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Games Entertainment

Dreamcast Runs Linux 221

Daikak writes "Just saw this news post on Zophar's about a guy running Linux on his Dreamcast." Update: 07/16 9:37 AM by CN : Looks like the links here ended up broken, so they've been removed. Who reads old articles anyway?
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Dreamcast Runs Linux

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  • I continue to be amazed at the ever-broadening array of boxes on which Linux runs.

    What will Linux NOT run on these days?

  • - porting Linux to a coffee cup.
  • First, let me say, as an anti-Sega person for the last 10 years that the more I use the DC the more I LOVE the DC. It's a great game system. It's got a solid, well understood CPU, great graphics and sound. All in all, it's a very cool system.

    This applies to any of the consoles out there, but the only problem I see with any of these game systems is that the tools to write games for them are so expensive that it's prohibitive to try. Indrema has the right idea: use Linux for the development hardware. Hopefully this will lead to freeware/cheapware linux-based game development on the DC and extend the overall life and interest in the product.
  • If you could run MAME on this.
  • Now I can burn a CD with a minimal system, and MP3 player, and a whole group of MP3's. I plop the CD in and off I go!
  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @10:42AM (#574730)
    Well, the largest benifit would be people could actually port software over to the dream cast with out paying any fees. Sega sells the dream cast at cost or less than cost in order to get people to buy the system. The games in turn, which probally cost 3 dollars in materials, and maybe 10 dollars in RD also pay sega a percentage. Just to get your hands on the development information costs you an arm and a leg. Now if you're activision, or capcom this really doesn't matter.

    If you're joe shmoe user then this is a big deal. You could actually make your own shareware dreamcast game. People could download it over the internet. We go back to the days of the Apple II and C64 where big game makers started out of someones basement.

    From a business stand point this is also a "Good Thing" (TM). If a number of game systems run Linux (Dreamcast, PS2, etc.) then the cost of porting could become cheaper. A company like Loki would do one main port of a game, then a could mini ports to tweak the games. The plus side to the linux comunity is games could be avalible on Linux x86 before the windows version is complete.

    Just some stuff that should get you wondering.
  • Who really gives a rat's ass if your Dreamcast, or toaster, or microwave, or TV set can run Linux? I purchased these devices with these respective intentions in mind - to play video games, make toast, and reheat foods.

    Yes, but Linux on a console lets the average Joe develop software for that console. With Ethernet drivers and a port of XFree, you get a cheap X terminal (with a joystick for a mouse). And with the portable Allegro library [sourceforge.net], you can download games from the Internet, compile them for Dreamcast, burn them to a CD-R, and play your heart out.

  • Thanks for not using the "B" word =P
  • I remember seeing a slashdot article saying that some guy got NetBSD running on his Dreamcast quite some time ago. I'm too lazy to find that link, but there's no reason for you to be pissed off.
  • I would imagine for this thing to be of any use, use would need a port of gcc. Does anyone know what the status of that is? From the "assortment" of screenshots, I seems it has a running bash. Other than that? The boot messages say something about a framebuffer device, I think. Does that mean it will run X? Antonio.
  • I doubt it. Techniques to do that exist already and he probably even had to use some of them to get the port working.
  • People have been moving linux to so many plaotforms because Microsoft loves to say that linux doesn't have the expanability that windows does. SO to prove them wrong they prot them from everything from watches, to PDAs, to IBM mainframes...
    nice and tar gzippd for easy downloading
  • ...maybe there's a chance of running some decent games on it now!

  • and don't forget the internal modem...
  • Total world domination!

  • Yes people, NetBSD is running unofficially on the DC aswell. But no they wern't first. The first documented Linux port apeard in July and this kernel is from August. The NetBSD arrived in October so Yes this time Linux beat them to it. And when we start talking about a released port there now telling whos going to make it there first.
  • Isn't the DC supposed to have some kind of Internet connectivity option?

    A DC distributed.net / seti@home client might be a cool thing to have (true, no real benefit in there either but consoles are basicly just toys, so what do you expect).

    I suppose you could make a DCLinux-distribution with some productivity tools and turn your console into Network Computer.


