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I think the Atari OS ROMs are PD, here's why.

OSA OSB Atari BASIC PD

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#101 FifthPlayer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:48 AM

If that "unnecessary complexity" is too much for beginners to handle, then IMHO they don't have any business tinkering with vintage computers and should stick to playing Candy Crush on their iPhones.

 

Well, that's a real good attitude to bring new people into the A8 platform.



#102 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:02 PM

Well, that's a real good attitude to bring new people into the A8 platform.

One of the reasons that new people should be interested in getting into the A8 platform is to learn more about how computers work.  As Alan Alda said in the old commercials, "Look, with any computer, you have to learn a few new things," and that includes something as simple as dragging and dropping ROM files into the right folder in the emulator.  If they can't even be bothered to do that, I'm not sure how it will do any good to bring them into the platform.



#103 FifthPlayer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:05 PM

One of the reasons that new people should be interested in getting into the A8 platform is to learn more about how computers work.

 

 

If they want to get into the A8 platform just to play Star Raiders, that's good enough.



#104 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:29 PM

If they want to get into the A8 platform just to play Star Raiders, that's good enough.

Learning how to properly set up a modern emulator is far easier than learning how to play Star Raiders.



#105 FifthPlayer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:25 PM

Learning how to properly set up a modern emulator is far easier than learning how to play Star Raiders.

 

 

 

You missed the part about Star Raiders actually being fun.



#106 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:38 PM

I'm going to assert that distribution of the Atari System ROMS is legal and that Atari do not own any copyright on them. I'm looking for peer review of my research here.

 

As others have said, maybe the intent is a nice one - however poking the bear (that 'Atari' is these days) at the current time is not a good idea.

 

Your actions though well intentioned could have serious unintended ramifications for many reasons and the community at large.



#107 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:17 PM

I would also think that Atari wouldn't want to poke the bear that is AtariAge either, over something that has nothing really to do with their present and  future projects. Why generate bad feelings in people that I would think you would like to see buy and/or promote your new products. Just a thought  :ponder:



#108 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:40 PM

When bears fight it's always a bloody mess....



#109 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:58 PM

Thing is, have any of you actually tried Phaeron's Altirra BIOS and BASIC? He's done a kick ass job in providing a free software replacement that so far has run everything I've thrown at it.

 

-Thom

 

(and a wonderful splash to boot!)


Edited by tschak909, Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:59 PM.


#110 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:39 AM

You missed the part about Star Raiders actually being fun.

Is downloading gigabytes of updates fun? Is laboriously re-syncing wireless controllers fun? Is recovering from crashes and dealing with Internet connectivity issues fun? Modern console players somehow put up with these annoying inconveniences almost every single time they sit down to play (and as a classic game player, I don't know how they can stand it, but that's another subject), yet they're still willing to do it.

 

I don't believe that the comparatively simple, one-time, five-minute task of setting up an emulator is such an insuperable obstacle that it is preventing hordes of players, who would otherwise be loyal and enthusiastic A8 users, from being able to enjoy Star Raiders.  I see no need to make the Atari ROMs any more available than they already are.



#111 Kr0tki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:54 AM

I can double click the Vice icon and get a C64, I can double click the Fuse icon and get a ZX Spectrum, If I want to explore the Atari 8-bits I have to find some defunct emulator with the roms included or some dubious looking roms website, risking all sorts of malware, then put them in the correct location and update my settings just to get the thing to boot.

Bullshit. As pointed by tschak909, there are GPL reimplementations of both the OS and BASIC in Altirra, which are 99,9% compatible and can be legally bundled with emulators. The next release of Atari800, for instance, will include them as defaults.
 

What I would *like* to do is put the roms somewhere easier to find that isn't some shady (potentially malware ridden) site in a foreign language or full of illegal roms for other systems or buried 5 levels deep on some forgotten sourceforge page.

Hope you don't consider the website of the author of PC XFormer shady. The ROMs are bundled with "PC Xformer Classic 3.8", still available for download there.
 

