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Second Life and Open Source

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 15, 2006 22:13 UTC (Fri) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
In reply to: Second Life and Open Source by mikov
Parent article: Second Life and Open Source

Microsoft and Sony already are selling such "game client boxes" with great success :-)

Hmm... What "success" are you talking about ? Both PlayStation and Playstation 2 were cracked. Ditto for XBox and XBox 360. PlayStation 3 is not cracked yet (AFAIK, anyway) but it's only available for month so I presume it'll be cracked later...

To me it looks like miserable failure of TPM: legitimate fair use it severely crippled while "pirates" are not really punished...

Note that I am not advocating this, just saying that it makes a lot of sense from many points of view. We as a community must be extra careful to prevent it.

To me it looks like you are advocating this by misrepresenting facts. The facts are clear: TPM schemes (from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, etc) successfully make life miserable for legitemate users but "pirates" (the real target) are affected barely at all. The only exception are online games - and only because the server can prevent cracking attempts. Server can do this with or without TPM...


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Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 15, 2006 23:54 UTC (Fri) by mikov (subscriber, #33179) [Link]

Hmm... What "success" are you talking about ? Both PlayStation and Playstation 2 were cracked. Ditto for XBox and XBox 360. PlayStation 3 is not cracked yet (AFAIK, anyway) but it's only available for month so I presume it'll be cracked later...

I obviously mean commercial success. Yes, PS and XBOX were cracked, however not a single one of the people I know (including me) uses a crack. In percentages, how many people are using a cracked console, you think ? (I am not sure but isn't cracking a violation of the DMCA ?)

To me it looks like miserable failure of TPM: legitimate fair use it severely crippled while "pirates" are not really punished...

Game consoles are not a commercial failure. Any other kinds of failure (like ethical) are unimportant for the businesses who rely on TPM.

Plus, to be honest TPM on a game console isn't limiting my freedoms in a significant way. I buy a game, I play it on many consoles - what's the big deal ? On top of that I can be reasonable sure that other online players with consoles are not cheating. Go explain to Joe Average that this is a bad thing.

To me it looks like you are advocating this by misrepresenting facts. The facts are clear: TPM schemes (from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, etc) successfully make life miserable for legitemate users but "pirates" (the real target) are affected barely at all. The only exception are online games - and only because the server can prevent cracking attempts. Server can do this with or without TPM...

The fact is TPM is here and is most likely here to stay for the foreseeable future. Music, movies, games - it all fits perfectly. Just because you don't like what I am saying (even I don't like what I saying), doesn't mean I am misrepresenting facts, let alone advocating for trusted computing.

We don't have a chance of fighting this effectively if we close our eyes to reality and to the obstacles we face. Saying that it is unfair, hurts users, etc, doesn't matter as long as it is a huge commercial success. We don't like it -> we must change the laws.

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 16, 2006 17:49 UTC (Sat) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

Any time you break any digital copyright protection sceme it is a violation of the DMCA.

Anyways. You attributing the success of PS1/PS2 and Xbox to some sort of copy protection sceme is misplaced.

People would of bought them either way.

ID software allows you to download the game itself off their ftp server. You just need the data files. It's not regulated, it's no charge. The 'cdkey' protection is laughably easy to circumvent. But they are still able to make a boatload worth of money.

Sure you didn't know anybody that used cracking to circumvent Xbox protection, but I bet you also didn't actually ask anybody did you?

My mom had a plumber try to sell her PS games for a dozen for 20 bucks when he found out that I liked playing video games. Yes, it was a bit weird.

I know people that have cracked Xbox scemes to install Linux.

I've cracked protection scemes in DVD devices to play non-US videos.

I knew a guy that cracked the protection scemes in his PS2 so he could play japanese games in it.

I would say that these devices succeed despite the protection scemes.

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 16, 2006 18:49 UTC (Sat) by mikov (subscriber, #33179) [Link]

Sorry, but you misunderstand my point. I am not attributing the commercial
success of the consoles to the copy protection scheme. However:

- Consoles are a commercial success and they do have TPM.

- The vast majority of users will not crack their consoles. Because they
don't care, because they can't/don't want to open their consoles and break
them or lastly because its illegal.

- Trusted computing does make the platform more attractive for businesses.
Things like: DRM for media. Multiplayer games where one cannot cheat.
Better control of what the costumer can do. Etc.

Think about the last point. It is not about ethics or "freedom" - the
businesses and even the consumers don't really care about that. From a
business point TPM is very very advantageous. I don't like it, but it is
true.

I am not sure what the solution is or that there even is a solution. We
can't really fight business sense with ideology. We can't realistically
hope that most consumers will magically realize the harm of trusted
computing and stop buying consoles. Actually, I am feeling pretty
desperate about the situation - I think that trusted computing is upon us
and there is nothing we can do. I hope I am wrong.

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 16, 2006 21:52 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

The vast majority of users will not crack their consoles.
It probably depends on the country. The argument can be made that the commercial success of a console in Europe is linked to its "crackability", and not the opposite.
Trusted computing does make the platform more attractive for businesses.
Short term maybe; long term, these artificial restrictions limit the usefulness of a device and its application.
We can't really fight business sense with ideology.
Business sense has its own ideology; very often businesses hurt themselves because of it. At other times businesses can see the truth and act wisely. IBM supports Linux because it is cheap and good, but also because it is open and free.

