Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

No Love From Microsoft For Xbox Modders 579

RandyOo writes: "Only 4 days after news of an XBox port of MAME was posted to Slashdot, Microsoft contacted the admin of and downloads have now been removed. Knew I should have downloaded it earlier this morning ... Thank goodness for P2P!" And scubacuda writes: "According to The Register, one group of Xbox hackers have decided to halt development on its Xbox mod chip. It will be interesting to see how other developers follow suit."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

No Love From Microsoft For Xbox Modders

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:14PM (#3780631)
    .. But Microsoft's lawyers contacted me and asked me not to.
  • Im suprised it didn't happen the day it was announced.
    • confused (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jovlinger ( 55075 )
      It wasn'y clear from any of those links on what gounds microsoft objected. It wasn't a port of one of their games, was it, but rather to their platform?

      How is this different from apple throwing a hissy fit because I've ported galeon to run native on carbon (which I haven't, but for sake of argument)?

      I truly am confused, not just shocked, shocked. Not askign you to justify M$ reasoning, just explain it.
      • Re:confused (Score:3, Informative)

        by Wavicle ( 181176 )
        Okay, the information is VERY spartan so I'm mostly reading between the lines and making a guess here...

        Microsoft demanded that the downloads be stopped because the binary was created using Microsoft's Xbox Dev Kit (XDK). Either something distributed in the binary, or the license restrictions on the Dev Kit forbid distributing the binary.

        The source is still legally obtainable. The binary is probably available illegally through LimeWire/Kazaa/IRC.
        • Re:confused (Score:3, Informative)


          So it sounds like they violated the license on their XDK. Question: How did they get an XDK, and how can the rest of us get one? Or are they also out there on Lime Wire/Kazaa/IRC?

  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:17PM (#3780666) Journal
    And so we see the mentality that brings us Palladium.

    do you think that if they are doing this with X-Box, that they won't do something similar with Palladium?

    It is all that trademark control of the user experience thing happening all over again.

    • Indeed. I think it's incumbent on PC fans--people who don't want some Palladium-enabled hardware to dominate and affect both performance and what software we're able to run--to lobby especially AMD and VIA, and secondarily Intel and others. I put AMD and VIA first because as long as they push non-Palladium-DRM-scheme components, Intel would weel presure to do so as well.

      We don't want our PCs to become closed Xboxes in the future, do we?
      • >"The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws"-Tacitus

        I love this quote, in its full version it is actually even more interesting. Tacitus (this is from memory) says that during the republican period of Rome, laws began to be made to advance a particular persons private interests rather than the public good, and the more corrupt the republic became, the more of those laws it made. Which is very applicable to the purchase of legislation by the media Goliaths we like so much on Slashdot.
    • by homer_ca ( 144738 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @03:09PM (#3781130)
      This is certainly the direction that Palladium is taking. Hardware that refuses to run unsigned code. However the only way to keep this model secure is for Microsoft to hold all the signing keys. Otherwise people could keep buying low-priced shareware developer keys and leak them to the Internet. There must be some way to accomodate student and hobbyist programmers or else they'll lose most of their developer community.
    • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @04:36PM (#3781795) Homepage
      You do raise a good point, but Xbox was incompletely locked down. The boot decryption code was placed in the MCPX chip, where it could be snooped as it crossed the HyperTransport bus on the way to the CPU to be executed. Still requires a hardware mod to bypass it, but the point is the decryption keys get exposed, and it CAN be bypassed.

      What Palladium is proposing is that the boot decryption keys are embedded in the CPU itself. They need AMD & Intel's cooperation for this, of course, and now they have it. This way, it's all but impossible to modify the boot code or to view the encryption keys, except perhaps by shaving the top off the CPU & examining the ROM mask directly with a (very) high-powered microscope.

      Palladium may not take off (there's going to be a lot of privacy concerns, and it's going to be very difficult to secure comprehensive industry support, or it just won't fly), but they sure as hell can implement it in Xbox 2.

      Even this approach can be defeated by e.g. bugs, human error, social engineering etc etc, but it makes things a lot harder to crack/reverse engineer from the hardware/software aspect. Look for Xbox 2 as a feasibility study of the Palladium concept.

  • Thank goodness for P2P!

