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Hi you folks, reading the Anti-microsoft thread started by Thymox made me think about the subject, and i want to know what you think about this:
In the time when this Stallman guy started the FSF (Free Software Foundation) not only the software was absolutely propietary, but even the hardware was propietary: In short, you were not (legally) able to develop your own software an run it in these machines (mostly IBMs i suppose, back then were not even PC) and you, of course, were not allowed to distribute your software to your neighbour.
Now you have linux, which is free , and you can do heck with it. After that time a lot has changed then, or so you'll suppose.
But check what its happening now ( a cycle?)
The guys who are developing CrystalSpace, (which is a free 3D multi-platform engine mainly for designing games) want to port the CS engine to run on the PS2 console. Now; to understand what this means let me explain some things to those that doesn't know how the monkey dance in the console market: to develop on the PS2, you have to:
Buy the developer license, the SDK and the machine which runs it (a 128-bit MIPS cpu) which amounts over the 70000$US
So because the API of the PS2 is propietary, some guys on CS thought about purchasing somehow the license, develop a wrapper of the API and release the wrapper binary as a plugin (which they would have developed) and after that, more or less anyone with linux and crystalspace would be able to develop PS2 games!! Obviously Sony doesnt like this at all, so they say that they wouldn't be able to release any games for the PS2 AS IT IS, but only on a PS2 with linux(?) , so, putting apart the tech dificulties of get to work a PS2 linux distro, but given the RAM of a PS2 (32 megs) thats is nearly impossible to do
But getting back to the ethical principle of the FSF : No one can tell you what to run on your machine, so in this sense, how its different a PS2 from a PC? what if i want to use my PS2 to make my physics simulations? or opening my garage door? would come Sony with his lawyers to tell me i cannot?
So, what are you saying? That although there's this nice PS2 Linux DVD doing the rounds, you actually can't do anything with it that Sony don't explicitly allow? I can't see how they ever would have managed to get that one past us (the Linux using 'public'). Please correct me if I'm wrong...or better still, post any links to relevant docs so that I too can read up on the subject.
In reality, Sony would not be able to actually stop someone from using their hardware to do something other than what Sony allows.
The reason for this is simple; you are not violating copyright or trademark laws, and in court, many examples of how proprietory hardware from a company can be used for another purpose without making those violations could be easily brought up.
In all honesty, even software can be legally decompiled and examined for your own personal use, despite what the agreement says. If you distrubute it, sell it, or otherwise leaves your hands, then they can say something. But not until that point.
When it comes down to it, most companies that are huge with fancy lawyers find it easier to instill the fear of legal problems to avoid trademrks / copyright / proprietary infringement. Very few people would go up against them.
Even with audio CD's and DVD. The US laws allow someone to make a backup copy for their own purpose, and to prevent that is a violation of this law. If someone really wanted to, they can fight the companies simply based on this ground.. and those companies would lose. They would have to overturn a federal law which many people agree with. Good luck with that!
Can a company actually prevent your use of "their'" system once its in your possession anyway? The hardware itself does actually belong to you once you have bought it (in this instance at least) whether I want to play official PS games or use it as a door stop (its very good at that at least) is surely up to me?
Come to think of it, is there actually anything Sony could do should you decide to write a spreadsheet for the PS2 or something, other than prevent you releasing the software as a PS2 title (ie you wouldnt be able to use their splash screens, logos and so on)?
Presumably Crystalspace have a problem on two fronts. 1) They cant re-develop and release commerically any part of the Counter-Strike code anyway as it doesnt belong to them (unless valve say they can of course). 2) Unless they develop applications to Sony's Spefications it cant be released as an official PS2 title.
Would it be moving off topic totally to opine that they are wasting their time, CS will suck on a console as all FPS do and have done to date anyway?