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 17, 2006 13:08 UTC (Sun) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

The vast majority of users will not crack their consoles.

Right. They just go to the internet shop and buy a cracked one (you do know why the console with long-obsoleted firmware 1.50 will cost $15 more then console with current firmware, right?).

Trusted computing does make the platform more attractive for businesses. Things like: DRM for media. Multiplayer games where one cannot cheat. Better control of what the costumer can do. Etc.

And since all this makes the platform less attractive to the customer in a lot of cases the real penetration only occurs when the TPM-scheme is hacked.

It is not about ethics or "freedom" - the businesses and even the consumers don't really care about that.

Consumers don't care about "freedom" - they care about price. Right now you can buy 10 movies for $3 in Russia on DVD (pirated, of course - but I've not seen noone who actually cares about this when I was there). Movies on HD-DVD or BlueRay discs will cost 50-100 times more at first. Do you really think customers will buy them ? They will wait for DRM to be broken - or the whole scheme will just go nowhere.

We can't realistically hope that most consumers will magically realize the harm of trusted computing and stop buying consoles.

In a lot of cases they just wait till the DRM-scheme-of-the-day is broken. May be not in U.S. - but in less affluent counttries it's the rule...

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 18, 2006 5:15 UTC (Mon) by jamesh (guest, #1159) [Link]

Many DRM schemes rely on no one being able to break them -- if a single person can break the protection, they can distribute the results to others.

In the case of CopyBot, it seems that only one person needed to run the program and it would let other users with unmodified clients copy things. And given that the

So even if there was some form of DRM on the SimpleLife client, you'd need to do better than "The vast majority of users will not crack their consoles".

Rich people in rich countries??

Posted Dec 18, 2006 11:06 UTC (Mon) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

> Yes, PS and XBOX were cracked, however not a single one of the people I
> know (including me) uses a crack. In percentages, how many people are
> using a cracked console, you think ? (I am not sure but isn't cracking a
> violation of the DMCA ?)

Well, I know 30-40 owners of consoles and not a single one of them is not
cracked.
But mind you, in the "popular shopping malls" here in Brasil, you can buy
a console already cracked. :-)

Rich people in rich countries??

Posted Dec 18, 2006 12:39 UTC (Mon) by neilt (guest, #6800) [Link]

Same in Hong Kong - consoles sold ready cracked. Everyone I know with a console has a cracked one. Anti-copy systems cannot work other than to interfere with legitimate use. Of course all users end up paying for the hardware and software that stops us using stuff the way we want to.

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 18, 2006 20:00 UTC (Mon) by jmorris42 (guest, #2203) [Link]

> Plus, to be honest TPM on a game console isn't limiting my freedoms
> in a significant way.

Because you are ignorant and don't see it doesn't mean you didn't hand over a big chunk of your freedom when you bought a Playstation/X-Box/Gamecube. I'm still amazed that Atari V Activision was tossed in the recycling bin without a whimper.

I'm sure most of the readers here don't remember the Atari 2600, but many do. Now imagine the 2600 without any of the Activision and Imagic, etc. games, only the 'official' Atari released titles. Now you know why console development is stagnating now, just more polygons on the same old sports, fps and gangster games. Because a small hungry shop can't release a new innovative game and turn the industry on its ear like Activision did all those years ago.

Because even though you see other names and logos on those boxes in Walmart, each and every title was created by a publishing house hand selected by the console vendor and who understands their right to release is subject to removal at the whim of the vendor without any right of appeal. Each selected house must aleady be a major player because the price of entry is huge.

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 19, 2006 2:48 UTC (Tue) by piman (subscriber, #8957) [Link]

> Because a small hungry shop can't release a new innovative game...

Apparently you haven't seen what Microsoft, of all parties, is up to with Xbox Live Arcade and XNA, then. It's designed around letting small hungry shops release innovative games with as little overhead and as large a market as possible.

I think you're really overestimating how much "hand selection" goes on. Yes, if Sony or MS is your direct publisher they'll care. But in general, they want more games, not fewer, to be released for their console. In general, the game developers also have business contracts, making it not exactly "the whim of the vendor".

Really, the problem is the consolidation of publishers, not console makers.

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 19, 2006 16:44 UTC (Tue) by JonoPrice (guest, #23155) [Link]

Apparently you haven't seen what Microsoft, of all parties, is up to with Xbox Live Arcade and XNA, then. It's designed around letting small hungry shops release innovative games with as little overhead and as large a market as possible.
It might look like it is designed around that, but it isn't really. In order to be able to play games developed under XNA, you need a PC and a subscription to Microsoft's service that allows XNA games to be played on an XBOX360. Then Microsoft selects the ones that it wants to publish more widely - how is this any more likely to produce innovation than the current situation.

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 19, 2006 3:49 UTC (Tue) by zlynx (subscriber, #2285) [Link]

"Because you are ignorant and don't see it doesn't mean you didn't hand over a big chunk of your freedom when you bought a Playstation/X-Box/Gamecube."