I don't intend to bundle anything with an emulator (most of them do have specific clauses in their licences that say you can't, it's been that way since the early days of MAME)

Actually, the common GPL 2.0 does not disallow "aggregation" of non-free binary blobs with GPL sources in one package. That is how VICE bundles the ROMS, and for example, the Linux kernel sources come bundled with a few binary firmware blobs.
 

Hmm, I find it remarkable that a trivial chord progression like I-IV-V-v can be copyrighted at all. What's next? 12-bar blues? There must be at least 10K songs that use that progression.

Which reminds me of this.
 

Well, that's a real good attitude to bring new people into the A8 platform.

That attitude always amazes me. Why would we want to bring new people in the first place?

#112 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:07 AM

That attitude always amazes me. Why would we want to bring new people in the first place?

Looking back on computing in the Atari 800 era (late-1970s to mid-1980s), one of the things I appreciate about that period is that, even though there weren't nearly as many computer owners as there are today, a sizable percentage of them really loved their machines, because they understood them inside and out and actually knew what the hell they were doing with them.  I think one of the reasons was that the barriers to entry were significantly higher, and that you had to have the right combination of enthusiasm and curiosity about computers in order to put in the necessary mental effort to learn enough about them to overcome those barriers.  Continuing to use those same machines today is my way of revisiting that time, and one of the pleasures of doing so is interacting with the community of users who share a similar mindset and who still appreciate them in the same way and for the same reasons.

 

I have no problem in principle with the idea of seeing new people enter that fold ... IF they bring the same love and appreciation of computers that originally attracted many of us years ago.  The fact that these "new people" that the OP wants to attract so badly can't even configure an emulator, or don't care enough to learn, tells me that they don't share the same passion, wouldn't fit in with the community anyway, and probably wouldn't have much to contribute, so I agree ... I'm not sure why we should want to bring them in.



#113 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:02 PM

Looking back on computing in the Atari 800 era (late-1970s to mid-1980s), one of the things I appreciate about that period is that, even though there weren't nearly as many computer owners as there are today, a sizable percentage of them really loved their machines, because they understood them inside and out and actually knew what the hell they were doing with them.  I think one of the reasons was that the barriers to entry were significantly higher, and that you had to have the right combination of enthusiasm and curiosity about computers in order to put in the necessary mental effort to learn enough about them to overcome those barriers.  Continuing to use those same machines today is my way of revisiting that time, and one of the pleasures of doing so is interacting with the community of users who share a similar mindset and who still appreciate them in the same way and for the same reasons.

 

I have no problem in principle with the idea of seeing new people enter that fold ... IF they bring the same love and appreciation of computers that originally attracted many of us years ago.  The fact that these "new people" that the OP wants to attract so badly can't even configure an emulator, or don't care enough to learn, tells me that they don't share the same passion, wouldn't fit in with the community anyway, and probably wouldn't have much to contribute, so I agree ... I'm not sure why we should want to bring them in.

 

Wow so you decide who is worthy  :( .

 

An IF they don't fit the criteria you spelled out they aren't accepted?

 

I'm sure there was a time for everyone where they didn't know how to do squat on their Atari, but over time they learned enough to do what it was that they wanted. For some that was to play games, and for others it was about using apps, and yet for others it was about programming. And let's face it, not everyone was meant to, or needs to understand the inner workings to enjoy and benefit from these machines. I'm sure there are some things under the cover you don't understand as well, such as how many transistors are inside an Antic or GTIA chip, or how the circuits are configured to make these chips do what they do, or for that matter how a transistor is even made on a silicon substrate to create an IC. But that shouldn't bar you or anyone else from using the machine for entertainment. Not everyone wants to become a rocket scientist.

 

So I really hope were joking  :) .



#114 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:34 PM

I'm sure there was a time for everyone where they didn't know how to do squat on their Atari, but over time they learned enough to do what it was that they wanted. For some that was to play games, and for others it was about using apps, and yet for others it was about programming. And let's face it, not everyone was meant to, or needs to understand the inner workings to enjoy and benefit from these machines. I'm sure there are some things under the cover you don't understand as well, such as how many transistors are inside an Antic or GTIA chip, or how the circuits are configured to make these chips do what they do, or for that matter how a transistor is even made on a silicon substrate to create an IC. But that shouldn't bar you or anyone else from using the machine for entertainment. Not everyone wants to become a rocket scientist.