    You can now download Mod chips via P2P?! Sweet!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The mod chip is just a flash rom. You can download the code and then flash it onto a blank chip. You don't even need any special hardware if your motherboard has a flashable bios. Just swap the bios in your computer for a blank chip, flash it with the xbox code, then put the original bios back. Then put the programmed chip into your xbox.
  • Shock, Amazement (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

    Remember; listening to microsoft too much killed Sega as a Console producer; Now they've been reduced to software. People who buy X-Boxen deserve what they get, IE a kick in the ass.

    Can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

    • "Remember; listening to microsoft too much killed Sega as a Console producer; Now they've been reduced to software."

      WTF?! Where did you hear there? I realize that MS isn't well liked, that doesn't mean that they're responsible for failures that are even semi-linked to them.

      The reason that Sega failed as a console producer dates back to their flooding the market with crap. The Sega CD was was a decent add-on but didn't have very many interesting games (at least compared to the Genesis.) They released the 32x and quickly forgot about it. The Saturn spent all it's time playing catch-up to Sony and failed miserably. When the Dreamcast was released, the PS2 was hot on it's heels.

      If anything, MS helped the Dreamcast by providing them with a CE-based OS for developers to port games to it. Unfortunately, though, Sega couldn't afford to keep producing Dreamcast consoles. They'z expensive. With the competition from PS2, MS, and Nintendo, there was just no way they could keep up. So they made the right decision: Make games for all the consoles, make your competitors earn you money.

      This has nothing to do with Microsoft. Just because MS has their logo on the Dreamcast, doesn't mean they did anything to lead to it's demise. I realize MS is widely hated here, but if everybody on Slashdot does nothing but bash MS, then nobody'll take you seriously when you have a legit complaint about MS.
      • If anything, MS helped the Dreamcast by providing them with a CE-based OS for developers to port games to it. Unfortunately, though, Sega couldn't afford to keep producing Dreamcast consoles. They'z expensive.

        Very very few of the CE games were any good. Rogue Spear may have been the only one. So apparently the developers you get from having WINCE are not so hot. All the good ganes seemed to use the Sega OS. Not that it really matters unless Sega had to pay a lot for the CE licence. If they were smart though there is only a CE payment on the CE using games...of corse MS would want a payment per unit shipped, CE or not.

        I think Sega killed their consoles more or less just because they couldn't design a PS2 level system with the moeny they had left, and in the time needed. I doubt they killed the DC because they were too costly, if so, why did they let the price drop to $100 or so? But, yeah, I don't see how MS had much influence on killing the DC.

      • Okay, I'm metooing just so there is one thing on record saying something positive about MS. This poster is completely correct. Sega died well before anyone was taking the X-box seriously (is anyone taking the X-box seriously?). Sega's death was too many players in a highly competitive market. The Xbox (XBox Ex-Box?) will be around for a while because the parent company can afford to lose money on it for a long, long time. Sega couldn't.
      • I love my dreamcast... at least soul caliber anyway. we still play that game a lot - when drinkning we have challenges... that and tennis.

        but I seriously think the downfall of the DC was that they didnt produce any games that were as fun and replayable like soul caliber.

        when I bought the DC when it first came out I spent a total of 400 on it, controller, mem packs and games. I then bought several $50 games over the next while - but there is only two games that I still ever paly on it - soul caliber and tennis.

        the DC was a great console - if only they had put out some good games there would be a totally different situation.

        What I would like to see happen is consoles themselves becoming very cheap - but the games could remain at 60 bux... that way you could get several (like maybe 4 or 5) really good games for your console - but make the console itself for like 99 or 150 at the most. then you subsidize the console through the price of the games. and get a larger market share.

        I just pulled all that out of my ass - and hafta get back to work, so not putting too much thought into it - so tear apart as needed and fix the concept :P
    • by Servo5678 ( 468237 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @03:42PM (#3781426)
      People who buy X-Boxen deserve what they get, IE a kick in the ass.

      Hey, now wait a minute. A kick in the ass I can understand, but the X-BOX people have to get IE too? Be humane, please!

  • WHAT???? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Unknown Bovine Group ( 462144 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:18PM (#3780679) Homepage
    Microsoft? Not hacker-friendly? What is this world coming to?

    Next thing you know they'll start mucking around with standards and protocols!
    • Microsoft? Not hacker-friendly? What is this world coming to?