  • "... so what? "

    Well, for starters there are more good games out for Linux that for Dreamcast... :)
  • You are wrong, trust me. I've seen it running for weeks. /per
  • Actually, you pretty much have it exactly backwards:
    1. Search engines would still ignore it (you really think porn sites haven't thought of that and that search engines haven't thought of porn sites thinking of that?) - search engines look at style definitions just as they look at plain html
    2. CSS would be providing the "hide" function not the "retrieve" function. He's using &ltfont&gt's color attribute to hide the code. If he hadn't set this value equal to the bgcolor value, then the code wouldn't have been hidden (bgcolor default = white, foreground color default = black). If he'd used CSS instead, then the CSS would have been hiding the code.
    But thanks for playing.
  • by Docrates ( 148350 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:33AM (#574747) Homepage
    well, what if people started writing games for dreamcast booting on a linux kernel (after all the OS can reside on every CD or GDROM, like the almost never used winCE): wouldn't that make gaming for linux desktops way closer to reality? we could have a set of drivers a la DirectX as an abstraction layer that would make the difference between PC hardware and Dreamcast hardware almost irrelevant....
  • Until I can play SoulCalibur on Linux.

    Call me messed up, but Sophitia strikes me as significantly more attractive than human women. . . . and until the "source" for Sophitia is opened, life won't be good enough.

  • Errr ... proof of concept of readiness for the much heralded, but still largely invisible 'Internet Appliances' market.

    From memory, they have had NetBSD running on dreamcast for a while, not to mention WinCE.

    It is another market, another great place for an Open Source, Free, GPL'd operating system to be, uhhh, operating in.

  • It's a much overstated, and wrong, point that the Dreamcast has a WinCE layer - it doesn't - unless you specifically link with it. WinCE is just another library to a console developer; if you don't use it (which frankly you'd be foolish to do so, imho) it doesn't get loaded, or even mastered onto the final disk.

    Very few serious games use WinCE, but MS insisted on Sega putting the logo on the box, which has confused a few people into thinking the whole thing runs on CE. The truth is you get hardware-level access without CE, which allows you to register vertices as fast as you can generate them straight to the gfx processor.

    The DC is a lovely little machine; I wish I had had time to attempt a linux port (I have a dev-kit sat on my desk here right now which would make it a bit easier than the guys using a vanilla DC), so good luck to the future linux development I say!

  • Any commercial developer that tried this would have trouble producing and distributing their software. To be legitimate they have to get Sega to produce the GD-ROMs for them. If they try to produce their own disks they will be using licensed code without a license, so they will get sued. This is because for a disk to be bootable, it has to contain a chunk of code in its bootstrap that is byte-for-byte identical to some code held on ROM. That is the code that displays the Dreamcast logo and 'licensed by Sega' message (see here [mc.pp.se] and here [mc.pp.se]).

    So don't expect Linux or any other alternative operating system to kill Sega anytime soon.

    Personally, I think it is pretty cool that Sega chose such a relatively easy to circumvent copy-protection scheme in the first place. It allows them to sue any violator they choose, and at the same time allows grass-roots home coders to do their own thing and learn how to code on some serious gaming hardware. This also makes it easier for import gamers, as you can easily create boot disks that let you play any-region disks (such as the Action Replay CDX). Sega 'did the right thing' in this respect with the Saturn too. Its region control was done by jumpers, so it took very little expertise or technology to make your Saturn capable of playing foreign games.

  • The simple reply to this would be, "Hey, NetBSD did it first! And we're beating them!"

    There was a DreamCast gap, and we couldn't just let those dirty commies win could we? They must be commies! Their mascot is covered entirely in red!