My point wasn't that we should start excluding people based on what they know or don't know.  The people in the classic computing hobby certainly have different areas of interest and different degrees of expertise.  What they all have in common, at least according to my observation, is that they're interested in classic computers because they enjoy them.  They enjoy them because they're fun to use, but also because they can be a fruitful avenue for learning new things about computer science, electronics, game design, graphics, and any number of other related subjects.  I've found that to be true in my own life: I learned about hardware design thanks to my experimentation with classic computers, and I'm in the process of acquiring one of your 1088XEL kits because I think building it would be an enjoyable experience in itself; I'm not looking for someone else to do all the work for me.  My point is that those who would demand that the Atari OS ROM should be given away, or bundled with the emulators because they can't be bothered to do it themselves, are not the people we should necessarily be looking to attract to the community (and the OP's stated purpose is to attract new people).  It's not an issue of what they know, but of how much they're willing (or not willing) to learn.



#115 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:28 PM

My point is that those who would demand that the Atari OS ROM should be given away, or bundled with the emulators because they can't be bothered to do it themselves, are not the people we should be looking to attract to the community.  It's not an issue of what they know, but of how much they're willing (or not willing) to learn.

 

You of course have the right to your own opinion, and I'm not trying to take that away from you. However I believe there are potentially people that come into this purely from a user point of view, be that gamers or otherwise. Nothing wrong with that.

 

I think the thing that disturbed me the most was your previous comment...

The fact that these "new people" that the OP wants to attract so badly can't even configure an emulator, or don't care enough to learn, tells me that they don't share the same passion, wouldn't fit in with the community anyway, and probably wouldn't have much to contribute, so I agree ... I'm not sure why we should want to bring them in.

 

Specifically you said they wouldn't have much to contribute. Same passion for what? Learning the technical details of how to get an emulator to work? Not everyone is the same in this regard, and you know what... That's ok.

 

So let's say we removed that obstacle, and gave them an emulator that was ready to go as the OP suggested, and better yet made it extremely simple to download games as well. They start playing those games, discovering ways to get through different levels, uncovering bugs, and perhaps coming up with some new ideas along the way to make the game even better. They feedback those thoughts to the game designer, who in turn likes what they are hearing and integrates those suggestions into the next version. Not only did they contribute, but everyone wins.

 

So not to make a bigger deal out this then what I have already... In this world if given a chance, everyone has the potential to contribute  :) . And even though I'm not a noobie when it comes to this stuff, I also tire of always having to jump through hoops to get some new piece of software to work, and greatly appreciate the apps that just do from the get go, with no instructions needed.

 

Edit: I hope you truly have fun building a 1088XEL, but this too isn't everyone's cup of tea or in their skill set, so that's why MacRorie is also providing turn-key versions.



#116 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:52 PM

I still maintain that, when it comes to emulators and the Atari OS, the problem that the OP seems to think is there isn't really there, or isn't nearly a big enough problem to justify approaching Atari's legal division and potentially kicking up an IP hornet's nest.  Using the ROM files that are already available is the farthest thing from rocket science; it's almost brain-dead easy with even rudimentary computer skills.  And, as others have pointed out, Altirra and other emulators already include turnkey alternatives which don't touch Atari's IP at all.  If someone still can't get an emulator running even with all that, I'd have to question how much value their input can really have even when it comes to something as simple as playtesting games and the like (would someone who can't figure out files and folders really be able to rigorously test something?), but maybe that's just me.



#117 Spaced Cowboy ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:54 PM

Edit: I hope you truly have fun building a 1088XEL, but this too isn't everyone's cup of tea or in their skill set, so that's why MacRorie is also providing turn-key versions.

