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

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بواسطة muffie

Paladin (933)

صورة muffie

03-02-2011, 00:47

muffie: dont' limit it to one emulator.

Also keep in mind the person who first reads this goes 'WTF?!?!?!' and doesn't even know where to start... or to even put time and energy into this. Explain what MSX is and how microsoft is related.

I mailed last night with someone who works at microsoft and he doesn't think it's a waste of time though.


Vampier and everyone else: im terrible with letters, suck in English and a lammah in copyright licenses. Can someome plz prepare a full text? I'll ask Diego how long he'll be staying there...

بواسطة dhau

Paragon (1570)

صورة dhau

03-02-2011, 04:41

Are you sure Microsoft can just give it away? They never gave up MS-DOS or GWBASIC, so it's possible they can't give MSX-DOS or MSX-BASIC. For one thing they charge for FAT file system, for another they may have obligations to ASCII Corporation, and ASCII still have some residuals when someone wants to sell emulator with ROM game on iOS App Store or Android Marketplace.

I'm not saying don't try, just don't get your hopes too high.

بواسطة MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

صورة MäSäXi

03-02-2011, 14:52

A while ago someone pointed out that he wrote an email to Namco asking about something MSX related, and they ever hadn´t heard what MSX was! (and even they didn´t understand anything what that email was about, they wanted to be sure and said No! just to be sure namco won´t lose anything)

But muffie, can you ask WhY that letter must be ready so soon? That seems "a bit ridiculous", as he/you has just a moment ago pointed out the whole thing and now suddenly that letter must be ready as soon as possible!! I don´t believe microsoft is making a statement, that "we at microsoft were ready to publish msx-bios as freeware, if someone would have asked it in these few days on the beginning of the february 2011. Unfortunately it is 00:00, the 5th February on Saturday now and we can´t accept any wishes from now on anymore. This case is permanently closed, no more wishes are fulfilled from now on.". Either diego has his last day at work at microsoft on friday the 4th or then there is some really stupid ridiculous reason we can never understand.

بواسطة nikodr

Paladin (748)

صورة nikodr

03-02-2011, 15:16

I strongly believe our fears are over the top of what they should be.Microsoft has hackers and crackers that sell pirated windows 7 to hunt down instead of us .So it won't hunt me or you users of mrc for distributing a file called msx.rom or whatever that is 32kbytes.Even if it uses standars as msdos (frankly old version like 1.03 ?who would use that anyway?),yes we have to be lawful since this community site is serious.But i believe already a great part of the bios is dissasembled and what the routines do are manageble to be rewritten in cbios.

Dont flame me for the previous statement,i know a little bit of coding but i cant write the new cool cbios.To me the best thing to do is to convince the people responsible for microsoft that this is a very good thing to do and that there is practically no loss for them.
We could convince them that we want to be lawful and not distribute anything without permission.

However we must know those people will read it.I once sent an email to japan to an executive responsible of konami,asking them wether they had any information regarding konami msx titles in the 80ies,if they could give me Hideo Kojima's Email ( i wanted to interview him and ask him questions and ask information like the ones he posted recently on his twitter).However that emails were never answered.Not even in the auto reply like "thank you for your message you will be notified if there is a reply"

An another question in the law part.Who is actually the owner of the msx roms ?Ascii or microsoft?since more than 25 years have passed from the birth of msx1 are there any legal problems?I think copyright is ok after 25 years?

EDIT:Another argument is this.Think of sony yes the large titan of ps3 that now is at court against geohot and the hackers that breached ps3 security.I think that company has bigger problems to settle down than to hunt one msx user that may have a custom bios of a sony msx machine being offered freely.You got the point?

بواسطة hap

Paragon (2040)

صورة hap

03-02-2011, 16:58

True, Microsoft and (ex)ASCII don't care about a hobby scene sharing ooooold BIOS roms, the only time we (westerners) were 'unsafe' was during Bazix's existence, and even then it was only minimal. Anyway, asking copyright holders for permission to use/share their old programs is not about preventing legal issues. Smile

25 years? nope, at least 70.