    Sorry, got carried away.
    1. Search engines are starting to ignore text drawn in the same color as the background, so that "xxx xxx porn free sex" type stuff doesn't spam the listings.
    2. MPAA uses CSS (content scrambling system) to hide movie data from us. Think about it, the author could have chosen to use CSS (cascading stylesheets) to hide the DeCSS (content scrambling system) code from casual users, requiring the Other DeCSS [pigdog.org] (cascading stylesheets) to retrieve it.
    all the files including screenshots nice and tar gz'd for easy downloading. enjoy.
  • A few people have requested ports of the Distributed.net client software for the Dreamcast architecture. Assuming this Linux port would allow you to access the VMUs for storage, this might be a way to accomplish that goal and utilize the DC for something other than gaming. While many people would question the value of such a function, I would love to set my Dreamcast loose on finding Optimal Golomb Rulers or folding proteins or searching for aliens or whatever else floats your boat.
  • I've written a touch-screen mp3 jukebox that I have hooked up to my stereo down near the TV. It is now running on an extra linux box. However if I could get my Dreamcast running linux, I could put it on that and get rid of that computer sitting there.

    Mmmmmm. I can imagine it already. And I wouldn't have to use the crappy SB16 card in there now that produces some feedback on the stereo.

  • by T-Punkt ( 90023 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @10:48AM (#574757)
    Not true, NetBSD had a single user shell on the dreamcast in October [netbsd.org].
  • Thanks for the great quote, man:
    "Figuring out that something runs Linux means that it can and will be hacked"
    I couldn't have said it better myself. Microsoft should put that quote in their literature.
  • cixel you sucka. why arnt you on irc anymore? msg me on efnet. bitch.

  • You can buy both a keyboard and mouse for the Dreamcast. They've been around for quite some time. Unfortunately they're proprietary because DC doesn't have USB or Firewire.

  • bitchface i cant get on efnet cuz all of home.com is blocked im me at CiXeL78
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the person(s) who developed this port didn't sign any contracts with Sega?


  • I have a DECsystem-2020 that's going to run ITS, but booting Linux on it once would be good for laughs...

    Here [umtec.com] are pictures of it. :P
  • My cat runs linux. Oh...if only I had the picture scanned online. It is a picture of this monitor on top of my cat running linux. What a crafty cat he is, I never thought he had the storage, but I was tinkering around with him one day and decided to install it.
  • This is because for a disk to be bootable, it has to contain a chunk of code in its bootstrap that is byte-for-byte identical to some code held on ROM.

    Fair use; no functional part of the game is being copied. The boot sector is simply a 14 KB magic cookie for "Dreamcast format CD" that happens to be executed. There are ways to route around the trademark issue also, such as displaying "NOT" right above any instance of "Licensed by Sega" as soon as your program gets control in Bootstrap 1. Case in point: Sega tried this with the Sega Genesis console (a "Trademark Security System"), resulting in Sega v. Accolade [uoregon.edu]. From what I've read, this byte-for-byte copying is considered fair use; otherwise, what amounts to a perpetual patent could be achieved through copyright law.

  • until it can brew a cup of coffee too, i don't want it.

    I think this is sorta neat though, because the dreamcast is able to go on the net, so I think the next thing to come out of this project is a sega dreamcast webserver.. That would be sweet. I suppose it could work pretty easily...the sega's come with a 56k modem and all..and you can get network interface for it.....I think that this guy should try running his dreamcast as a server..that would rule.

  • by dsplat ( 73054 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:35AM (#574770)
    OK, so Linux can run on this device and that device and this watch and that shoe

    [nasal voice] "Hello, Chief"

    [short pause while listening]

    "Why yes, I am taking to you on my new Shoeix sneaker-phone."

    [another short pause]

    "No, Chief, I don't think that's what they meant when they called it portable."

  • by mihalis ( 28146 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:36AM (#574772) Homepage

    What's this "point" and "we" crap? There doesn't have to be a "point" and "we" aren't spending any time running Linux on obscure anything.

    If I had a Dreamcast, or for that matter a room full of supercomputers, or a digital watch with a cpu, I might think it was fun to try to run Linux on it. Or some kind of BSD, or BeOS, or whatever.

    It's not for you to tell me not to because that effort should be spent on making Linux commercially ready. What happens if I couldn't care less for commerciality, desktop-focus or robustness? Nothing. It's my hardware, my time, my effort. If I do something useful in my efforts, then the other linux efforts may benefit, if not, then tough!

    No offence intended, but that's how I feel.

