[Dev] [GNU-linux-libre] MAME

Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli GNUtoo at no-log.org
Sat Apr 2 03:05:40 GMT 2016

On Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:20:56 +0100
Josh Branning <lovell.joshyyy at gmail.com> wrote:

> Upsides:
> * Emulators allow otherwise partially-free programs to run freely on
> a machine.
It's rather that some virtual machines would permit to run 100% free
I probably assumed (wrongly) that running a non-free software on bare
hardware and on an emulator gave the same freedoms.
I'm not a game console expert, so I've some questions:
1) Are there consoles that gives full hardware control to the
   games? If so is there any other non-free software required before
   that? What is the difference between emulators and real hardware in
   that context?
2) Does that change with the consoles running a full blown OS all the
   time. Which consoles fits into that category?

> * Where all the programs for the platform are non-free, emulators can
> be viewed as a kind of development kit for the platform architecture, 
> allowing new free software to be created for that machine.
That might not be a strong enough incentive to package such emulators,
especially if there is no documentation to explain the user how to use
it. gcc is for instance documented well enough for developers to be
able to actually use it. Following the (emulator) documentation would
guide the developer toward a working test program, like a hello world.

> * Where all the programs for the platform are non-free, emulators
> still allow for reverse engineering of non-free programs.
That also applies to binary nvidia drivers for instance.
Such criteria applies to all non-free software.

> * Where all the programs are non-free, people may be able to run the 
> proprietary program in a freer manner than they could do otherwise, 
> which still may be a small step to complete freedom.
That also applies to all non-free programs, like flash for instance.

> Downside:
> * People may use the emulator to run non-free programs.
This is not the point. You can also use gcc, java, python and so on to
do the same, however none of theses steer users towards non-free

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