jm + bunnie-huang   5

From Gongkai to Open Source
This is an amazing post from Bunnie Huang, reverse engineering the Mediatek MT6260 to make "Fernvale", an open, hackable reference platform. Also worth noting for the "facts are not copyrightable" section regarding the legality of extracting memory locations and bitmasks from a copyrighted include file...

'We released Fernvale because we think it’s imperative to exercise our fair use rights to reverse engineer and create interoperable, open source solutions. Rights tend to atrophy and get squeezed out by competing interests if they are not vigorously exercised; for decades engineers have sat on the sidelines and seen ever more expansive patent and copyright laws shrink their latitude to learn freely and to innovate. I am saddened that the formative tinkering I did as a child is no longer a legal option for the next generation of engineers. The rise of the Shanzhai and their amazing capabilities is a wake-up call. I see it as evidence that a permissive IP environment spurs innovation, especially at the grass-roots level. If more engineers become aware of their fair use rights, and exercise them vigorously and deliberately, perhaps this can catalyze a larger and much-needed reform of the patent and copyright system.'

Freedom to tinker!
opensource  china  gongkai  tinkering  reverse-engineering  bunnie-huang  open-source  mediatek  copyright  facts  fair-use  shanzhai  patents 
december 2014 by jm
The $12 Gongkai Phone
Welcome to the Galapagos of Chinese “open” source. I call it “gongkai” (公开). Gongkai is the transliteration of “open” as applied to “open source”. I feel it deserves a term of its own, as the phenomenon has grown beyond the so-called “shanzhai” (山寨) and is becoming a self-sustaining innovation ecosystem of its own.

Just as the Galapagos Islands is a unique biological ecosystem evolved in the absence of continental species, gongkai is a unique innovation ecosystem evolved with little western influence, thanks to political, language, and cultural isolation.

Of course, just as the Galapagos was seeded by hardy species that found their way to the islands, gongkai was also seeded by hardy ideas that came from the west. These ideas fell on the fertile minds of the Pearl River delta, took root, and are evolving. Significantly, gongkai isn’t a totally lawless free-for-all. It’s a network of ideas, spread peer-to-peer, with certain rules to enforce sharing and to prevent leeching. It’s very different from Western IP concepts, but I’m trying to have an open mind about it.
gongkai  bunnie-huang  china  phone  mobile  hardware  devices  open-source 
may 2013 by jm
Bunnie Huang's "Hacking the Xbox" now available as a free PDF
'No Starch Press and I have decided to release this free ebook version of Hacking the Xbox in honor of Aaron Swartz. As you read this book, I hope that you’ll be reminded of how important freedom is to the hacking community and that you’ll be inclined to support the causes that Aaron believed in.

I agreed to release this book for free in part because Aaron’s treatment by MIT is not unfamiliar to me. In this book, you will find the story of when I was an MIT graduate student, extracting security keys from the original Microsoft Xbox. You’ll also read about the crushing disappointment of receiving a letter from MIT legal repudiating any association with my work, effectively leaving me on my own to face Microsoft.

The difference was that the faculty of my lab, the AI laboratory, were outraged by this treatment. They openly defied MIT legal and vowed to publish my work as an official “AI Lab Memo,” thereby granting me greater negotiating leverage with Microsoft. Microsoft, mindful of the potential backlash from the court of public opinion over suing a legitimate academic researcher, came to a civil understanding with me over the issue.'

This is a classic text on hardware reverse-engineering and the freedom to tinker -- strongly recommended.
hacking  bunnie-huang  xbox  free  hardware  drm  freedom-to-tinker  books  reading  mit  microsoft  history 
march 2013 by jm
Bunnie Huang is building a once-off custom laptop design
As one commenter says, "it's like watching a Jedi construct his own light-saber.” Quad-core ARM chips, on-board FPGA (!), and lots of other amazing hacker-friendly features; sounds like a one-of-a-kind device
laptop  hardware  bunnie-huang  arm  fpga  hackers 
december 2012 by jm
Bunnie Huang on the simulated 6502
'It makes my head spin to think that the CPU from the first real computer I used, the Apple II, is now simulateable at the mask level as a browser plug-in. Nothing to install, and it’s Open-licensed. How far we have come…a little more than a decade ago, completing a project like this would have resulted in a couple PhDs being awarded, or regarded as trade secret by some big EDA vendor. This is just unreal…but very cool!'
simulation  bunnie-huang  6502  cpu  chips  emulation  hardware  from delicious
september 2010 by jm

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