  • Is there any easy way to connect any sort of standard keyboard and mouse to a dreamcast (like firewire or usb, maybe?). I know the ps2 has these ports, so it should be very possible to turn a ps2 into a really versatile computer with *STANDARD* components, right?

    Well obviously Sega make quite a bit of money in you buying their gear, but the people at LikSang [liksang.com], a Hong-Kong based firm, make all sorts of hacky bits of hardware including a combined PS/2 keyboard and Playstation joypad adaptor, a memory card which plugs into your parallel port to store saves on your hard drive and a serial cable for you to download your own code onto the machine (which is how most guerilla development seems to be going on). All seems quite cheap, and they're very UK/US friendly, despite the $25 minimum order charge and `postage on application' policy :-) Try Jules' site [rules.it] for some more information and links to amateur Dreamcast development development. I'm just getting into it myself, though I think my DC is one of the very first which won't boot CDRs (grr mumble mutter etc.)
  • by Coins ( 3612 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:36AM (#574774)
    With a wide array of devices working on an open OS, it is possible to choose any device you want when faced with a project. For example, a palm computer is first and foremost A COMPUTER. If you could run a familiar and open OS on it, it could effectively be used as a specialized controller in a slew of different situations. The more devices that can run Linux, the more options we have. If MS wanted to port to a bunch of different devices, that would be cool too. The difference is that they'll wait until they have a good business reason...which will probably be inspired by articles like this.
  • What will Linux NOT run on these days?

    ...Al Gore, George W. Bush, OR Ralph Nader...

    Wrong-O! Linux was ported to the Gorebot by IBM; their version can run hundreds and even thousands of instances of Linux [ibm.com] simultaneously.

    Or to quote it itself:


    Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

  • Everyone go back and have a look at this [prohosting.com] pic that was provided above. Pay special attention to the reflection in the TV of the room the photographer is in... it looks like the guy is living in a rail-car!

    Lets have a collection and send this Geek-in-Need some dough, or invite him to live in a warm basement where he can learn and grow. Where is Sally Struthers when you need her! Don't fret little DC geek; help is on the way!
  • This year at LinuxKongress (two months ago in Erlangen, Germany), I saw the presentation of the Linux-port to the SuperH-processor. This port was not ment to make Linux run on Dreamcast, but rather to make it run on the SuperH, which is an processor developped for embedded devices. So Linux could be used to run your tv or something (you wouldn't notice normally *g*). The fact that Linux now runs on Dreamcast is just a neat side-effect. I talked to one of the main-developpers (Yutaka Niibe, I think), and he said there even might be a SuperH Debian distrib in some time. RedHat is not very interested, because for them there's no money to earn. Well, I also asked, whether it is possible to hook up a hard-drive to a dreamcast, to get a nice and cheap linux-computer, but he told me that they didn't know how to do this because the Dreamcast is a closed architecture no one but Sega really understands... Well: we really need open standarts, even for video-games...
  • by the_tsi ( 19767 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @10:59AM (#574786)
    Now, who's gonna want to write and debug X drivers for the PVR2? :)

    And after that, who's gonna want to write/debug DRI/GLX/whatever 3D drivers you need for it?

    This certainly is a cool hack, but all you've made yourself an expensive TV-based vt100 terminal that can probably get a shitload of distributed.net keys. :)

    Come to think of it, maybe d.net on here WOULD make them worth buying...

    ...More Powerful than Otto Preminger...
  • by jordan_a ( 139457 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @11:10AM (#574792)
    Linux runs on the Dreamcast with little changes at all. This guy [allusion.net] has already got Linux working on the DC and is working on a custom OS.
  • by infra-red ( 121451 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @11:11AM (#574794)
    Personally, I think its very cool that people are trying to see if they can get this or that working on this or that. They aren't doing it to benefit anyone, just too see if it can be done. Unix was created in a similar fashion.

    The more that corporate and/or commerical intrestes get invested into Linux the more people are critical of projects that they don't see benefiting themselves. I would suggest that if you (refering to everyone here) don't see value in a specific project, then just ignore it.

  • Three simple words:

    "Linux on Xbox."

    I can practically hear the screams from Redmond now.
  • You left filesharing on with read write access to all your drives... some firewall you have!