      I get the impression you're trying to say that Microsoft doesn't work well with hackers; but I beg to differ:

      If it wasn't for Microsoft, we hackers wouldn't have anything to hack.
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      Microsoft? Not hacker-friendly? What is this world coming to?

      Nah, just like always... they're only cracker friedly. :)
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:19PM (#3780691)
    "No, Master!"

    Microsoft can kick and whine and scream all they want to, but it's far, far too late. They knew that all the other consoles get chipped. They knew that their hardware was ripe for a Linux/Mame/Etc.. port. They knew that they were going to have to fight this, even if every other console maker has been doing it from the beginning of time.

    Sorry, Bill. Take a good look at Sony, your main source of competition. What have they done? Released a Linux kit... and therefore eventual Mame compatibility.

    • by juuri ( 7678 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:36PM (#3780848) Homepage
      Why waste effort porting or hacking a platform if the vendor tells you it will be "somewhat" open in the future?

      Sony did the right thing by saying they would eventually be releasing everything needed to make your own "custom play" console. They defused the desire and efforts of many who would have done otherwise. Since this strategy of "announce and release somewhere a bazillion years from now" was pretty much created by Microsoft I'm not sure why they just didn't do this now?
    • by tshak ( 173364 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:57PM (#3781032) Homepage
      Take a good look at Sony, your main source of competition. What have they done? Released a Linux kit... and therefore eventual Mame compatibility.

      Sony may have released a Linux kit, but that is irrelevant because it's not a "hack" but it's an authorized CD. You are kidding yourself if you think that you can use that CD to make and distribute your own Linux distro, or any other software for the PS2. You are also kidding yourself if you think that Sony doesn't fight hard against pirates and the devices they use (eg mod chips).
  • It will be interesting to see how other developers follow suit.


    It will be interesting to see how the (law) suits will follow the other developers.
    • Why dont the developers sue M$, doesn't this violate their right of ownership or something? Or is the XBox just leased from M$?
  • by mocm ( 141920 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:19PM (#3780694)
    The site of another modchip manufacturer at is also gone.
  • by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:20PM (#3780701) Homepage
    They're still posting source code as they update it. Of course, without the Xbox Development Kit (which they used to develop MAME-X), you can't build it, so it's kinda useless.

    Precedent has already been set forth by Sega V. Accolade. One does not need permission from a platform developer to release software for that platform, given sufficient reverse engineering. However, since MAME-X, and all other Xbox software, uses Xbox's (and Windows') APIs, effectively nothing can be released without Microsoft's consent.

    The EULA strikes again.
    • by Gridle ( 17502 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:38PM (#3780876)
      > The EULA strikes again.

      Not EULA, but Microsoft's property. Apparently binaries compiled with the XDK end up with some part of them still copyrighted by Microsoft, so they clearly have a case here. They did not mention anything about source code, and common sense says that it shouldn't be a problem, so that is still available.

      If somebody invests the time and other resources to do a clean-room reverse-engineering of the Xbox development kit or API, we may see the binaries again. But until then, they are illegal. Move along, nothing to see here (anymore).
      • by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:46PM (#3780944) Homepage
        Not EULA, but Microsoft's property. Apparently binaries compiled with the XDK end up with some part of them still copyrighted by Microsoft, so they clearly have a case here.

        Virulent licensing indeed. And Microsoft complains about how the GPL contaminates projects. :)

        Well, technically, all of Microsoft's software is Microsoft's property. It's never "given" or "sold" to us, but just licensed. So it is a EULA issue.

        How Microsoft wishes to explain the fault is something different, but it's the same either way. But, at any rate, good luck fighting the fight further (if you plan to).
        • by mpe ( 36238 )
          Virulent licensing indeed. And Microsoft complains about how the GPL contaminates projects. :)

          They already said that anything put through Hotmail belongs to them. How long before Microsoft claim copyright on anything produced by MS Word?
      • You could take an XDK-built binary and rip out all the Microsoft-copyright code: by diffing it against some other program. For example you could write a 'Hello, world' program and see all the boilerplate that gets added.

        Then distribute just the 'extra' bits - to reconstruct a working program, combine the downloaded version with code from some other Xbox title.