بواسطة RetroTechie

Paragon (1563)

صورة RetroTechie

03-02-2011, 17:09

Doesn't the one thing (easy to copy and modify) implies the other (fully open-sourced), even if it doesn't mean to be put to an open source repository?
Nope. There's many varieties of "source available" but with varying degrees of "may distribute modifications", "must supply source with distributed binaries", "may build binaries that include other-licenced software", etc, etc. Hence the many licenses that exist... Sad
(..) and easy to modify means that there is lots of documentation available.
Source != documentation, and there exists much very, very crappy source. Wink

I'm not good at writing letters like these, sorry.
Ideally we'd need a lawyer, one that understands & knows how to talk to closed-source minded ppl. Maybe a lot simpler: why not invite 1 or 2 ppl @Microsoft into this discussion (directly on this forum) to share thoughts in an informal manner? Might make it a lot easier to understand why or why not MS might allow some things, or what would be necessary to obtain desired permissions.

بواسطة nikodr

Paladin (748)

صورة nikodr

03-02-2011, 18:03

They would come to this forum i think.No way under their official status which is what they are now,on their spare time we could even take them out on a strip club or drink beers and get wasted but still next morning they will remember it was their free time,and even in their free time they follow the rules.And in this forum if they ever see we have links to openmsx version for steve job's hardware they will be angry.After all steve and bill have a rather complicated relationship.

Now Hideo Kojima was the exception and had maps and tools that made his games back in 198x but in microsoft case i dont think bios code or source code exists.

Who could find it?

Imagine the scenario someone from the mrc giving that guy the letters and then that microsoft guy goes to the other microsoft guys with that letter.Even if they want to help how the hell is one supposed to find source code for something that was made 25 years ago?

بواسطة Tanni

Hero (556)

صورة Tanni

03-02-2011, 19:43


However we must know those people will read it.I once sent an email to japan to an executive responsible of konami,asking them wether they had any information regarding konami msx titles in the 80ies,if they could give me Hideo Kojima's Email ( i wanted to interview him and ask him questions and ask information like the ones he posted recently on his twitter).However that emails were never answered.Not even in the auto reply like "thank you for your message you will be notified if there is a reply"

You should have asked them to forward your mail to Hideo Kojima.

An another question in the law part.Who is actually the owner of the msx roms ?Ascii or microsoft?since more than 25 years have passed from the birth of msx1 are there any legal problems?I think copyright is ok after 25 years?
Isn't there any neutral institution where we can get that information?

بواسطة Tanni

Hero (556)

صورة Tanni

03-02-2011, 20:19


• 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.

Shouldn't it be:

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

Here's some reworking of the letter:

Why is this license/release needed?

There are several MSX emulators -- some of the most elaborated ones are blueMSX and openMSX -- running on Windows and other operating systems, allowing the expanding MSX community to experience and enjoy an MSX system without the need of physical MSX hardware, which is getting harder to obtain in working condition anyway. This allows a much wider audience to participate in the retro computing szene previously restricted to owners of physical hardware.

In order to also make the use of MSX emulators available to a wider community, it would be desirable for MSX BIOS and MSX BASIC to be distributed along with these emulatores, thus the catalyst for this request.

We do understand that there may be other parties (ASCII Corporation etc.) that will need to be jointly involved in this request if it is to come to pass. But we as a community are unsure about the current ownership of MSX BIOS and MSX BASIC, so, as a first step, we modestly ask for clarification on the status of each of that software titles.

بواسطة tcruise

Master (133)

صورة tcruise

04-02-2011, 06:17

@Tanni: Good rewording. Any more suggestions for some of the other sections of the letter - still not quite happy with the intro myself.

Sorry I have been offline for a few days (I suffer from AS and have bad days Sad).

I know we have missed @Muffie's specific deadline, but I think it is still a good idea to at least try and get some of our questions answered and there are other avenues for communicating with Microsoft. I run development for the largest bank in Australia and we have our own representatives that requests can be forwarded through.

The entries on Wikepedia are very 'word of mouth', but do give hints that there may still be an active copyright holder. But we really do need to find out who owns each part.

صفحة 4/10
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