    Even _my_ security is better than that!
  • by BrK ( 39585 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:37AM (#574800) Homepage
    What will Linux NOT run on these days?

    Linux won't run on the new breadmaker I bought. I was kinda disappointed, I was looking forward to a weekly crontab for BananaNut Bread.

  • by ScratchDot ( 212666 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:38AM (#574803)

    Now I can run Quake III on my Dreamcast!

    oh, wait...

  • by poopie ( 35416 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:39AM (#574806) Journal
    Great! I really like the idea of a "real" $99 computer, and what better hardware to use than a console system where the hardware is standardized and they're sold everywhere.

    Is there any easy way to connect any sort of standard keyboard and mouse to a dreamcast (like firewire or usb, maybe?). I know the ps2 has these ports, so it should be very possible to turn a ps2 into a really versatile computer with *STANDARD* components, right?

    I can almost envision a day when the 'PC' will lose the low end and much of the gaming market to PDAs and Consoles.
  • by Genom ( 3868 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @11:22AM (#574823)
    Hmm - a lil' bootloader, a small kernel, MAME, and 600 someodd megs of vintage videogames to play on the Dreamcast.


  • I think "we" should spend a little less time posting our verbal spew on Slashdot and making LINUX more commercially ready. Or maybe not. Maybe "we" should spend our time how we want.

    Maybe *you* are not the same as "we." You are lumping yourself in with this guy who did a port to dreamcast, and what have you yourself done besides this worthless post to Slashdot? Hopefully something. But if not, *I* don't care. Because *I* am spending my time posting a worthless followup to your waste of energy post. Because that is what *I* want to do.

    And I should think that is exactly why this port to dreamcast was created. Because it was what he wanted to do.

    So if *you* _think_ at all, and you _think_ that time should be put into making LINUX commercially viable (maybe, maybe not. That's not what Linus had in mind when he made it after all. Or maybe I don't know what Linus had in mind) then *you* will have to be the one to do it.

  • by Juggle ( 9908 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:43AM (#574832) Homepage
    (OB Reply to firewall challange)

    Hey I did too and all I found was porn, porn, porn, and more porn. And all stuff I'd seen before!

    (Oh well, I didn't really need that Karma for anything anyway did I? Let's just hope enough people understand the joke in all of this.)

  • It's not done because it's practical.

    While I agree with you on the issue that hacking certainly doesn't have to be practical, I suspect that there's at least one practical application of this one: making games.

    We've already got some games being developed for Linux, such as the previously slashdotted Tux Racer [sourceforge.net]. It wouldn't be that much more a leap, once Linux-on-Dreamcast matures, to create a Dreamcast port of Tux Racer.

  • I think this is sorta neat though, because the dreamcast is able to go on the net, so I think the next thing to come out of this project is a sega dreamcast webserver.. That would be sweet. I suppose it could work pretty easily...the sega's come with a 56k modem and all..and you can get network interface for it.....I think that this guy should try running his dreamcast as a server..that would rule.

    hmm, 25,000+ or so people with ISDN/DSL/Cable/T1/T3, etc connections trying to view a web page on a dreamcast with a 56k modem... It would take like, what, five people to slashdot it?

  • by Pac ( 9516 ) <paulo...candido@@@gmail...com> on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:44AM (#574836)
    Redmond, WA - Graphics guru and senior XBox developer Michael Abrash announced this afternoon that he was able to install and run a modified version of the Linux kernel in the XBox specification documents.

    "Look" said a grinning Abrash, "this thing here is still basically vapour. We have plans, we have specs and we have lots of Powerpoint presentations. So it was pretty easy to tweak the specs until there was enough degrees of freedom to aloow a theoretical kernel to compile in a theorical port of gcc and run. Piece of cake".

    Abrash is now said to working on a port of the XBox specs that will run MacOS X.
  • This reminds me of the kernel patch that is out that allows you to use your joystick to properly shutdown your system in the event of keyboard/network lockout.

    Hm, I don't see what's useful about that really.

    What is useful is programming your joystick to shut down X as it's about the only input device that's not controlled by the X-windowing system.

