anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

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SkaFan
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Joined: Fri 20 Nov, 2020 6:44 pm

anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

Post by SkaFan »

hi folks,
a lot of drivers are available. but when it comes to thinks like Windows NT 3.1 it a bit different.
Would anyone like to help building up a driver database for hardware that is suppoerted by PCem, also ofcouse also testing it.
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omarsis81
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Re: anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

Post by omarsis81 »

I guess drivers are like ROMS, copyrighted and therefore not allowed to post here
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gen_angry
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Re: anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

Post by gen_angry »

See the thing is: when you own the hardware itself, you've paid a company for the use of that hardware. Downloading the drivers comes with the hardware as it is required for it to work. When you use the BIOS dump or drivers within PCem, if you own the hardware - you're basically expressing your right to use that software in a different medium. The company was still paid for it as you have that piece of hardware that originally cost money so there's no deal being broken. It's akin to ripping a CD that you own as FLAC files for your own use.

With PCem, unlike owning the actual hardware - you've downloaded free software to emulate it. By itself without ROMs or drivers included, PCem's code is safe harbored by fair use laws. The emulation parts itself was recreated from scratch via publicly released hardware documentation (as far as I know anyways) so there's no 'stolen code' anywhere. The companies can try to sue (anybody can sue for any reason) but they wouldn't have a case.

Essentially that's how YouTube doesn't get sued when other people upload copyright infringing content for example or GitHub can get away with hosting emulator software. If, say, RetroArch decided one day to include BIOS code with their emulators - they would get C&D so fast, especially since a lot of their IP is still in active use due to the re-released 'mini consoles'. As a recent example: 'Youtube-dl' was a piece of software that got it's repo shut down because they included a music video link in their code for a test. This let people download copyrighted music without paying for it (ads pay for when it's streamed on youtube). Without that, despite the grey area purpose of the software, it was perfectly legal. It was restored only after they removed those links (and hilariously enough, it still exists within commit history but that's another claim for another day).

Going back to PCem - when you start to add things like ROM dumps and drivers, it can easily wade into copyright infringement as you're now directly benefiting from company-made property without paying for it. Doesn't matter if that software was distributed freely or not, you're essentially offering the entire package for nothing which is equivalent to copyright theft. Unless the IP owner itself explicitly released the rights, there is no such thing as 'abandonware'.

Searching and downloading the driver without owning the hardware is technically 'illegal', it's just not enforced (nor can it be, really - doesn't mean some of these greedy ass companies haven't tried).

So in short - last thing Sarah would want is to have her multi-year (if not decade?) old project C&D or shut down because she included a driver pack that's easily searchable on the net. Companies are petty as fuck, they have to be in today's copyright world or they risk losing the ability to enforce it when it matters. Trying to keep track of what's legal, what's not, is a nightmare that I'd imagine Sarah doesn't want to deal with at all. Taking a stranger's word on legality is about as safe as playing with a match in an explosives shed so it's easier to just say 'none of it'.

So I don't see this project going anywhere on here. Doesn't mean you can't take on the risk on your own site (there are a few repos for 'pcem rom packs' around), but that's not Sarah's problem.

Hope all this answers questions some may have lingering (and provide a link-able post for future questions like it).
TonyM
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Re: anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

Post by TonyM »

gen_angry wrote:
Sun 29 Nov, 2020 11:48 pm
Searching and downloading the driver without owning the hardware is technically 'illegal', it's just not enforced (nor can it be, really - doesn't mean some of these greedy ass companies haven't tried).
I disagree with this statement. Unlike ROMS, firmware and such, drivers are usually made publicly available for download by hardware manufacturers and no T&C (that I have been able to find) states that only those who own that specific hardware are allowed to download those drivers. Now, if a manufacturer decides to secure their downloads behind a login/password and specifies that only those with legitimate logins are allowed to download them, that's a different story. Downloading publicly available drivers and making them available via an alternate website or repository is not illegal.
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leilei
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Re: anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

Post by leilei »

I'm sure if this 'project' were to be done, the mission would drift and it'd probably put up copyrighted commercial software like i've seen some fan-made "windows update collections" do before. So many want to play the savior of convenience...