        Don't know whether this would count as contributory copyright infringement.
    • For those who are curious, here's the sega ruling []. It's good reading.
    • Instead of people just using the Mame-X binaries, now they have to pirate your Xbox-DK instead.

      Who wants to bet that people who chip consoles won't feel bad about downloading a warezed copy of the Xbox-DK? I thought so...
    • This is what I was looking for. I wasn't sure if it was being compiled by the xbox dev kit or not. So in reality this is more of a temporary set back for the project since undoubtably people will continue to reverse engineer the hardware and build libraries to replace the dev kit.

      I wonder what tatics MS will try once there is a open dev kit for the hardware.
  • (-1 AYBoxABTU)
  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:20PM (#3780707)
    Xbox mod creators, however, claim to have the moral high ground in this discussion ... they focus their efforts on creating chips which can run homebrew software rather than pirated games, such as the Xbox version of MAME (designed to emulate old arcade machines)...

    The irony of that statement, told by The Register with a straight face, is delicious! "Look! We're using this to run homebrew software, like Joust, Centipede, and Wizard of Wor!" ;)
    • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:57PM (#3781030) Homepage
      If you can find me a publisher and programmer of any of those titles who depends on royalties from those games to live, please contact me.

      Otherwise, who the hell cares. The best part is, the only people that get up in arms are the companies and their lawyers. Ive yet to hear the designer of Astroids complain bitterly that he didn't get repaid for every Asteroids rip off out there.

      Microsoft (and old videogame authors, publishers) can kiss my fucking ass. They'd been paid in spades. Look at the gaming industry right now .. did the fact that PacAMan, Asteroids, etc were copied by thousands upon thousands of clones (freeware, shareware, and commercial) somehow hurt the game industry and prevent its ability to invest in games? Looking at the market these days, I cant really believe they are detremental to the point of requiring vigilent lawyer-based protection. If they dont need it, they cant have it. Sorry.

      Its like a next door neighbour with a house 4,000,000 bigger than mine who's pissed off because I'm blocking the sun to one tiny basement window at the corner of the mansion.

      Yes, there is a smidgen of irony in there, but if these games' royalties are so valuable, they'd be advertising them and selling them in bundles other than "Top 20 Arcade Hits" etc bundles. Even then, thats 'recycled' innovation, not something I want to support monetarily. Anyone that wants to play Joust, Centipede, etc has undoubedly paid their dues at the quarter-eating-boxes, etc years ago.

      Compare this to books: do you really think you should have to buy your favorite books every 10 years, because the paper you read it on becomes obsolete and unavailable every decade?
  • from now on, everyone should refer to x-box mod chips as "Replacement Wheels for Chocolate Bicycles" ... this will ensure that MS prying eyes will be kept from our clandestine, x-box hacking activities. Viva La Revolucion! -jms258
  • Honestly... this just adds to the idea: What's the point.

    Microsoft's big happy campaign behind the X-Box was that it would be integrable with a lot of stuff since it was based around a standard computer...

    Well, so far that's proved to be useless, considering the lack of a commercial OS to run off of it, no inter-web games available as of yet, and no use of this would-be harddrive that couldn't be achieved on a PS-2.

    So now they're getting pissed off at Modders. Well what do they expect? They've given us a bunch of resources, and now they're saying "Nope, you can't use them".

    Yeah, M$ doesn't really belong in the gaming industry if you ask me. Playstation [] seems to be doing a good job and providing the public with everything Microsoft promised.
    • by DeionXxX ( 261398 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:39PM (#3780886)
      Mmmm.. no use for Xbox HD, no Inter-Web games?? I believe Morrowind shows what the HD on the Xbox can do. They pre-load the huge levels they have on the Xbox and poof, no more long load times. Add to that unlimited storage for save games and information about the game and poof you've got one of the best reasons to have a HD in your console. As far as internet games, people have been playing multiplayer Halo and other games for months (like a month after the xbox came out). There is quite a large community of players and hackers. Also, MS's plans on internet play are by far the best of the 3 consoles (Nintendo doesn't have a plan really... PS2 is like you'll have to buy these $50 games and then pay $10 to each of the Publishers for the right to play on their network! No thanks to that, 3 games = $150, $10/month * 3 * 12 months = $360/yr, $150 + $360 = $510/yr just to play 3 games on the PS2.)