  • as if any major game manufacturers besides id [idsoftware.com] want to port to Linux

    You forgot Loki [lokigames.com]. <ot>(Too bad Tribes 2's online registration is an invasion of privacy similar to that of MS Office 2000; the program accesses the manufacturer's server when the app is first started, possibly sending personal information.)</ot>

    Anyway, the goal of any for-profit corporation is to make a profit; that's where the term "bottom line"[?] [everything2.com] comes from. If a game house can release games for Dreamcast without paying Sega royalties, the company saves several dollars on every unit shipped. This. Adds. Up. Big. Time.

  • It says that source is not available yet, and then gets more obscure: it says that source may not be available ever. If I am correct, this is not a violation yet, but they should release the source as quickly as they can.
  • The modem is hardware based. The modem is also replaceable by a hardware based 10/100mbit ethernet adaptor.

    There is a serial port as well as ports under the dreamcast, which under current hacking tests all show high speed thouroughput.

    The modem doesn't consume 5% of the cpu either, adding support for online games & software ip stack consumes the 5% of the cpu.

  • And why doesn't Linux work on your spacious machine? I started out with a 486 DX/33 with 8MB RAM, and I even ran X. (Well, ran probably isn't the right verb, but you get the idea.)

    Program Intellivision! [schells.com]
  • Yes and no. There are converters to take care of the VGA->sync-on-green problem as well as the conversion to 13w3, which is probably what the connection to the Sun monitor uses. BUT - that thing is going to only be able to run a few resolutions. If it's like my two Sun GDM-20D10's, then it'll work at 1024x768-75Hz through 1280x1024-76Hz or so.. give or take a few Hz. If you could get 640x480 running at 284823479827472934 Hz refresh, it would probably work. Otherwise, it will be out of the sync band the monitor supports. (usually those fixed freq monitors were not really fixed freq, but multisync within a REALLY small clock range)

  • by jon_c ( 100593 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:46AM (#574861) Homepage
    this pisses me off as a BSD supporter. NetBSD [netbsd.org] is supposta be the number #1 ported OS, and here we have linux working on dreamcast before NetBSD?


    just makes me made.
  • I'm not going to go out and buy a Dreamcast just because I could run Linux on it. (Mind you, it very well might "tilt the scales" towards my buying one one of these days...)

    The real point of this is that it actually brings some truth to the Linux for N64 [heise.de] April Fools joke of a few years ago.

    It's not done because it's practical.

    It's done because it's a "cool hack."

    IBM didn't make put a Linux port onto a wristwatch because they wanted to sell wristwatches. (I'm a little confused, mind you, as to why IBM are now selling 2.4GHz wireless phones, and getting into a market typically fought over by Sony and Panasonic...) They built the watch because it was a cool hack that would get them publicity.

    Give an extra generation for the video game units to get a bit more powerful and this actually starts being realistically useful; while the video game may lack a hard drive, if it has:

    • Wireless networking
    • A keyboard
    • Is dirt cheap
    That could make for nice "disposable" desktop boxes. Certainly not relevant this year, just as the Linux-based PDAs aren't powerful enough this year to be tremendously viable.

    But if someone prototypes it on this year's wimpy models, this may make them quite ready to build something more useful based on next year's hardware...

  • Actually, that would be Shoe-nix.
  • Come to think of it, maybe d.net on here WOULD make them worth buying...

    Well, the CPU on the dreamcast only runs at ~200mhz. Supposedly it's got great floating-point performance, but then again, d.net (at least the RC5 challenge) pretty much relies on integer calculations only. So your keyrate on here would be nothing to write home about.

    But then again, suppose you found the winning key on a Dreamcast? LOL. Now that would be a marketing coup for Sega. ;)

    http://www.bootyproject.org [bootyproject.org]
  • This actually seems like it could be a little dangerous for Sega. How hard would it be for somebody to hook the Dreamcast up to their pc via serial or ethernet and do something like this?

    dd if=/dev/gdrom of=/dev/serial


    mount -t gdrom /dev/gdrom /mnt/SOME_GAME
    ftp ftp.mywarezsite.net
    send /mnt/SOME_GAME/*.*

    etc... etc...

