Free BIOS vs. Revival

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By snout

Ascended (15187)

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01-03-2003, 21:17

I did some research on the anticipation of the MSX Revival in Japan. Most users are glad something is happening with MSX again, but there also is a group who like ASCII to follow the example of Sharp.

Sharp created the popular X68000 computer system and decided to declare the BIOS and its OS free. The remaining community is allowed to do anything with it they like and emulators can be disctributed including the ROMS, legally.

In the case of MSX, I think this is a lot more difficult, since Microsoft owns part of the BIOS copyrights. I don't see them dropping any copyrights in the near future. But more important: dropping copyrights is also a sign of totally abandoning a computer system.

I'd like to know how you - MRC forum visitors - think about these thoughts Wink

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By FiXato

Scribe (1520)

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02-03-2003, 02:30

so what you mean to say that M$ still considers MSX an open project for which they might start producing again when it becomes profitable.
they do not want to drop the copyrights because they think they still can make money with it (again) ?

By snout

Ascended (15187)

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02-03-2003, 09:30

They are already making money with the MSX (BASIC) again in Japan. For every MSXPLAYer sold a small ammount of money goes to Microsoft.

But more important... if Microsoft says 'hey, that copyright is old, lets drop it!', It will get very hard for them not to drop other copyrights as well. Other groups of people would like other copyrights to be dropped and sources to be released (DOS 5, Windows 1.0 Tongue) and they'll have a hard time explaining why they can drop one copyright, but not the other.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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02-03-2003, 14:22

Dropping copyrights is a bad idea. But, open-source BIOS and OS is a good idea I think. The BIOS can be reverse engineered to bypass Micro$oft's claim to it (IBM vs Compaq precedent) and then its source code could be released.

However, some kind of copyright/license should exist, so commercial companies can't legally produce MSX clones without an agreement with MSX Association. This will ensure quality control and avoid the immens amount of different hardware configurations that exists in PC's today.

For MSX programmers, having access to clearly documented BIOS and MSX-DOS2 source code is very very helpful. A lot of time is currently wasted by disassembling code and trying to understand it.

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5515)

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02-03-2003, 14:50

There could be criteria to determine if the copyrights on software would be dropped.

An example : a software becomes obsolete. It doesn't seem be the case of the MSX-BASIC, if we see the success in Japan of the MSX revival and his educational extension.

But another example comes into my mind : why Aktu Publications B.V. ("MCCM") doesn't drop the copyrights on an obsolete emulator like MSX4PC ? No more updates since 1996 and there are some many free emulators that are better than MSX4PC. I don't guess the interest of MCCM to maintain these copyrights.

By FiXato

Scribe (1520)

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02-03-2003, 15:03

bit offtopic, but speaking of MCCM, does anyone know if there are plans on continuing MCCW the webzine?

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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02-03-2003, 15:06

No more updates since 1996 and there are some many free emulators that are better than MSX4PC. I don't guess the interest of MCCM to maintain these copyrights.

Why do you want the copyrights lifted? It's obsolete and not as good as free emulators anyway! There is probably few things to be learned from seeing it's sourcecode and it's also useless to keep it on your HD because it's not up to current standards.

Really, if you want these copyrights lifted, contact MCCM (and/or the author of MSX4PC), I'm sure they will think about your request.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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02-03-2003, 15:08

bit offtopic, but speaking of MCCM, does anyone know if there are plans on continuing MCCW the webzine?

Talk to Manuel Bilderbeek (Quibus) about that. As far as I know he has had a half-finished issue somewhere for years already.

By snout

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04-03-2003, 23:24

back to the subject. Open-sourcing the BIOS might be an interesting to do indeed. I wonder how the Japanese (and Microsoft) think about this.

By Grauw

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05-03-2003, 20:23

A no-cost custom MSX BIOS would be a huge impulse indeed. The Microsoft license is the only thing that is keeping them from releasing the MSX-Player for free and outside of Japan. Anyone creating a new MSX BIOS and giving(/selling) it to ASCII would do a serious contribution to the MSX revival. Much better than complaining (aww under the belt, that one ;p).

And Guyver is right about the license. Actually it would be best if ASCII would have the rights for it, however on the other hand, other emulators then probably wouldn't be allowed to use it without some form of illegal software-protection, so perhaps the developer of that BIOS wouldn't want to do that. But ahwell, the current ROMs used in emulators aren't legal anyways, the whole emulator thing is not legal, so who cares Smile. And I bet ASCII would offer a nice amount of cash for those rights ^_^.

~Grauw

By snout

Ascended (15187)

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27-03-2003, 15:50

Anyone creating a new MSX BIOS and giving(/selling) it to ASCII would do a serious contribution to the MSX revival.

hmmm... would that be Boukichi's purpose?

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