purpose of prohibiting commercial use.

MAME’s devs explain that the policies also prohibited museums from using MAME for exhibits, as well as copyright holders themselves, from using MAME to redistribute their own games.

With this in mind, they are finally making the switch. They also hope this encourages distribution of the emulator, and will be used as a learning tool by developers.

Do you use MAME? What do you hope will come out of this change? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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