Posted April 21, 2020
I think installing SecuROM system-wide is the part of the DRM that GOG have removed, yes.
SpellSword: My understanding now is that regardless of if you run FEAR.exe, FEARXP.exe, FEARXP2.exe or FEARMP.exe SecuROM's files won't be installed.
This also appears to be true in that whatever SecuROM code is additionally inside the game's .exe's still hasn't been properly removed (as opposed to a system-wide .dll running on Windows startup). Remember SecuROM had multiple versions with different features (eg, Data Position Measurement (measuring the physical location of data on an optical disc), debugging protection, later versions from 2007 started to have online activation limits, etc). As Wikipedia notes on its SecuROM page "Software that can be used to bypass copy protection, such as disk drive emulators and debugging software, will block the launch of the game and generate a security module error" which is exactly what's still happening with the GOG's FEAR expansions.
SpellSword: However while the two expansion packs are running (FEARXP.exe or FEARXP2.exe) SecuROM is active and scanning your computer's RAM. SecuROM's activity ends when FEAR is exited and SecuROM remains uninstalled?
Despite GOG's claim "it's debugging not DRM", the entire reason it's there is 100% DRM / copy protection (to try and detect drivers used by 3rd party software that mounts ISO files as virtual CD-ROM drives). FEAR isn't the only game that had this, eg, Bioshock 1 "Classic" (non-remastered) disc version had both SecuROM and online activation and yet the newer DRM-Free builds on both GOG & Humble Store work fine offline even with Process Monitor running, so DRM-Free there = they were obviously given a "clean" build from the developer. I could be wrong, but FEAR on the other hand suggests that GOG could only obtain the DRM'd disc version to which they half-patched the CD-check part of it out using known 3rd party "NoCD's" that were floating around at the time. Unless Monolith lost the source code to the game / expansions, I can't see why they wouldn't have given GOG a clean version of FEAR if they had it.
Post edited April 21, 2020 by AB2012