      I agree that there have been some lackluster games on the Xbox, but it has enough hits that justify for those. The PS2 had NOTHING for 1 year!! They had no good games, and at the end of the year when the Xbox came out, they got GTA3 and FFX etc...

      I'm tired of people bashing the Xbox based on its parent company. Fight MS on the PC side, but let them try to create some competition in the console market. We (the consumers) are the only ones to benefit from this competition. I'm tired of only have Sony or Nintendo as an option, because they don't compete against each other... those that buy Nintendo's products will continue to buy Nintendo products, and those who buy Sony products will continue to buy Sony products. The XBox bring a nice refreshing burst of competition, developers for the PS2 are now having to make their games look much nicer and concentrate on the visual aspects as well as the gameplay elements and Nintendo developers are now creating more mature games.

      So in closing... just stop being ignorant... I'm tired of ignorance on Slashdot, are we a community of well educated tech people or are we a community of ignorant bafoons that have nothing better to do at work then spread FUD.

      -- DeionXxX
      • The PS2 had NOTHING for 1 year!! They had no good games, and at the end of the year when the Xbox came out, they got GTA3 and FFX etc...

        *ahem* So Gran Turismo 3, Metal Gear Solid 2, ATV Offroad Fury, SSX, Twisted Metal: Black, Onimusha, NBA Street, Tekken Tag Tournament and Sky Odessy don't count as "good games"? I'd hate to have your standard for "good games", as you are going to be disappointed with just about 99.999% of all games out there.

        Sorry, I know, feeding the trolls and all, but this tired "the PS2 had no good games!" argument ticks me off whenever I see it.
      • "I'm tired of only have Sony or Nintendo as an option, because they don't compete against each other..."

        I'm sure they'd like to know this...

        "those that buy Nintendo's products will continue to buy Nintendo products, and those who buy Sony products will continue to buy Sony products."

        So... you're saying having a choice between two different philosophies is bad, and being able to choose between three carbon copies is good?

        You may have a point about Nintendo fans being in it for the long haul, but please remember that this is only Sony's second console to date. Just because they're buying PS2s today doesn't mean they'll buy PS3s tomorrow (or even continue to buy PS2s). After all, most of the people that bought PSX today bought Sega yesterday, Nintendo the day before and Atari before that.

        A lot of Nintendo people buy Nintendo stuff because they are God's gift to game developers (a point that has proven itself far too often to bother arguing about). Generally speaking, we don't care if Nintendo's new system will be two tin cans and a rock as long as we get to play Miyamoto's next games on it.

        Sony, on the other hand, has shown a reliance on third-party developers, and their PSX sales were high because of the wide number of third parties that developed for it instead the N64. But even then they lost out to the N64 in many areas (including North America). In short, Sony isn't selling a Sony system, they're selling a non-Nintendo system. And Sony is heading for trouble because the vast majority of third-party games today are hardware agnostic. Even Final Fantasy's next installment will be on all three consoles.

        If you say that Nintendo and Sony don't compete with each other, then by your own definition Microsoft is only aiming to compete with Sony. The majority of the games on both of those systems are aimed at the same audience.

        "and Nintendo developers are now creating more mature games."

        Pet peeve time: Anybody who says something like GTA3 is more mature than something like Zelda: Majora's Mask needs to have their head examined. That, or they're still in high school.
    • You really don't know much about what you're talking about, do you?

      MS have never said Xbox would be "integrable" with "other stuff". They never pushed the fact that it was based on standard PC parts. They always pushed it as a killer game console, nothing else.

      There will never be a "commercial OS" to run on the Xbox, if MS have anything to do with it. Repeat after me: It's a game console, not a PC.

      The online service has not been opened yet, but even so you can still play half a dozen games, including Halo, Tony Hawk (2X & 3) and Nascar Heat, over the net. Not quite "no inter-web games available", whatever that means. When Xbox Live opens in a few weeks, there will be dozens of net-based games, as promised.

      And clearly you haven't looked at what uses the hard drive HAS been getting. First off, virtually infinite save games. Second, rip your music & play it from there without the CD, or play it instead of a game's supplied soundtrack (this is really nice). Third, caching game data really does speed up game load times, especially during the game itself. Fourth, it allows you to add content to a game, as DOA3 did with their recent bonus add-on disc.

