Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Wii Will Have an Updatable Linux OS 330

Posted by Zonk
from the penguin-with-a-wand dept.
eldavojohn writes "There's bits and pieces of information floating around that revolve around Iwata Asks interviews on Nintendo's website. What I found interesting was the tidbit about the updatable operating system: 'Wii is the first system from Nintendo that we can continue to be involved in (via operating system updates) after the customer buys it. This means that Wii will greatly expand and diversify the ways in which people will enjoy games in the future.' The Wii is reported to operate on top of a proprietary form of the Linux kernel, although there are already efforts to make a GNU/Linux for the console. So, the answer to the age old question is that it already runs Linux."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Wii Will Have an Updatable Linux OS

Comments Filter:
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday October 08, 2006 @06:47PM (#16358227) Homepage
    It could be like MkLinux, basically a modified Linux kernel running atop a proprietary microkernel.
  • by Chris Pimlott (16212) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @06:47PM (#16358231)
    Who knows? The article linked says nothing about it, there's just the submitters comment. If there is anything behind this, a source would be helpful...
  • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Sunday October 08, 2006 @06:50PM (#16358253) Homepage
    The Wii is reported to operate on top of a proprietary form of the Linux kernel,

    Who is reporting that? Its the first time I hear that and the linked webpages don't really give any more detail, the Iwata interview simply states that the Wii will have upgradable firmware, nothing Linux related.

  • by Executive Override (605018) <spam@skewed.de> on Sunday October 08, 2006 @07:08PM (#16358345) Homepage
    There's no such thing as a "proprietary form" of Linux. The kernel is released under the GPL, and therefore any derivations/modifications must be released under the GPL, and hence are not proprietary. If they deny source code, or release it under a license non-compatible with the GPL, it will be clearly illegal.

    You would imagine that people would know this by heart by now...
  • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday October 08, 2006 @07:19PM (#16358389) Homepage Journal
    Anything under the GPL (or software that extensively uses GPL-software's interfaces) must have source released if it's released.

    But under GPL 2, there's no guarantee that the hardware provided with the software will allow an improved version to run, which makes an end-run around FSF freedom #1 [gnu.org]. Linus Torvalds reportedly likes GPL 2 much better than the GPL 3 drafts [google.com], deliberately not caring about freedom #1 for hobbyist end users of proprietary hardware.

  • by Lorkki (863577) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @07:30PM (#16358469)

    To be bluntly, you don't seem to be a software engineer either. It wouldn't be the first time that rumour sites would be mixing up technical terms and concepts, though.

    A graphical user interface would most likely sit completely in userland [wikipedia.org], while the Linux kernel [wikipedia.org] would only contain a device driver for communicating with the hardware. The user-mode parts can be as proprietary as Nintendo wants them to be, but any changes to the kernel itself must be released or they'll be violating the terms of use of the GPL.

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColaMan (37550) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @08:16PM (#16358735) Homepage Journal
    Wii is the first system from Nintendo that we can continue to be involved in (via operating system updates) after the customer buys it. This means that Wii will greatly expand and diversify the ways in which people will enjoy games in the future.

    Translation: Firmware updates to prevent hacks, a-la PSP.
  • by metamatic (202216) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @08:29PM (#16358805) Homepage Journal
    Assuming the Wii really does run Linux, they will doubtless be using the TiVo hole to get around the GPL v2.

    That is, they'll provide the source code with their proprietary modifications for the Wii hardware, but it'll be totally useless as the Wii hardware will be designed so that it will only run code signed by Nintendo. So the modified code will be useless to Wii owners, and also useless to everyone else as PC hardware won't have any use for the Wii hardware support.

    And Linus will no doubt say that this is just peachy.

    I think it's exactly the kind of crap the GPL was supposed to stop. If I purchase hardware and software that's GPL licensed, I should be able to modify the software and run the modified version on the only hardware it's useful for, the hardware I own. That's why I support RMS's efforts with GPL v3 [ath0.com] and think they're a good thing. In fact, I think they should go further.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 08, 2006 @08:32PM (#16358819)
    and judging the posts here, no one fucking reads the article, THERE IS NO MENTION OF LINUX, and any other mentions of linux on the wii are purely rumors, prolly made up by people who want to envision linux existing in everything, as if it's some success for opensource.
    No, the day your average person uses linux and prefers it over windows would be a success, otherwise, it's being used because it's just there and is merely a backend. nothing more.

    If nintendo were putting XFCE or busybox on the wii (let's be reasonable, gnome or KDE would kill it) then you could make some noise.

    But this is nothing but a stupid rumor, and has no relevance to the story, chances are the submitter added linux in to get attention.