    Well, you get the point. The bootlegged games are already flowing from special groups on the net with the equiptment to make backup images, but this can just put the power in all of our hands. Oh wait, that could be a good thing! Besides, I can't wait for a port of XArchon for the DC!

  • Is there any info on how he pulled this off? a kernel is nice, but info is better!

  • The free, easy-to-code-for Allegro library [sourceforge.net] already runs on DOS, Windows, Linux framebuffer, and X11; they've started on BeOS. As soon as Mesa3d or some other OpenGL-compatible library is ported to Dreamcast...

    ...Sega is going to realize that its revenue stream (game royalties) has been cut off. Think i-opener. We're going to see Sony PS2 become cheap in comparison, as Sega tries to make a profit on consoles as games are ported to Debian GNU/Linux for Dreamcast Consoles.

  • Check out SDL [libsdl.org], the Simple DirectMedia Layer. It is available for a bunch of platforms already (including Win32 and Linux, of course). I've played a couple games, Defendguin being my favorite, and was impressed. It probably has progress to make before being suitably robust for the really complex games, but I think it has definite potential.
  • So you can now tweak your Dreamcast to turn it into a Linux box. What good is that? Can you use it as a remote client for telnet/ssh or other uses? No; for that to be done, there would have to be an interface connector. Someone would have to write a driver for the modem, and I don't think that Sega is going to release that information. Besides, it might even be a Winmodem, or even worse, it might be connected to an alien, non-16550/8250 UART controller.

    It's a real hardware modem. There's also a serial cable you can hook up to the same slot. See http://mc.pp.se/dc/serifc.html [mc.pp.se].

    So basically, this "Linux Dreamcast" consists of a CD-ROM/GigaDisc drive, some system for the keyboard, and maybe support for the controller. So what? Without any drivers for the PowerVR2 on there, this "Dreamcast Linux" would be worthless.

    There's also example source code floating around for using the hardware 3d accelerator. It's only a matter of time before someone hacks support into Mesa. See http://mc.pp.se/dc/files/tatest.tar.gz [mc.pp.se].

    Either way, I'm wondering if that thing segfaulted at some point and he refused to take a picture of that. As you already know, the press only shows us what it wants us to see.

    There's no reason why portable C programs should segfault on the SuperH. The GCC SH-4 target is relatively mature.

    See http://mc.pp.se/dc/ [mc.pp.se] for more details on Dreamcast development.

  • by chancycat ( 104884 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:27AM (#574900) Journal
    OK, so Linux can run on this device and that device and this watch and that shoe... so what? I think it's great exploration, and a wonderful way for the folks doing the dev work to learn a huge amount about the low-level guts of the device they're working with and Linux, but... what then?
    Is there a hope that someone will just hit on the right combination of Linux and Z-device? Maybe I'm just an outsider with less perspective (just reads Slashdot and works for "Huge Internetish Company" as an engineer, but this Linux on __ stuff is starting to get me wondering.
  • by Mr. Flibble ( 12943 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:28AM (#574901) Homepage
    This reminds me of the kernel patch that is out that allows you to use your joystick to properly shutdown your system in the event of keyboard/network lockout.

    I wonder if this is in the Dreamcast kernel?

    Bob: "Hey, you have to see this great combo I mastered for Ryu!"
    Bill: "Ok, fire away!"
    Bob: "Ok, Up, Up, Down, Down-Left, Back, A+B"
    Linux: "This system is going down for a reboot NOW!"
    Bob: "Err, oops."
  • The GPL is quite specific.. I don't see how it's unclear.

    If you release binaries, you must also provide source.
  • by Racher ( 34432 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:28AM (#574903)
    Mirrors of the screenshots are here [stcloudstate.edu], here [stcloudstate.edu], here [stcloudstate.edu], and here [stcloudstate.edu].

    ...and I'm not sure we should trust this Kyle Sagan either.
  • I mean, I agree to a point.
    IF you distribute binaries (isn't making it available to a million interent users 'distributing'?) you must distribute source.