What crap.

Before buying my GameCube, did I have the freedom to play Zelda? Nope. Did I have the freedom to write my own 3D game with a cute character? Yes. Did I? No, it's too much hard work.

After buying the GameCube, can I play Zelda? Yes. Did I *still* have the freedom to write my own game? Sure I did. I could even stick a PowerPC CPU and an ATI GPU together in a small box for myself. What did I lose by buying the GameCube? Absolutely nothing except about $200. $200 in job hours is *infinitely cheap* compared to theoretical hours spent writing my own Zelda.

All of those hours I would have lost writing a "free" game are now mine to waste as I like. Freedom!

If you're talking about the freedom of small independent developers who can't afford to push games onto the consoles, well, it isn't like they have nowhere to go but consoles. PCs are still going strong and they are still open.

It's like complaining that the cover charge in the good clubs is limiting your freedom when you can go drink somewhere else and dance in the park. Or it's like you're a band complaining none of the good clubs will let you in. Whichever. Maybe dancing in the park is not as good, but the goodness is what the cover charge / house percentage is paying for.

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 20, 2006 5:33 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

After buying the GameCube, can I play Zelda?

No. You need modchip, CG Linux and snes9x. Oh, the mean some other Zelda ? Also don't work if it's Japanese Zelda and I have U.S. GameCube (you need FreeLoader for that.

I fail to see why I need to pay for another console just to play games I legitimately own...

It's like complaining that the cover charge in the good clubs is limiting your freedom when you can go drink somewhere else and dance in the park.

Nope. It's like complaining that "the good club" forbids you to drink "bad stuff" in your own home. I've bought the damn console - why the Microsoft, Nintendo or SONY should decide what I can do with it ?

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 20, 2006 18:57 UTC (Wed) by zlynx (subscriber, #2285) [Link]

I really don't have any sympathy for people who buy game consoles and expect to use them for anything but playing games. It's a cool hack if you can get into the system, but you bought it eyes open.

You bought the console and it does what the manufacturer built it to do. Expecting anything else is like buying a Kia for off-road driving. You might be able to rebuild the Kia for off-road but complaining it doesn't do it from the factory is stupid, and Kia doesn't owe you anything to make off-road custom Kia's easier to build.

If what you really wanted was an open system with a PowerPC and a ATI card, you can build that. You just can't have it for the price of a GameCube. Tough.

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 22, 2006 9:08 UTC (Fri) by JohnNilsson (guest, #41242) [Link]

I find it ironic that you speak about freedom to use a particular console, when the console it self is non-free.

Before buying your GameCube, did you have the freedom to play Zelda? Nope. Did you have the freedom to buy anything else but a Nintendo GameCube to enable you to do so? Nope...

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 22, 2006 18:14 UTC (Fri) by zlynx (subscriber, #2285) [Link]

You obviously use different definitions of freedom than I do. And at any rate, I was arguing about how buying a console affects *my* freedom not if the console itself is "free" in an open general purpose system sense.

I'm free to do anything I like with my Gamecube. It is physically in my possession. All its atoms belong to me and I can examine and rearrange them as I like.

Just like Open Source software, the people who actually build a thing get to decide what it does. You didn't build the Gamecube, you don't get to decide.

You can rebuild that Gamecube to do *anything* physically possible to fit in there. It's *incredibly difficult* but it isn't illegal. Or at least, most things you can do with it aren't illegal.

And if you're careful with the law, you can reverse engineer, build and sell a GameCube clone that plays GC games. It's the copyrighted ROMs that kill emulators, not the emulation itself. If they put in the effort to clean-room the ROMs, they'd be in the clear. Again, it is *difficult*, not *illegal*.

So you see, I *am* free to play Zelda without a GameCube. Eventually. After way more work than it'd be worth doing.

In order to me, myself, to be "not free" in a computing sense, my government would have to pass laws preventing me from building and programming general purpose computing machines. Neither Intel nor Microsoft nor Nintendo can take away my freedom by not providing what I want. They cannot prevent me from having an open computer system. Given a textbook and a big enough breadboard I can build a 4004 or 6502 clone. With a FPGA I can do a lot better.

The only thing that truly takes away freedom is coercive violence, which is a thing governments jealously reserve for themselves.

I will note that I do believe laws governing real property rights and copyrights *do* limit freedom. However, I believe we all benefit from reasonable limits on freedom. My freedom ends where your nose begins, as the saying goes. Or your dog, or your car, or your lawn, or your computer program.

That said, show me the violence inherent in the Gamecube system and maybe I'll agree with you that it somehow limits my freedom. :)

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 21, 2006 11:51 UTC (Thu) by ab (subscriber, #788) [Link]

Playstation 3 is different from PS/PS2/XBOXes in that Sony is officially encouraging to install "other operating system" on the box: http://www.playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/index.html

Second Life and Open Source

Posted Dec 21, 2006 17:48 UTC (Thu) by mikov (subscriber, #33179) [Link]

Isn't the OS run inside a hypervisor, making it a subject of restrictions
- e.g. can't access the accelerated graphics, etc ?


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