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Thread: Revenge On Reverse Engineering

  1. #11
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    >>We're already about to hit a threshold where the DRM and other stuff like it will get enough in the way of people doing things they've gotten used to doing that they'll quit buying the tech gear. What happens then?

    My guess ? DRM will survive, entertainment $$ will drop, movie stars will stop earning $20M per movie and the crazy Hollywood spending will become unsustainable, costs and wages will fall to the point where the finished product can be sold at a decent price, a lot more countries will come onstream with first-world economies, media prices will drop enough that people start buying again, and DRM will get relaxed and become more like the lock on your front door than a vault door.

    Not sure what will happen with professional sports, which is a remarkably similar business other than being able to rely on the appeal of live performances and so not having to worry about controlling what happens to recorded performances.

    Music already seems to be going that way.

  2. #12
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    I think that, in the end, media companies will figure out that no DRM will stop a really determined hacker, and realize that they are only alienating their good customers.

    They may not like it, but they may have to trust their customers. I know that the attitude in my generation (now entering college) is that there isn't really anything wrong with downloading copyrighted stuff from, for example, bittorent, but if the content is well made, you should pay to get it legit. In the entertainment industry (and I think this what the industry hasn't understood so far) people will pay for well made content, even if it is available for free from pirates. People want to support the people and the companies that make good content so that they can continue to do so.

    Look for example at webcomics. Megatokyo is available for free online. And yet, people buy the books, buy the merchandise, and the creator makes his living off the comic. I really do think that the rest of the entertainment industry could offer something similar. They could even bypass the pirates and offer partial content for free as a hook to get people to buy the whole thing. Imagine being able to watch half a movie online for free. Can you imagine how many people would spring immediately to buy the second half?

  3. #13

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    Revenge can also be used as a debugging tool for driver development, as well as
    for reverse engineering. Revenge was also started before AMD released any
    documentation, so it's not just a project to annoy AMD. ;-)

    Revenge could be used to reverse engineer the parts that AMD are not releasing
    for legal reasons; video decoding, etc. I won't be doing this, because I don't
    care about the graphics cards video decoding capabilities. I can play video just
    fine without hardware acceleration...

    I would caution anyone else about reverse engineering the video decoding
    capabilities; AMD are doing a very good thing by releasing documentation. I
    think we should respect their wishes here.

  4. #14
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    you're right.

    i just got curious what's the current opinion on revenge.

    still, the tool is out. somebody is bound to use it the way it was used till now (reverse engineering), when ati didnt' care about linux that much.

    i as basically thinking "what if the complete set of docs didn't cover some basic functionality that would seriously reduce their performance vs fglrx in 2d, 3d or video playback?" (as that's what the docs are about to cover).


    My guess ? DRM will survive, entertainment $$ will drop, movie stars will stop earning $20M per movie and the crazy Hollywood spending will become unsustainable, costs and wages will fall to the point where the finished product can be sold at a decent price, a lot more countries will come onstream with first-world economies, media prices will drop enough that people start buying again, and DRM will get relaxed and become more like the lock on your front door than a vault door.
    they won't go down without a fight.

    getting rid of drm is going to be like a weekend in hell.

    when the profits will start to drop they'll increase the prices. then they'll start accusing everybody around of piracy and hurting their interests. then they might make copyright law even more. then you'll start being accused by hollywood riches that they can't make money because of you.

    finally they'll accuse you of not being able to make a sequel to their movie (oh, that's actually a GOOD thing! ) because the previous one didn't sell.

    then it's going to be ugly. and maybe, just maybe, someone will realize that cutting costs by not paying all those redundant companies (copy protection company, distributor and the likes) will actually be more cost-effective than wasting money on fighting customers with drm.

    still, the hardware market is ridden with drm. we have it in our tv, dvd players, blu-ray, game consoles, hdmi connectors. it just won't go away that easily.

    I think that, in the end, media companies will figure out that no DRM will stop a really determined hacker, and realize that they are only alienating their good customers.
    they already do. every protection gets defeated sooner or later. discarding drm requires some courage, though. or some guarantee that this move will pay off. not many have tried yet, but some of them show pretty good profits in their drm-less adventure. (e.g. magnatune, amazon, apple, radiohead).

  5. #15
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    then they might make copyright law even more.
    look at what happened in france: people could be banned (permanently) from getting an internet connection if they're found downloading stuff.
    the problem is not drm, the real problem is: don't bother getting money into such things and just invest that money into producing better stuff and at lower prices. i'm personally convinced that if music/films would cost half of now at least 60-70% of people who downloads them would instead buy them. i personally don't buy regular dvds but expect the movie to be passed on satellite tv or borrow them from blockbuster. the music around is not good anymore (thanks god that sometimes i can get old good metal or 70's - 80's music at low prices less than 15 euros).
    the same goes for software: i've switched to linux about 2 years ago since i didn't liked being always behind with the software and i'm now using only opensource or free licensed software. i've got my working copy of windows xp but i won't go back to it since i don't have good licensed programs and admin tools. i don't play games since there's nothing good around and it seems that new games are working better on linux than windows (enemy territory for example).
    on linux journal i've found a recent article about Intelectual Property that is quite interesting ( http://www.linuxjournal.com/node/1005736 ) and the redirection on some interesting free books about the argument.
    closing this, i was wondering if i could use revenge to help radeon devs with the xpress 200m. for the moment i can use this board in a good way only with fglrx since i get some rendering and performance issues with the oss driver. i'm asking this since last time i've tried it i wasn't able to run it. or maybe it's just me that don't know how to use it.
    Last edited by givemesugarr; 11-29-2007 at 03:22 PM.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by givemesugarr View Post
    the xpress 200m
    That chip is notorious under Linux... Your best bet is probably waiting for AMD to release the documentation covering that IGP.