      Fifth, and most important, games are starting to use the hard disk for LARGE amounts of persistent data. Morrowind is a current example of a huge, really detailed world that is simply not possible without the HD. Project Ego is an even more ambitious RPG that preserves & evolves every last detail of the world - forget doing that on a memory save card!

      And of course they're pissed off at modders. They will oppose anything that gives people a reason to buy the Xbox (which they take a loss on) and not buy games from it, at least until they can break even on the sale of the box. They will (of course) also oppose anything that might promote or allow piracy of games, to protect their publisher partners.

      They haven't "given us a bunch of resources", they're selling a game console, just like Sony et al. And just as with the other consoles, people are seeing the Xbox as a challenge - one with more promise than PS2, DC etc, since it has a built-in HD & ethernet, a faster CPU, more RAM, better gfx & sound and it's a largely familiar architecture.

      You're complaining that the Xbox is "useless" because of its lack of non-gaming support, yet you claim MS doesn't belong in the gaming industry? Make up your mind.

  • Surprise Surprise. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tshak ( 173364 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:23PM (#3780738) Homepage
    Microsoft, like Nintendo and Sony, spends millions developing anti-piracy technology and now they're mad about the cracks - what a surprise. Remember, consoles also thrive on licensing. If anyone could develop software for a console, it would defeat the purpose of the entire business. Of course, Sony's Linux kit is a bit of an exception, but you can't distribute any software for it.
  • by dennism ( 13667 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:25PM (#3780750) Homepage
    It sounds as if Microsoft is pissed because their SDK was used. I don't have an Xbox SDK, but I'd imagine that there is some pretty hefty licensing requirements that disallow posting any code built with it on the net.

    Now, if someone manages to build Xbox binaries with other tools (gcc) and without the libraries and headers that come with Microsofts SDKs, I don't think Microsoft will be able to do anything about that.

    Take a look at the GameBoy Advance scene -- there are at least two non-Nintendo compiler chains that you can use to build GBA binaries. Plenty of people have their own sets of header files available for use (I have a heavily modified set of my own). Nintendo realises that they can't stop them. But, if any of the offical GBA SDK shows up on the net, better believe it that Nintendo's lawyers are working to quickly get it offline.

    So, this doesn't have anything to do with Microsoft's poor business model and everything to do with protecting their intellectual property.
  • by rw2 ( 17419 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:26PM (#3780765) Homepage
    Microsoft: If cars had improved the way software has we'd all be driving a million miles an hour uphill on a shot glass of fuel and the car would cost a dollar.

    New response: If cars were like the xbox, we'd be sued for selling after market parts and only be able to buy gas from approved vendors at a dollar a gallon premium.
    • Overrated? That seems damn insightful to me.... what are the moderators smoking today?
  • by corebreech ( 469871 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:29PM (#3780795) Journal
    Bill Gates is now reduced to fighting off MAME developers.

    His business strategy is so feeble that were we allowed to play DONKEY KONG on his $400 console it would all come to an end.

    To see the whole world just within grasp, and then forced to watch as it all gets pulverized by Mario's mighty hammer.

    Somebody needs to give this guy a Rorschach test. I bet all the ink blots look like money.
    • [Gates'] business strategy is so feeble that were we allowed to play DONKEY KONG on his $400 console it would all come to an end.

      Hey -- this is one way that he could get Nintendo games to come to the XBox. There'd finally be something for it that was worth playing! :)

      XBox owners: It's a joke. laugh.

  • by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:29PM (#3780801) Homepage Journal
    TiVo (the PVR) is more friendly to hackers and actively support them, so I came to the following idea where you can piss Microsoft off a little and add to your TiVo at the same time. As Microsoft plan into making future generations of XBox a Personal Video Recorder, what about killing them stone dead by installing MAME on a TiVo?

    First generation TiVOs may not have enough CPU power to simultaneously play video games and record, but the second generation ones have faster CPUs. They're probably not up to leading edge games but early arcade games should be no problem.

    Demonstrate that being hostile to hackers is not a good thing.
  • Exactly what has Mame done than Microsoft can force them to remove binaries from their site? Are they accused of distributing copyrighted works? What?
  • Is this just good old-fashioned bullying by MS, or is there a legal construction that actually allows them to do this?