    Sensationalism? say it isnt so!
  • by X0563511 (793323) * on Sunday October 08, 2006 @08:42PM (#16358879) Homepage Journal
    Or it could be linux using proprietary binary modules to talk to the Wii hardware and software... kinda like Nvidia is doing.
  • by acvh (120205) <geek@mscigar s . com> on Sunday October 08, 2006 @09:16PM (#16359069) Homepage
    Story: Company is allegedly thinking of using Linux as OS for new hardware device.

    Response: I want the source. I want the source.

    More responses: This does/doesn't violate GPL.

    More responses: This is why we need/don't need GPL v3

    Conclusion: The story was wrong, the device doesn't use Linux, there might be a way to boot Linux on it, but we don't know yet.
  • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday October 08, 2006 @10:51PM (#16359567) Homepage Journal
    If you distribute the code, you have to make the sources available.

    But you don't have to distribute the compiler or especially the linker along with the source code, do you? I would imagine that the Wii linker includes a digital signing step to keep out hobbyists and other unlicensed developers.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday October 09, 2006 @12:03AM (#16359927) Journal
    In a very, very Tivo-ized way, yes. You can buy Linux for your PS2, and it will come standard on the PS3, but based on how crippled PS2 Linux was, I don't have much hope for the PS3.
  • by seguso (760241) on Monday October 09, 2006 @01:19AM (#16360469) Homepage
    But under GPL 2, there's no guarantee that the hardware provided with the software will allow an improved version to run, which makes an end-run around FSF freedom #1.

    But you do have freedom to run the improved version, just not on the same machine. You are free to build a machine which runs the modified software.

    Requiring to be able to run the modified software on the same machine would be a restriction on the hardware, not on the software, so it seems a software license is not the right place for it.

  • by Simon80 (874052) on Monday October 09, 2006 @02:08AM (#16360801)
    Sure, being able to run the software on a different machine is great, but RMS wants computing to be free, not strictly software. My understanding is that what bugs him is people having computers, and not being free to use, modify, and distribute the software that runs on them. So I don't think that being able to buy some other computer to run the software quite cuts it for him, and the GPL is a legal codification of those ideals, so you'd expect the GPLv3 to take that into account.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 09, 2006 @07:51AM (#16362459)
    Because of the laissez-faire attitude we have very poor quality free drivers, as no one has the incentive to reverse-engineer the hardware, and very poor quality proprietary hardware. Until the very latest beta drivers (9xxx series) I think Nvidia drivers really really sucked, as in lock up every 2 days on my 64-bit AMD machine (the 32-bit drivers have been sucking a little less for longer). Now they are barely adequate.
    Unfortunately, this is a universal problem with modern video hardware, and is spreading to other hardware as well. The key issue is that the hardware manufacturers want to differentiate their products, in order to add value and roll back the commoditisation driven by MS Windows in the 1990s. That commoditisation also benefited Linux (together with other open-source systems), and it's reversal has led to lower quality drivers for users of both MS Windows and Linux.

    The unfortunate reality is that the video hardware manufacturers who protect their IP by using binary-only drivers are able to prevent competitors imitating their designs, and thus to increase the value of their products (in terms of performance). This is true on Windows too, where video drivers included on the Windows CD used to be licensed to Microsoft in source form, and compiled/tested/fixed along with the OS source code, but are now licensed as blobs (so other hardware vendors can't get access to them).

    It's sad that the laptops I owned back in the 90s were well supported with open-source drivers on not only Linux, but also the BSDs, where as critical hardware in the last couple of laptops I've owned has only partially worked under Linux (using binary drivers), and been hopeless under the BSDs. Maybe I've just had bad luck, but my impression is that a lot of the hardware manufacturers are doing everything they can to try and move the industry back to the 'bad old days' of proprietary hardware, when hardware vendors had 'lock-in' power.
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Monday October 09, 2006 @08:06AM (#16362553)
    Nvidia are definitely distributing their kernel extentions via their web site. You are playing with words here.
    No. The important difference is that Nvidia is making their kernel module accessible through the website. Then YOU have to download it and LINK it against the kernel. They are legally doing nothing wrong with that - it is the users deciding to use the proprietary module with the kernel.

    In the case of Kororaa, they distributed it together already linked.
  • by indifferent children (842621) on Monday October 09, 2006 @08:09AM (#16362573)
    If you use Linux you have to expect that you won't be able to use the latest and greatest hardware available unless you're willing to accept some bitter terms from the manufacturer to protect their intellectual property

    How about: "If you use ANY operating system, you won't be able to use the latest and greatest hardware available unless you're willing to accept some bitter terms from the manufacturer to protect their intellectual property". Using Linux doesn't subject you to terms that are more bitter, it's just that we Linux users have grown to expect freedom.

Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.

Working...