  7. #17
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    You might also want to post to the xorg-ati mailing list to see what the latest status is. Dave Airlie made a lot of progress on implementing vertex shaders in software a few months ago -- not sure if anyone has had time to push ahead since then. Alex Deucher (one of the maintainers of the oss driver for the 200M) is starting at AMD next week so that should make digging up the info a lot easier.

  8. #18
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    Alex Deucher (one of the maintainers of the oss driver for the 200M) is starting at AMD next week so that should make digging up the info a lot easier.
    i've read about it some days ago about it on phoronix or on deucher's blog (i don't really recall where) and i was quite pleased about the news.

    Dave Airlie made a lot of progress on implementing vertex shaders in software a few months ago -- not sure if anyone has had time to push ahead since then
    i've tried the radeon when the famous 8.42 got released and tried to compare the two drivers but i've found out it to be a lot slower than fglrx and it had some problems with my board. it doesn't have the dedicated ram as some x200 based boards that i've seen around. when i got the pc (about 2 years ago) it wasn't usable in linux (i couldn't use it even with the vesa mode) and in windows it had a lot of problems (crashes and similar). only after 3-4 months it became stable and usable in windows xp and i could then install linux. fortunately after some months of windows enduring i've found out better and working drivers. but still the video is slow and has some performance issues. opengl is still very slow and i curently cannot really use it on linux, aiglx is still not a speedy gonzales and compiz is totaly unusable (less than 100 fps and 100% of processor speed to make the alt+tab switch in about 10 seconds). the oss drivers are still about 1/2 of fglrx in terms of speed and for that reason they're still no option. fglrx now is everyday usable and i can run old fellow beryl on it without speed decrease.
    in my opinion ati has done in one year what it should have done in more than 5 years and the release of specs would further convince me on going with an amd-ati and for that i'd really want to thank amd/ati for improving its linux drivers and for the good job they've done in the last months since i've understood that the work is done by a few hand of devs that also have to mantain the windows drivers.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    That chip is notorious under Linux... Your best bet is probably waiting for AMD to release the documentation covering that IGP.
    Notorious?? Don't you mean "evil"?

    I've got 128M of dedicated RAM with my version of the chip and I can't use it (The old driver only reliably uses the UMA configuration...I'm...hesitant...to try the new one, for obvious reasons... )- which was the reasoning behind buying it when I bought the laptop a couple of years back.

  10. #20
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    here i am again asking for some clarification about revenge:
    is there some documentation on how to use it?
    i've tried looking around the web for some hours but haven't yet found a list of options or something that could help me start it and when i start revenge it says that the option that i want is not recognized.
    i think that if someone doesn't start to write some help on the matter it won't be so useful in the end.

    now, i really think that in the end amd should release proprietary modules for some features like video decoding that could be loaded by the drivers like radeon or fglrx itself. i think that doing that would prevent the people from reverse engineering (losing time figuring out stuff) protected stuff and would put amd at safe from legal issues with the proprietary stuff. also it could help out the fixing of some features that aren't planned to be outsourced. this could also speed-up the process of the developing of new oss drivers.
    for example they would load the unimplemented modules among the fglrx ones and use them until the documentation and the developing process would be mature enough to support new features.
    in my opinion this would be the best choice and would integrate the driver in a more profound way since fglrx would mainly focus on implementing proprietary stuff and on the speed of these modules while the oss community would implement and mantain the outsourced hw capabilites and would port them to new releases faster than we had them ported with fglrx.
    also, defining a communication layer for proprietary modules, for example based on opengl, thus independent from operating system, could push other devs to start creating own oss or closed drivers based on the specs and which would benefit of all the features via these modules.
    try thinking about it in this simplified term:
    at amd would develop an opengl module that controls hw video decoding. a linux developer which has this module would load it and use it via the common layer without having to worry about how the stuff works. all that it needs to know is what it has to pass to the layer and the layer would pass the right arguments to the video decoding module which would do the decoding and pass the results to the driver via the same intermediate layer. of course, the oss developer could just have the video decoded via software means without problems if he would have wanted that. the same would happen with a solaris dev: he would have these modules ready to use and he would just have to load them while he would have written the code for the documented features, if we would have felt the need for it.
    also oss modules could be used by other oss drivers via the same layer (think of solaris drivers using linux oss modules).

    now i'd like to ask bridgman if this could be a good idea and if it could be applied in the future for amd drivers.

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