    I'm speculating that the SDK is only available through some signed contract and that it gives various shutdown capabilities to Microsoft and/or spells out certain types of software that may not be developed using it -- but I'm just speculating. (It would make sense, though.) Anyone got the hard info?

    • by The Vulture ( 248871 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:55PM (#3781020) Homepage
      I don't work for Microsoft, and I don't know their current licensing agreements of their SDK, but here's my understanding based on my prior experience (in working for Sega, in their Developer Technical Support group).

      There are apparently two things that Microsoft is griping about - the sale of Mod Chips, and the distribution of the MAME X-Box binaries.

      Issue 1 (Mod Chips): Microsoft may not have a leg to stand on legally. Until reverse-engineering is completely made illegal in the United States (and other countries where Microsoft could sue people), the Mod Chips are semi-legal. I say "semi-legal" because although they generally allow for the use of pirated games, you can also claim that they let you run other things (like non Microsoft formatted CD-R's/DVD's, etc.), like MAME for the X-Box.

      Issue 2 (X-Box MAME): It is my understanding that the binaries that were distributed were built using the Microsoft X-Box SDK. This is a no-no. At Sega, we would rent (believe it or not, basically, rent) the development hardware (which was a special Dreamcast unit that had a debugging CPU, a hard drive and a GD-ROM drive that would boot from non-retail GD's) for somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000, and we would include with that a copy of our SDK.

      The hardware and SDK were heavily licensed, to the point that we could take them away from a developer on pretty much our whim (although I had never heard of such a thing happening - usually the developers returned them on their own volition, like when they were finished development for the system). Also, the game concepts had to go through committee decisions, and the companies getting the hardware and software were generally heavily scrutinized. I can say from personal experience that I was ordered to not provide a certain company with support, even though they had our hardware and SDK, because they weren't working on an authorized title.

      So, basically, you weren't allowed to give out the SDK's to anybody, and since you don't have permission to use the SDK, it is illegal to distribute the resulting binaries (kind of like the Quake I for Dreamcast that was floating around - it required WinCE to build, but only licensed Sega developers had legal rights to use the WinCE SDK). On this issue, I completely agree with Microsoft.

      Build it without the X-Box SDK, and you're in the clear. Otherwise, get a good lawyer, because you're committing copyright infringement.

      -- Joe
      • So, basically, you weren't allowed to give out the SDK's to anybody, and since you don't have permission to use the SDK, it is illegal to distribute the resulting binaries (kind of like the Quake I for Dreamcast that was floating around - it required WinCE to build, but only licensed Sega developers had legal rights to use the WinCE SDK). On this issue, I completely agree with Microsoft.

        The problem isn't that you haven't got permission to use the SDK, the problem is that the finished binary contains statically linked MS code that you haven't got permission to distribute.

        If I use illegal copies of Microsoft Notepad to write a novel (as if), they can't stop me from distributing that novel. If I use an illegal copy of Adobe Photoshop to create an image, they can't do anything to prevent me from distributing that image either.

        It's only when my work contains any intellectual property I'm not allowed to distribute I can't distribute it, no matter how it was created.

  • Sorry Microsoft, but what I do with a piece of hardware once I've purchased it is my own damned business. Unlike software, hardware is SOLD. Or is Microsoft selling hardware use licenses when they sell an XBOX? Would that make it illegal to take a sledge hammer to an XBOX when the cheap-ass controllers break on you?

    Here's a scary thought: What if Microsoft *was* selling Hardware Use Licenses..

    "You may not use this pointing device to click on any hyperlink on a non-microsoft approved site."

    As far as home brew games, just change the code a bit and release it for free or sell it or rent it or whatever for the PC. Preferably a PC running Linux, to really flip MS the bird on this one.

  • by Shaheen ( 313 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @02:45PM (#3780937) Homepage
    So the MAME project uses the Xbox Development Kit to develop MAME for the Xbox. What this means is one of the following:

    - They bought a proper license for the XDK. The ability to buy one requires an approved title.

    - They illegally pirated a copy of the XDK.

    Since the MAME project had a working version on a devkit box (the clear case Xboxes), I'd be willing to bet that a programmer at a games shop that has an approved Xbox title took it upon himself to port MAME.

