HyperKin Retron5 steals code from Emulator Developers.

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by CheatFreak47, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. CheatFreak47
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    CheatFreak47 Complex Donut

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    Apparently the Retron5 uses a bunch of GPL/Nonspecific Licensed code for it's emulation violating the license(s) and rights of developers of several open sourced emulators. Usually with this kind of thing, you'd ask the developer for permission or for an exception to the license to be made, but here, hyperkin seems to have completely disregarded the licenses.

    To be honest, I seen this coming, but I never had any way to prove my suspicions. I always sincerely doubted they wrote their own emulators for their weird console emulator machine.

    Some of the emulators used are GenPlus GX, Snes9x Next, FCEUmm, and VBA Next.

    Personally I think that's quite disgusting for a company to do.
    Then again, what can you expect really from the makers of the PS3 Game Genie?

    Anyone planning on getting a Retron5 out there, think again about supporting a company who flat out stole code from emulator developers and had no plans to tell anyone about it until someone ripped apart their firmware.

    Thoughts, Tempers?
    mine below
     


  2. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

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    It's not the first time this happens, and it probably won't be the last. Honestly I am just happy they actually used good emulators as the basis, as the alternative would be to code their own (inferior) emulators, but wouldn't buy such a device anyway, since it just does what every other device I already have does.
     
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  3. Celice

    Celice GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    This reminds me a bit of those Nintendo published GBA games that took code from an NES emulator without asking the author, and used and sold it without crediting the author.
     
  4. cracker

    cracker Nyah!

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    IMO it's not as bad as Jaleco using PocketNES' code for an official game bundle. After all, they aren't making "legit" hardware any more than those cheap HK NES clones with 1,000,000in1 games included.
     
  5. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ I drool on my knife

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    Between insane and insecure
    What sucks is honestly, even though they've stolen the code, there's nothing anyone can do. Retron5 is a greyzone product, even if they sued the case won't go anywhere.
     
  6. GHANMI

    GHANMI GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I'd love to hear more about it.
    Also, some people found out the Wii version of the SNES Virtual Console emulator was taken from an old Mac SNES emulator (that's also missing emulation for special chips)
     
  7. CheatFreak47
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    CheatFreak47 Complex Donut

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    Ya know, that actually makes sense because older macs use PowerPC, much like the Nintendo Wii. Any information on if the developer of that emulator gave nintendo permission to use his emulator?
     
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  8. Celice

    Celice GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Sure. There's a third post where someone shows explicitly that it's the same emulator, but I can't find it now. Wish reddit had a search comment feature, it'd be way faster as I already wrote about this in the past :(

    http://www.pocketheaven.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=965
    http://waxy.org/2004/07/jaleco_borrows/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PocketNES

    There was also a thread detailing the patent thing, and a good discussion about how it wasn't just the same idea, but the exact same method. I think a few in the scene really flared up over that.

    This isn't the only time emulators have been taken and used in commercial, for-profit games. I believe one of the DS contra games include one too, but were kind enough to credit the original author in the game credits :)
     
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  9. Ericthegreat

    Ericthegreat Not New Member

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    I like emulators, but I must say most emulators are made with piracy in mind, so whatever.
     
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  10. cracker

    cracker Nyah!

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    It'll be great to pair this with a SD2SNES when the SuperFX emulation is complete. Dual emulation baby! :lol:
     
  11. Minox

    Minox Spytech Employee

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    Since the emulator in question was public domain they legally didn't need to do any of that.
     
  12. Celice

    Celice GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Can you patent something in the public domain?
     
  13. cdoty

    cdoty GBAtemp Fan

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    There is no requirement to 'ask' to use GPL code, and no limitations against commercial use. The only limitation they could be violating is that they are required to release the source code.

    In fact that is the purpose of actually releasing code with a license. The author is clearly specifying when, where, and how the code may be used.

    The ones mentioned do seem to be an issue, not because of GPL, but because they specifically only allow non-commercial use.
     
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  14. Jayro

    Jayro MediCat DVD and Mini Windows 10 Developer

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    Publicly available source code can be freely modified and sold. I don't see what the big deal is if they used publicly available source code in the product they're selling. If the authors wanted a piece of that pie, they should have sold the code closed source.
     
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  15. Normmatt

    Normmatt Former AKAIO Programmer

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    It was released under strict licenses and they ignored them entirely... didn't contact any authors either.
     
  16. Minox

    Minox Spytech Employee

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    Where does it say that said companies patented anything that originated from the Pocketnes source code?

    Unless of course you're referring to Nintendo's patent which I agree would be questionable, but that's unrelated to the above mentioned companies' products.
     
  17. WiiCube_2013

    WiiCube_2013 GBAtemp Guru

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    I don't get why people even bother buying these Retron consoles because they're built in with emulators so you could just as well just do that on your PC without paying them a dime for it.
     
  18. CheatFreak47
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    CheatFreak47 Complex Donut

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    It takes advantage of the retro gamer. People who have shelves of games, and those kind of people want to play their physical media.
    So the Retron5 is a viable option because it provides emulation features in a unit that still plays their physical media.

    The idea, in and of itself isn't so bad, it's the fact that all the emulators were straight up copies of licensed open source emulators that's wrong.
    It hurt's hyperkin's reputation and all they had to do to prevent this in the future was contact the developers of these emulators and ask.
    When some piece of code is released under a license, then anyone seeking to use that code is legally obligated to either Adhere to all the terms of the license, or ask the developer for explicit permission for it to be used.

    Take Genesis Plus GX for example. EkeEke wrote that software and released it on google code with a license that explicitly states in the very first list of terms that his program is not to be used in a commercial product. This is completely disrespectful to the developers both emulators and homebrew alike. Additionally GPLv3 (what most of these emulators are released under) prevents the programs from being redistributed in such a way that inhibits it's use. (Aka, the prevention of TiVoIzation) The RetroN5 does exactly this by locking users out of running roms on the system, and it also disallows end users from modifying the emulators themselves, which the GPL is designed specifically to allow.

    It's even more scummy because it's like biting the hand that feeds you in a sense, the RetroN5 is absolutely dependent on this software to function and hyperkin did it wrong.
    What really blows is that this "clone console" got tons more publicity than it would have ordinarily because Hyperkin sent out review units to many youtubers, many of which praised the console, and more sales = more profit for the shady company.

    Emulators aren't the wrong party here, they're designed to replicate all functions of a certain hardware in software only. Nothing is copied from the source because the source itself is hardware. If software included on specific hardware must be used then emulators are expected to either replicate the calls of that software with new code or the emulator requires the end user input said software themselves. The fact that obtaining the software in a usable format may or may not be difficult (ie, legal backups vs mass distribution of roms) is not at the fault of the developers of emulators.

    Blaming the emulator for the piracy they can be used for is like blaming the gun when someone get's shot. It's missing the point entirely.

    TL:DR:
     
  19. dragonblood9999

    dragonblood9999 GBAtemp Maniac

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    i was thinking of getting one, but i heard it doesn't work with any everdrive and i really wanted the hdmi output
     
  20. Celice

    Celice GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    In the wikipedia entry, it shows that Nintendo patented the scaling method used by PocketNES, which was not their original property.