Letter to Microsoft to open-source MSX Bios and MSX Basic

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بواسطة tcruise

Master (133)

صورة tcruise

02-02-2011, 06:44

I'm available to assist in ensuring the wording is correct and the intentions are set out so that it will not be misunderstood. I also am known to Microsoft (although mainly the Australian branch).
Have we put any sort of draft together or just the items that have been suggested in the posts above?

بواسطة Leo

Paragon (1236)

صورة Leo

02-02-2011, 09:15

i think we could provide some example of companies ( borland , hitech , and others more recent) who released rights of their software.
This may push them a little like "if they did it, why would you do less".
It could also reduce the scaring side of dropping the very small chance of source of revenue for them.

There could be also a "reciproque" engagement of us (representing the msx community) of not unassembing it or decoding it : i say that because the same BASIC code or partial code could be well used in other systems&ROMs which died more recently like in some embeded/industrial devices.

بواسطة muffie

Paladin (933)

صورة muffie

02-02-2011, 09:16

Just whats above actually. I dont know how to start.
Would you mind creating a 1st draft?

بواسطة pitpan

Prophet (3145)

صورة pitpan

02-02-2011, 09:27

I don't think Microsoft would adopt a Debian licence because they are direct competitors and this could cause a corporative image issue, although there are different licences, less "political" (forget about GNU also) and more "neutral", such as any of the Creative Commons set.

بواسطة tcruise

Master (133)

صورة tcruise

02-02-2011, 10:09

Ok, really rough 1st draft (needs more content - closing statement expansion etc):

To whom it may concern,

This is an open letter from the current members of the MSX community to request the general release or license of the MSX BIOS, BASIC and documentation.
This release does not have to be fully open-sourced, but at least have a license that makes it easy to copy and modify it, without restrictions.

Benefits to Microsoft:
• No loss to Microsoft, as there is very little chance of future revenues.
• Increasing goodwill to a community that loves their BIOS and who provide free promotion of Microsoft as a whole.
• Boosting retro computing (which has been gaining broad consumer appeal), especially a system Microsoft was involved in.
• The MSX 1 BIOS listing has already been released in the past (See MSX BIOS published by Quest Publishing in 1985)
• Other software companies such as Borland and Hitech have already released or relaxed rights on software to retro communities, so there is good precedent for agreements of this sort.
• It brings to light Microsoft’s early attempts at developing standards based operating systems which can surely only help to further Microsoft’s community image.

Why is this license/release needed?
openMSX is an emulator that runs on numerous operating systems, including Windows, that allows the expanding MSX community members to experience a MSX computer without having to obtain physical hardware (which is getting harder to obtain in working condition). This allows entry to retro computing to a much wider audience, previously restricted to owners of physical hardware.
In order to also make the use of openMSX available to a wider community it would be better for the MSX BIOS and Basic to be able to be distributed with the openMSX distributions, thus the catalyst for this request.

We do understand that there may be other parties (perhaps ASCII Corporation) that will need to be jointly involved in this request if it is to come to pass. But we are unclear as a community as to the current status of where any ownership lies. As a first step it would be good to have clarification on the status of each of the components.

بواسطة MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

صورة MäSäXi

02-02-2011, 10:47

Yeah, and if we are lucky, we can get permanently CLOSED-source after that letter.... Wink

I wonder if Microsoft is still one way or another making profit with that piece of code or if they even still use parts of it. If they have some patented parts in their BIOS code they will not release the code.
Manuel already said this, but anyway, if they had 25 year licence, it has expired on 2008. Or 2007, if the licence started on 1982.

I also am known to Microsoft (although mainly the Australian branch). It can´t hurt, if Mr. T. Cruise mentions himself in the letter. Wink And maybe writes his signature there as a Microsoft Australian branch member. (and MSX community should be the other "signature" of course)


It brings to light Microsoft’s early attempts at developing standards based operating systems which can surely only help to further Microsoft’s community image.

Yeah, it brings new people around the world the old mostly forgotten knowledge, that Microsoft failed in the past with their MSX standard. Wink So many people had forgotten it so long ago, and now it gets remembered once again. Smile Microsoft surely will love that!! Smile Otherwise, it sounds like a good idea! Smile

And last: As the ownership is an unclear thing to MSX community, maybe we could kindly ask some little help in that letter about who has the which part of the ownership? But I don´t know if that´s a good idea at all........

بواسطة Bastiaan

Champion (333)

صورة Bastiaan

02-02-2011, 11:33

Are the copyrights still in the hands of microsoft?
I thought MSX-a took over the rights, or am I mistaken?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSX

بواسطة muffie

Paladin (933)

صورة muffie

02-02-2011, 14:27

Thanks tcruise. That really looks good. I really think we should point out some estimates of the MSX community around the world, point out some active countries and tell them about "how active" the community is, describing MSXDEV, conversions and etc...
About signing the letter, I was thinking on one of those petition online sites, like this one: http://www.petitiononline.com/create_petition.html
That way, all of us could sign the letter.

We need to finalize the letter until this Friday so we can create a PDF and send it to Diego's e-mail (the former MSR employee who can print and give it physically to MS employees). On the letter we can include the link to our online petition.

بواسطة nikodr

Paladin (748)

صورة nikodr

02-02-2011, 15:13

I dont think we should ask for permission,practically laws are laws,and we had better be careful when dealing with bios stuff.But for a standar like msx that is not supported?would microsoft sue us?For something that came out in 1983?Why would it hurt them ?Does any bank ,store, goverment building run software that needs msx bios?And i am not talking about retro enthusiastic people that have even their msx to the internet.

Just tell them that they should release the bios like amstrad did for cpc and spectrums,and they will be ok.Now hunting pirates that sell pirated copies of windows 7 seems logical for the company that sells windows 7,but hey windows 7 is here now.Msx bios where is it ?In a hard drive in our emulators.

بواسطة Tanni

Hero (556)

صورة Tanni

02-02-2011, 16:35

We need to finalize the letter until this Friday so we can create a PDF and send it to Diego's e-mail (the former MSR employee who can print and give it physically to MS employees). On the letter we can include the link to our online petition.
Why do we need to finalize it until this Friday?

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