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Re: Visualboy Advance question.

Branden Robinson wrote:

On Thu, Jul 08, 2004 at 01:16:42PM -0400, Evan Prodromou wrote:

Branden Robinson wrote:

I know it may be a fine point, but I'd contrast that with an emulator
that is free and self-sufficient, but for which there is no DFSG-free
software to run.

A *lot* of old home computer emulators won't be self-sufficient without the
ROM, because the environments were so constrained that ROM-based service
routines were very heavily used.

That's interesting and true. But "a lot" is not "all". I think in the case under discussion, an OS system ROM isn't necessary to run the software. You just need particular game ROMs.

Do we expect the typical user of the emulator to already have game ROMs on
hand?  If so, by what means?

The typical user of such an emulator is developing software, and using the emulator to test it (in which case visualboy advance is no different to SPIM or WINE).

In my opinion, Debian contains sufficient tools to develop your own programs to run on any emulator that isn't encumbered by requiring a particular non-free file: hex editors, assemblers, compilers, and documentation. To say that a typical emulator user would not have game roms is like saying a typical user of gputils might have no PIC images (and therefore gputils should be in contrib).

For a real-world example, many Computer Science degrees offer courses in compiler design. Target platforms are things with simple processors: MIPS embedded systems, ZX spectrums, gameboys, etc. Rather than test the output from the compiler on the real thing, it is more convenient to use an emulator.

This ignores the whole 'legality of using emulators with ROM images of works which you have the license to use on the original platform' debate - if this is indeed legal (which Nintendo denies), the typical user could also be using images of their legitimately aquired games.

If you don't want to continue the charade that most people use emulators, mp3 players, video players, peer-to-peer filesharing, etc. for purposes which do not infringe copyright, then I suggest they probably got them from the same place they got their 'movie trailers' from.

Lewis Jardine

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