 

 

I'm really fortunate that my job is in fact my hobby - I'm in R&D at Apple and I regularly bring up new prototype hardware, writing firmware and integrating totally new hardware. It's definitely within my skill-set to build the 1088XEL (hell, I do BGA chips at home with a ZT7) , and it's absolutely my cup of tea, but I opted for a complete build from MacRorie simply to save me the time. I'm currently busy building a backyard boat-race for my kids 6th birthday, and that takes precedence. 

 

Having people like MacRorie willing to help out others is simply amazing.



#118 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:03 PM

I'm really fortunate that my job is in fact my hobby - I'm in R&D at Apple and I regularly bring up new prototype hardware, writing firmware and integrating totally new hardware. It's definitely within my skill-set to build the 1088XEL (hell, I do BGA chips at home with a ZT7) , and it's absolutely my cup of tea, but I opted for a complete build from MacRorie simply to save me the time. I'm currently busy building a backyard boat-race for my kids 6th birthday, and that takes precedence. 

 

Having people like MacRorie willing to help out others is simply amazing.

 

Exactly my reason for also liking turn-key applications. not that I don't have the smarts to figure it out, but I have a lot of other stuff on my plate that also needs my time. I'll be checking out the 'backyard boat race' link this afternoon, sounds interesting.

 

Have fun with your 1088XEL  :) .



#119 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:59 PM

I wish everyone was being nicer about this.The guy had a legitimate hypothesis. He ran it by our community for peer review. (Arguably, while we might have some input on the matter, we really aren't the ideal audience to adequately review the legitimacy of copyright claims.) There really isn't much reason for us to jump his bones with unlikely doom and gloom scenarios, is there?


I agree that reactions were a bit too emotional. But many of us do believe there is indeed a risk. Perhaps the risk is not huge, perhaps the chances of Atari reacting bad against the retro community is small. But the chance of getting anything good by contacting Atari as the OP did, is even much smaller. That was at least, my main point.
 

Atari isn't going to remove the ROMs from the Internet. Atari isn't going to shut down emulation without pulling in a large number of parties from other platforms who would join in a defense of vintage platform emulation.


Sorry, but this is a naive wishful thinking. There were already cases at the past that corporations went against the retro community. And there wasn't any idyllic or cooperative reaction defending vintage platform emulation as you claim. There was some action even from Atari itself (not this Atari) some years ago. It wasn't against copyright infringement, IIRC. But it was about defending his trademark and acting against domains names that might be related to Atari. And (again, IIRC), several domains were shut down or had to change their name.
 

Atari is unlikely to try to monetize their 8-bit OS due to the significant overhead in collecting very minimal revenue... but even if they did, I don't think I'd mind an official path for ROMs. If Atari directs their lawyers to defend all their intellectual property anywhere and everywhere on the Internet, they'd probably put their focus on games, and 8-bit OS ROMs would be super-low priority if it even hit their radar, but even then, see the first line... they're not going to remove the ROMs from the Internet. They're not going to stop emulator development.

 
I think you don't see the point. I agree they are probably not going to stop emulation development, and as you, I don't mind paying a small fee for using Atari OS. But we don't live just from emulation and the OS rom. We need lots of other firmware, software, games, manuals, and of course places like this forum. So even if they'll focus just on games, they might decide to shut down say, this very same forum, or our preservation project, just to name some of the risks.

 



#120 jmccorm OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:45 PM

I think you don't see the point. I agree they are probably not going to stop emulation development, and as you, I don't mind paying a small fee for using Atari OS. But we don't live just from emulation and the OS rom. We need lots of other firmware, software, games, manuals, and of course places like this forum. So even if they'll focus just on games, they might decide to shut down say, this very same forum...

 

I think we're looking at the same evidence and reaching vastly different conclusions, that's all. There is prudence, but I just don't see the scenario listed above as very plausible.

 

The wide areas of legal ambiguity have given rise to quite a lot of self-policing in the vintage PC scene. Few people seem to recognize that too much risk aversiveness can be just as poisonous to a community as too much risk tolerance. ("Nobody should try to push _X_ _Y_ or _Z_ boundaries because everybody could lose everything!")


Edited by jmccorm, Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:56 PM.