    Once MAME was developed, the only thing required to get it running on commercial Xboxes was either pressing a true DVD-9 and getting the code signed as an approved Xbox title, or using a mod-chip and burning the software onto a CD.

    The first option wouldn't happen - MAME is not a title that would show the power of Xbox, nor would it be something the average consumer would want.

    The legal problem with the second option is that the ported MAME software uses Microsoft's intellectual property. When building software for Xbox, your application is linked against several static libraries that provide the base software services (file systems, memory management, etc.)

    Hence, Microsoft really does have the legal right to stop distribution of MAME in this case.

    Don't ask me about the mod chip's legal case - I don't know about it at all.
  • by dubiousmike ( 558126 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @03:07PM (#3781110) Homepage Journal
    Step one: Place X-Box on secure platform.

    Step two: Place drink on X-Box

    Step three: Turn on Gamecube and enjoy.
  • This is exactly what Nintendo, Sega and Atari did when other companies attempted to produce games for their platforms, way back in the 80's, so it's nothing new! Y'all just forgot about it.

    Microsoft has indeed learned from their business model. This is in effect a good reason NOT to buy an XBox, but to stick to games for your PC, preserve that market and you'll still have the option to buy games for it in 5 years. You buy games for proprietary game consoles and watch the PC market wither and you'll have been your own worst enemy (and still be pointing the finger at them to blame.)

  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DigitalHammer ( 581235 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @03:22PM (#3781254) Journal
    Sure, research from Enigmah-X, based in China, has been shut down, but we can purhcase these chips. I believe, located in Hong Kong, still sells these chips. If you ever make a trip to the Far East, be sure to check out China and Thailand. A popular Asian philosophy that implies that "knowledge is free" is a reason why local officials drag thier feet to shut down production operations or enforce intellectual property laws. Movies, software, video games, and a long list of other items are considered "knowledge" there, which explains the existence of their large "piracy" market. Mod chip development, which involves research and development, is also considered as something needed to attain what is considered "knowledge", for example video games. (However, China has begun a recent crackdown on software-related piracy in recent months, as it tries its hardest to enter the WTO).

    In Thailand, you can obtain PS2 and Xbox games from 2.50-5 bucks a pop. Ps2 and Xbox mod chips in Hong Kong cost less than 110 of US currency in the local markets and stores, last time I checked. X-box Mod chip development will likely pop up in Asian countries, so be on the lookout if your interested in this subject.

    The Asian mentality which states that "knowledge is free", which is Confucian in origin, is something a so-called "Westerner" may not understand, especially when that person lives in a country full of IP laws. This explains the seemingly endless battle of American companies, such as Microsoft, against the gargantuan "piracy" markets of Asia.

    Also, this quote from a paper of a student of Rutgers University titled "Preliminary Analysis of Intellectual Property Protection and Economic Development in China" describes the situtation of IPR (Intellectual Protperty Rights) in China:

    "Confucius's concept of the transmission of culture and Marx's views on the social nature of language and invention arose from very different ideological foundations. Nonetheless, because each school of thought in its own way saw intellectual creation as fundamentally a product of the larger society from which it emerged, neither elaborated a strong rationale for treating it as establishing private ownership interests.[15] Deeply influenced by these two ideologies, China falls behind all developed countries and many developing countries in the field of intellectual property protection. It is also not difficult to understand why most of Chinese did not know what were IPRs in 1980s."

    As one can see, the IP battle between West and East began with ideas created in the West and East. Microsoft's successful attempt to shut down R&D on the Enigmah-X is part of it.

    As one famous Chinese scholar once wrote:

    "To steal a book is elegance."

    More information on the reasons behind the East-West IP battle can be found in here:

    "Preliminary Analysis of Intellectual Property Protection and Economic Development in China", an essay written by Sheng Ding []

    "To Steal A Book is an Elegant Offense: Intellectual Property Law in Chinese Civilization" by William P. Alford
  • So, even if MS manages to kill of all of the mod. chip makers, you can still do a homebrew mod by flashing a flashrom on your computer mobo with the hacked bios and wiring it up. This puts the power to mod. you XBox in your hands, but unfortunately it looks as if MS is targeting people illegally using their XDK. What we need is an open sdk for the XBox and/or to wait a bit longer for XBox Linux. Anyway, I'm glad I grabbed MAMEX already.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.