Sega Dreamcast, Saturn And Mega Drive Hardware Coming From Retro-Bit in 2018

Discussion in 'Everything else' started by Ian J, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. Autechre

    Autechre Member

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    This is appreciated, thanks. I still believe we should do a rolling release/nightly setup for Pandora though. I don't have a Pyra but I think it should be backward compatible so it might work out? Maybe we can have some contributors to Pyra to help us out I guess in case the Pandora port needs some adjustments in order to take advantage of the better hardware.

    Maybe some of you should set up shop on Discord at some point, we are a quite friendly crew there.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 16, 2018, Original Post Date: Jan 16, 2018 ---
    EvilDragon - I have sent you some PMs.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 16, 2018 ---
    To be perfectly clear, I never talked to them, but a volunteer member of Libretro did, and yes, he informed said person in question there would be no way that whatever 'package' they would be buying from some contractor (the sources to which of course they were not willing to share with him, of course) would be coming up with some clean-room/from-scratch emulator. He informed them of that more than a year ago.
     
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  2. JDTAY

    JDTAY Half Pepperoni, All Cheese

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    Whoa, so they got scammed into scamming you? Talk about dog eat dog. At least they were warned though, they should have heeded or asked around a bit more.
     
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  3. Autechre

    Autechre Member

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    A western contractor from Hong Kong has been sublicensing out code he does not own to all these companies, and it contains noncommercial software like Snes9x. So yes, it is more or less like you describe.
     
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  4. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    Aaah, crap! That's pretty annoying then and explains why some of these companies might not even have a clue... They probaby believed their subcontractor...

    That's something we somehow should try to fix.

    Sent from my XT1650-03 using Tapatalk
     
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  5. Autechre

    Autechre Member

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    that won't fly for Hyperkin anymore though, they have known about this situation now since 2014 - witness this -

    https://www.retro5.net/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=57&start=10

    This is one of their employees (Retron Tech). On their own forums, people have pointed out the issue with the non-commercial emulator cores, and they failed to respond since 2014.

    But they did respond about the kernel and release sources, only after they mentioned it was missing in the same thread. What this means is that they read about the non-commercial part ever since 2014, and did NOTHING. It is now 2018.

    They have a section on their website that states this -

    http://retron5.in/node/9

    'Should you be one of the developers or a direct legal representative of one of the copyright holders of any of the aforementioned projects and feel that the software is being used in violation of its license then please get in touch with us via email to discuss the matter further.'

    We have also ran multiple stories on this stressing that Snes9x 2010/Next is non-commercial, dating as far back as 2014. Every 6 months I post a new story again. To this day, I am still e-mailing them telling them that they should pull the current product from sale and work with me to get this removed and work on an acceptable solution. At that point it becomes willful negligence because you don't want to give up the sales it's making.
     
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  6. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    I wonder how much said asshole had been making off of these companies' ignorance, and what happens after attention has been brought to the situation.

    I can kinda understand a company not initially carrying that they are doing something wrong (ignoring the situation and hoping no one notices, or that they will have the funds to deal with the fallout later), and that is what I usually assume is going on. That there is someone out there pulling the wool over the eyes of these companies, screwing everyone, and leaving the companies to deal with that is actually pretty messed up. Why isn't this more widely discussed, and why are these companies still giving business to this contractor?
     
  7. Autechre

    Autechre Member

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    Like I point out in the post directly above yours, in Hyperkin's case they can't pretend anymore they don't know about this issue. It has been pointed out to their own employees on their own forum since at least 2014. I have pointed it out several times, I have e-mailed them several times, hell, I e-mailed them again 4 days ago. They obviously don't want to give up their main money maker and since bsnes/higan is never going to run at fullspeed on a cheap Rockchip, they obviously insist that they have to keep selling this product. That is the point of no return where you can no longer claim this is just a contractor getting you into trouble and that you had no idea, but now they are perpetuating the problem for pure profit making motives.
     
  8. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    Another aspect of this that often gets overlooked is the end customers. I know of a few stores locally that sell Hyperkin products. I have mentioned some of these issues to employees (as well as asking about them selling Pandoras, and eventually Pyras when they are released) and they have no control over that. One company recently closed their local store (sucks, because there aren't many local places to buy games as old as those I want). The other is a sub-brand of largish chain, so there isn't a way for the employees to pass this info along to the big wigs, and my guess is those people wouldn't care as long as they are making money. I am sure most of the retrogamer customers don't know about the situation, and while many wouldn't understand and might not care, there are others that would care if they knew, and would probably prefer to pay a bit more for a fully legal option that supports those that allow them to play the games they love. I feel like I am not making myself clear. That is also how I feel when I bring it up when I visit that store (it is a used book store).

    Do GameStop and such sell Hyperkin products? Maybe they will listen to their customers more. Or maybe not, they already try to rip them off when it comes to what they give when buying used games, and what they charge when reselling them.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 16, 2018, Original Post Date: Jan 16, 2018 ---
    Yeah, I am just trying to catch up again.

    Still, there might be other small companies trying to do it right that end up contacting this contractor. This also needs to be something everyone is made aware of (although events of the last several years should make it more obvious to everyone, or at least English speakers).
     
  9. comradekingu

    comradekingu Glowing ember

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    Heia, squarepusher :) You are in full agreement, and I get where you are coming from. I actually said it before you did, on IRC.

    Companies taking advantage of the license, without giving back, actually means they are not contributing to their own ecosystem.
    Effectively free admission to the competition, where they have free entry, and none of the brakes pulled.

    One such measure is bringing to court companies that add insult to injury by infringing non-commercial clauses. "Debugging" means nothing when the license says distribution btw.
    I don't know what NC licenses are in use, but the GPLv3 deals in distribution.

    Short of controlling the license, you need a company to have control.
    We know how ED runs things, because he does this sort of thing. From past infotainments, we know he doesn't like selling stuff that infringes on the GPL, so he doesn't cut those deals when it is brought to his attention.
    What he also doesn't like is running a repair-shop as a charity. As a customer, I want angry devs no more than i want ED to get taken advantage of. Many companies cut corners by opening sales elsewhere, skimping on quality control, component consistency and engineering quality. A lot of companies don't treat their re-sellers any better than the software guys.
    I am not one, nor do I do anything that I could hope to get paid for, but I do my fair share of volunteering to help out open hardware / free software initiatives, and it doesn't often involve offers of payment. ED was talking about contracting me for editing the wiki on here. The wiki. If I don't have to tell you how rare that is, you don't have to tell me.

    Dealing with the facade of companies that do what they want is something nobody wants, nonetheless it is what we customers are faced with.
    We know something about it, because other than sharing all his own stuff, ED is effectively also the customer support and insider insight for the stuff he sells. He doesn't hide things. As a side hobby he brings his reputation and experience into the ring by commenting on crowdfunding projects that only exist and look good in CAD. Who else does that?
    The openpandora is the greatest example of openness in a community initiative to date, and it isn't a get rich quick scheme, nor is the Pyra. We wouldn't have it now without him, and the Pyra would stop being a thing if he didn't put in absurd amounts of work for it to happen. He isn't perfect, but humble in failing. By now you must have gotten some idea of what he is about. It can't get more ED than a free unit on trust and no questions asked when it doesn't pan out.

    The picture I am trying to paint here is one of entertaining the idea of ED getting to produce the hardware, and being able to ship the software along with it. In my head he would let you sell hardware yourself, beyond that there is really nothing that doesn't involve starting a hardware business yourself.

    There is no need to ask if you get the splashscreen, that is granted. Look no further to find the people that think that sort of thing is cool, it is what this community consists of. People that look inside the box and think outside it.
    I tried to add some value by making a logo for it, and it didn't pan out. Were it to have worked, I would have refused payment, because I want to see it happen. Never would I have done the same for any "similar" offering. I can't mentally construct a better initiative, or the energy and skills to be one, nor have I actually ever seen one. What I have seen is a great many well-meaning initiatives that strand on experience of producing hardware. It is hard, and cutting your teeth on the regular crowdfunding crowd lowers chances below "likely" right out the gate, nevermind any take in it. You can't hope for a better chance to get a share of the profits.
     
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  10. Autechre

    Autechre Member

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    Hi there @comradekingu, nice to see that this forum is quite different from the usual forums where you often get a derisive and hysterical crowd to jump at you. I quite appreciate the quality of the posts I have seen so far, so hopefully I can keep it up.

    I do indeed agree, that as individuals, we are powerless without a company, and I agree with all the points you raised with regards to these companies - they are basically using us as a springboard to make themselves more rich and prosperous while doling out bread crumbs or promising you things that fail to materialize. Or they just use guys like the libretro contributor I was talking about as free 'advice'to get themselves oriented, and then they just call up their contractor buddy anyway, basically negating everything said libretro contributor had warned them about not doing. Hence 1/2 years of his life wasted, and this is where we are at now. Even when 'consulted', these guys go 'ok, time to call my contractor buddy', whose software bundle in turn violates all the noncommercial licenses yet again, hence making the entire talk and 'guidance' a waste of time, for which he wasn't compensated for either.

    I also think a hardware project with EvilDragon like that aforementioned Raspberry Pi casing with some retrodes or whatever could be a fruitful venture and I think it makes sense considering we are starting from scratch - he has the store already, he can source the hardware, apparently he had something waiting in the wings already, so it would be a good initial start for the LLC to getting started, and it could be the beginning to a long-lasting relationship.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  11. benoitb

    benoitb Very Active Member

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    Such a nice surprise to wake up and while taking my breakfast see that this discussion has taken place.

    I just wanted to write a message of appreciation to squarepusher as I'm using RetroArch on the Vita and recently got a working netplay session on PC with a friend who's far away from me at the moment. The benefits of RetroArch over the actual emulator cores are real and the improvements are really starting to show now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  12. JDTAY

    JDTAY Half Pepperoni, All Cheese

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    Aw man, he changed his username. Guess he didn't want to be called Mr. Pusher.

    ...Mr. Autechre just doesn't have the same ring to it. >_>
     
  13. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    Off topic from the current discussion (which really deserves a dedicated thread), but I think I can guess the type of music @Autechre/Squarepusher enjoys.
     
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  14. ClockworkCoder

    ClockworkCoder Chaotic Neutral

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    It's a good band though.

    This is a good conversation. Licences are confusing at the best of times, and especially with emulators I think there's also so much confusion and misinformation, and (too) often an attitude of "who cares?"
     
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  15. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, one of the biggest problems still remains: Emulators like SNES9x have a non-commercial license.
    Basically, not even the original devs are allowed to sell it.
    So even the Libretro-Team cannot sell a wrapped-up standalone device with everything preinstalled.
    The only two workarounds I can think of is the one I suggested for the RetroPi: You get only the hardware and have to download the software yourself. Even the Libretro team can offer such hardware without preinstalled software (even though LakkaOS can have full plug and play support for it included).

    The second one would be to preinstall the software ONLY with cores that are free for commercial use as well and let the user automatically install the rest after showing a license screen and letting him confirm that license (similar to what Ubuntu did earlier with the restricted drivers).

    That would be a workaround for companies, too.

    Another way COULD be including a presetup SD-Card which comes bundled with the device in an envelope. The user gets informed on that envelope about the license and by opening it, he agrees to it. That's technically legal as well.

    That's how the Time Machine has done it. They also didn't hide what emulators they use as all the credit and license information is still intact in the menus.

    The big question is: Where to draw the line.
    Where does commercial usage begin?

    If I sell SD-Cards and offer to preinstall a free-to-download existing software onto it without charging more than for the SD Card alone and with notifying the customer about thr licensr, is that seen as commercial use of the software or not?

    Some would say yes, others would.say no.
    Technically it's probably okay, as you don't sell the software but only offer to preinstall it for free... But is it really?

    Definitely no easy task.

    Sent from my XT1650-03 using Tapatalk
     
  16. benoitb

    benoitb Very Active Member

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    There is already a core downloader/updater in the main XMB interface of Retroarch that works really well. So it would only be a matter of adding that licence screen. And it would be easy to get the cores even if you ship Retroarch without any core included.
     
  17. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, I know, I'm using RetroArch on my PC at home :)
    Only question would be if everyone would be happy with such a solution - or whether that would still be considered by some as commercial usage.

    The problem is: As soon as the RetroArch-Team sells hardware and somehow bundles the software with it (doing it in such a legal way), then every other manufacturer could do that as well.
    They probably could even include the core already and show a non-commercial license when the user boots up the system for the first time - and then either delete the cores or enable them, based on whether the user accepts that license or not.

    That's something a lawyer would have to check, but I can imagine that this would still be legal... and I'm sure devs wouldn't be happy with that.
    Everything is better though than to simply include it without giving ANY credits or license information!
     
  18. pmprog

    pmprog Advanced Member

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    IANAL, but I'm not sure how you could consider that commercial usage. You're not providing the core, only RetroArch (which is permissible).
    Because, if you go down that rabbit hole, say you provided a script to download and install RetroArch and the cores, would that be commercial?
    If so, what if you just provided a URL for somebody to go download it?

    If the user has to download the core (whether manually or within RetroArch), that (to me at least) is a post-sale process, but like I said, I'm not a lawyer
     
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  19. lukey

    lukey Rare Species

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    No, AFAIK the Original Devs (and all Contributors) still have their Copyright to their Parts and thus they are able (if every Contributor agrees) to distribute it under an different License. Like MySQL, which Oracle also sells under an non-free commercial License. See also https://opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/33/how-can-a-project-be-relicensed
     
  20. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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