#121 landondyer OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:05 AM

 

I'm going to assert that distribution of the Atari System ROMS is legal and that Atari do not own any copyright on them. I'm looking for peer review of my research here.

 
The ROMS I'm talking about are the AtariOSA, AtariOSB, AtariXL, BASICXL, and 5200 roms.
 
These programs were written and published between 1978 and 1989, that is a period in time when copyright law required there to be a copyright notice on a work for it to be protected. 
 
Curt Vendel says that the source listings all have copyright notices on them.

 

 

The ROMs are definitely still copyrighted. I don't know if the entity that owns the rights even knows they do (or perhaps there are multiple entities who think they have the rights, but only one does), but it's certainly owned by someone.

 

You might check the ROMs for Atari's "copyright bitmap". It's like 8 or 10 bytes of random gunk, not ASCII or ATASCII or 6502 code, that Atari wanted developers to put into games so that ownership could be proved. Basically they'd ask an offender "Hey, what are these bytes for?" and they'd be unable to answer, because they had no functionality at all and were just there as a signature. (No, I don't remember the bit pattern...)



#122 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:19 AM

OMG,

 

Didn't you get the memo, that badge was suppose to be replaced long ago! Not to mention surrendered at severance or termination of employ!

 

LOL, you just wish you were still were that young! Ah programmers, 'software engineers' :)  Notice how quiet it is?

 

stop telling everyone about all our tricks... next they'll be looking for sounds and 1 bit pictures in those chips!

 

_Doc__


Edited by _The Doctor__, Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:39 AM.


#123 Kr0tki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:42 AM

You might check the ROMs for Atari's "copyright bitmap".

Apart from 400/800 rev. B, which contains some random data apparently resulting from not clearing RAM between refompilations, no other OS revision contains such signature.

Mr.Dyer, do you happen to remember which titles might contain this signature? Might be fun to try to identify it.

#124 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:15 AM

And there's the rub, there's some one some where that owns the copyright but does not even realise this and merely think about what copyrighted games they can shoddily port to mobile phones for a few bucks in the bank while we, the real interested party with the right motivation watch as our history is passed to from pillar to post for a few shekels.

 

It does not really affect the emulation scene but it is a sad sad story..

 

Paul...


Edited by Mclaneinc, Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:16 AM.


#125 CharlieChaplin OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:23 AM

I agree that reactions were a bit too emotional. But many of us do believe there is indeed a risk. Perhaps the risk is not huge, perhaps the chances of Atari reacting bad against the retro community is small. But the chance of getting anything good by contacting Atari as the OP did, is even much smaller. That was at least, my main point.
 


Sorry, but this is a naive wishful thinking. There were already cases at the past that corporations went against the retro community. And there wasn't any idyllic or cooperative reaction defending vintage platform emulation as you claim. There was some action even from Atari itself (not this Atari) some years ago. It wasn't against copyright infringement, IIRC. But it was about defending his trademark and acting against domains names that might be related to Atari. And (again, IIRC), several domains were shut down or had to change their name.
 

 
I think you don't see the point. I agree they are probably not going to stop emulation development, and as you, I don't mind paying a small fee for using Atari OS. But we don't live just from emulation and the OS rom. We need lots of other firmware, software, games, manuals, and of course places like this forum. So even if they'll focus just on games, they might decide to shut down say, this very same forum, or our preservation project, just to name some of the risks.

 

 

Yes,

Atari were hunting after domain names, so e.g. Fandal had to change his domainname atari.fandal.cz (now: a8.fandal.cz) and he also had to remove certain Atari games from his webpage. They wrote to Fandal and his web/domain provider and were threatening with legal actions. They even wrote a nice E-Mail to pps, thinking he had some pirated stuff (read: copyrighted Atari stuff) on his New Year Disk pages...

 

So, Mr.Robot, post the A8 ROMs on your own webpage and wait a few months or years until you also get a nice C & D mail (or something similar) from Atari; refuse to remove the A8 ROMs from your page and wait what happens... and do not forget to inform us !


Edited by CharlieChaplin, Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:25 AM.






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