    On the other hand... does it mean I can't ever let *anyone* check out my modifications in binary form without providing source? Hmm...
  • by kerrbear ( 163235 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:28AM (#574910)

    Just saw this news post on Zophar's about a guy running Linux on his Dreamcast

    Would that only the opposite were true :-)

  • You're missing the big picture. It's not that anyone would actually make the games on the Dreamcast. It's that the games you'd create would run on the Dreamcast. Like it or not Linux is not easy for a lot of people to deal with on the PC. A console takes care of these problems. Since the OS is only memory resident you can have is directly boot into the game.
  • An mp3 player for the dreamcast has existed already for quite awhile. It's called "dcmp3", but last I checked their official page was down. You might want to read more about it at www.dcemulation.com (where I think it can be downloaded). And so long as you are there, check out gypplay, the DC movie player. Neat stuff.
  • For those of you who didn't already know it, Sega offers an add-on VGA out (640X480) for the Dreamcast (http://www.sega.com/pc/segastore/SegaProduct.jhtm l?PRODID=257).

    Does anybody happen to know whether or not it would work with an old 21" Sun monitor (fixed frequency, sync-on-green, Trinitron)?

    There seem to be zillions of these kinds of monitors out there that no one knows what to do with.

  • by IanCarlson ( 16476 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @11:47AM (#574918) Homepage
    C'mon man, even the moderators got it.
  • not really a big deal. this has been going on for some time, although in not quite as convenient a fashion. you can make a serial cable to read data off the gd already, but that's been superceded by a hacked firmware for some of the newer yamaha cdrw's that will allow these units to read gd-roms directly.
  • An employee of SEGA has commented on the dcdev mailing list on more than one occasion that the Dreamcast will be modified to disallow booting from CDRs in the very near future. This is to calm the licensed developers down after the whole piracy scare. In other words, get your CDR-capable DC while you still can. Besides, at US$150 you can't go wrong.
  • by dcheng ( 92493 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @10:25AM (#574922) Homepage

    That reboot sequence bears a striking resemblance to:

    Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A

    Look familiar?

  • If you look at his homepage [prohosting.com], you'll find the DeCSS sourcecode at the bottom. He appears to be quite the crafty Dreamcast hacker.

    You'll have to highlight the text to see the code, or just look at the HTML document in a text editor. I think it's a pretty neat way to get the source code out with some degree of stealth.

    Well, at least it was pretty stealthy.
  • <! -- I don't really need to whore myself past the Kap -- >
    Slashdot previously ran this story [slashdot.org] about getting NetBSD to run on the Dreamcast console.
  • by scotch ( 102596 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @10:35AM (#574929) Homepage
    Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A

    Or, for vi users:

  • by vex24 ( 126288 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @10:37AM (#574930) Homepage
    Let's see here:

    1. I loaded the Palm OS on my cell phone so I could transfer messages between my pants pockets!

    2. I have apache loaded into the ROMs in my floor lamp, plugged in to the clapper(TM). Site up!(clap,clap), site down!(clap, clap), Apache!

    3. My Tivo runs Oracle to ensure that I'll have a robust and scalable platform with which I'll never record anything due to the difficulty of entering a freakin' date field!

    4. My Toyota runs Linux because I heard that you don't crash as much with Linux. Sounds good to me!

  • by Xofer D ( 29055 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:29AM (#574933) Homepage Journal
    Zophar's mirroring the kernel stuff now, so you might want to try using the "100Mbps of bandwidth" behind these links:
    In other news, flagging sales of the Dreamcast were given a significant boost... :)
  • Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these!!! That would be kewl, then multiplayer gaming would be kick-ass. I hear there is also a SETI@Home card for the dreamcast that interfaces to an espresso machine!
  • by jlu ( 11593 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @01:51PM (#574938)
    sure it is - it weren't, if he didn't distribute binaries, but as he distributes binaries he also has to the source (GPL 3a).

  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Thursday December 07, 2000 @09:30AM (#574944)
    Says here [zophar.net] that it is available in binary form only. No source is available. Do we have a GPL violation here?
  • It seems to me that the mentality that would try to install a kernel on a console gaming platform is the same mentality that would try to build an OS from the ground up because the others were too expensive ...

    ... they just go together ;-)

    And to all those who don't understand: it makes sense to many of us.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein