[OpenBIOS] New power-up graphics BIOS.

Nicholas Leippe nick at byu.edu
Mon Aug 20 09:23:19 CEST 2001

On Sunday 19 August 2001 22:55, you wrote:
> Leighton Haynes wrote:
> > Actually, while I will agree that reverse-engineering the AMI BIOS is
> > not a particularly useful exercise here, I disagree that it could result
> > in handcuffs (legally, at least ;)). Reverse engineering is perfectly
> > legal in most sane countrie (the USA, in no way represents a sane
> > country). Nevertheless, they can still doa  fair bit to make your life
> > miserable if they so choose, as evidenced in the deCSS case.
> deCSS was nothing like the reverse engineering issue at stake here... The
> deCSS case is being brought under the DMCA which forbids tools that the
> decrypting of copyright material - without the authority of copyright
> owners.  It is being swung by the Record companies to their favour (wrongly
> in my opinion) to block software that _could_ be used to duplicate
> DVD's....  It is nothing to do with the reverse engineering of the
> Algorithm use to encrypt the DVD's as the Algorithm was not reverse
> engineered to create deCSS... that however is another story and WAY off
> topic... ;-)

<lurker butting in>
It's actually worse than that.  The RIAA is not in the least concerned about
people copying their DVDs.  DeCSS in fact has nothing to do with the ability
to merely copy DVDs.  That is just a facade.  What's really eating them is
that the existence of non-licensed players (which need DeCSS) breaks their
monopoly on the DVD player market.
</lurker butting in>

As for reverse engineering--since when is it illegal to open the hood of a
car _you_ bought and figure out how it works?  Imo, it should be the same
with software.  If I buy a pc, why shouldn't I be able to decompile the
bios to see how it's bootstrapped?  I own the thing after all.  That should
be a legitimate learning experience.  And, once I've learned how it does so,
(and there may be exactly _one_ way to do certain parts of it) why should it
matter _how_ I happened to learn that if I go ahead and create my own
implementation for my own system?  Then, for those who have the same system
as I have, why can't I then share what I did so they can use it as well?
And, if it happens to apply to other systems as well, then so be it...

Unfortunately, the world has gone crazy and the above doesn't hold in court.
I hate patent law.  It's sole purpose is to make lawyers wealthier.


Nobody will ever need more than 640 kB RAM.
                 -- Bill Gates, 1983
Windows 98 requires 16 MB RAM.
                 -- Bill Gates, 1999
Nobody will ever need Windows 98.
                 -- logical conclusion
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