I mainly use Win95/98 in PCem and my good lazy sources of video drivers tend to be DirectX 6.1 and GLSetup off of some games' discs (if Windows 95/98 doesn't provide a driver). If I ever mount a driver disc, it's most likely for a Creative sound card (either AWE64 for the panel, or SBPCI for <Win2K/ME drivers) and the software on those are very much NOT freely redistributable.


If I did a driver project, it'd be just one big color-coded table (Device/OS) with references to official filenames and notes of out-of-box and DirectX support and the like. No need to repack from that.
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gen_angry
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Re: anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

Post by gen_angry »

TonyM wrote:
Mon 30 Nov, 2020 3:23 am
gen_angry wrote:
Sun 29 Nov, 2020 11:48 pm
Searching and downloading the driver without owning the hardware is technically 'illegal', it's just not enforced (nor can it be, really - doesn't mean some of these greedy ass companies haven't tried).
I disagree with this statement. Unlike ROMS, firmware and such, drivers are usually made publicly available for download by hardware manufacturers and no T&C (that I have been able to find) states that only those who own that specific hardware are allowed to download those drivers. Now, if a manufacturer decides to secure their downloads behind a login/password and specifies that only those with legitimate logins are allowed to download them, that's a different story. Downloading publicly available drivers and making them available via an alternate website or repository is not illegal.
One company with terms like that off of the top of my head is Creative. Downloading one of their driver packs will yield their T&Cs that you have to agree to download anything. The part that matters to this is specifically Section 1b:
Grant of License
Creative grants to you the right to use all or a portion of this Software provided that
(b) the Software is used only in conjunction with Creative's family of products;
PCem is not a Creative product and if you follow the letter of the agreement, not owning that hardware would make this not be true either. I don't have their lawyer on speed dial to clarify but following the verbiage is usually a pretty safe bet. It's just the latter is not really enforceable as I mentioned, although I would agree it's not a catch-all statement for every company. Creative is pretty sketchy at times so I wouldn't be surprised that they did actually mean that.

In any case: many BIOS images are put up the same way. It doesn't mean you can bundle it with a free software package designed to emulate the hardware. Now if someone made an 'unofficial PCem driver bundle' somewhere else then that's a different story. In that case - PCem + Sarah's off the hook and the liability is on the bundle maintainer. But discussion and vouching for it on here would muddy that separation so easier to say 'no can do'.
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gen_angry
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Re: anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

Post by gen_angry »

leilei wrote:
Mon 30 Nov, 2020 3:43 am
If I did a driver project, it'd be just one big color-coded table (Device/OS) with references to official filenames and notes of out-of-box and DirectX support and the like. No need to repack from that.
That'd be pretty cool, a documentation with 'known working' filenames, sizes, hashs with additional driver details (like directx support and driver date). Would be far smaller than passing around a huge software repo.

Would also be a hell of an undertaking. So... not it. :P
Cheez
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Re: anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

Post by Cheez »

All those third party driver sites would already have been gone by now if that was an issue.
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leilei
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Re: anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

Post by leilei »

Probably because most of those sites are just 'download our updater' malware walls that obfuscate the actual downloads as much as possible...

Drivers do have EULAs like any other software, nVidia makes you read a big one before the download section's visible for a long time on their site,.for example (in a similar manner to Creative). Some go as far as to add Safedisc/bleem!-esque DRM to their driver discs for their online driver installers, like Haupaugge!
Cheez
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Re: anyone interesting in doing a PCem driver collection?

Post by Cheez »

And most of them used to not do that until merely hosting drivers stopped being profitable by itself.
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