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Does Hacking Like This Make Anyone Else Mad?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rob_Pierce, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. Rob_Pierce

    Rob_Pierce Second Unit

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    Check out this story about a guy paying $200,000 for the first person to hack into the XBox's O/S:
    http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/fun.gam...eut/index.html
    This infuriates me[​IMG]. Why do some people feel the need to just be superior? The only effect this will have is to drive up future prices on video games and consoles, as well as push back release dates, all due to the necessary encryption. I know it's legal and a free country, but hacking in general really makes me mad.
    Any other opinions on this? Am I wrong?
     
  2. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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    The actual offer was to install (and boot) Linux on the Xbox -- not hack the Xbox's operating system, or hack onto someone else's Xbox, or anything else. This is a use of the classical (geek) meaning of "to hack" -- not the current computer espionage meaning. The contest is no different from installing a network adapter or second hard drive into a stand-alone TiVo unit.

    If someone is willing to risk ruining an Xbox that he bought in the pursuit of using it in an unintended (and legal) way, more power to him. Installing Linux on the Xbox certainly won't help pirates in any way, and the tens of people that will purchase an Xbox expressly for the purpose of getting a cheap Linux box will fly well below Microsoft's radar -- the console-as-loss-leader business model will not be threatened by the handfulls of people that perform this hack.

    And any encryption technology needs to be tested as rigorously as possible (which includes getting geeks to try to break it). Encryption technology has improved because people have found holes in earlier algorithms.
     
  3. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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    I'll also add that before the Xbox launched, I strongly considered performing some hacks on my (future) Xbox, so that I could use it as a Windows network client capable of playing back MP3 and AVI files from my media server, because there still isn't a good, cheap, home theater-friendly media thin client. Ultimately I just built a moderately-priced HTPC, but I would have liked to have just used 1 box.

    And getting Linux to boot on various devices is a hobby of most extreme Linux fans (pretty much any device with some type of a processor and memory is a target these days). There was enough of an interest in getting Linux running on the Playstation 2 that Sony released an official kit.
     
  4. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    OTOH, installing Linux on an Xbox seems to me as useful as installing it on the Dreamcast / PocketPC ever was... a completely useless endeavour, which can only help you win bragging rights contests over other geeks ("Yeah! My iPaq has Linux and yours doesn't! I rock! - er... dude... what can you actually *do* now with your iPaq? - NOTHING!!! But it RUNS LINUX NOW!!!").

    In all seriousness, if it makes feel someone happy, knowing that he can run Linux on any device on earth, more power to them... IMHO, though, I'm way more productive at my job using Windows, and I have more fun with my consoles with their respective OS's. To each its own.

    EDIT: I just noticed this quote:

     
  5. Dave F

    Dave F Screenwriter

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    Doesn't bug me at all. Someone can do whatever they want with their Xbox.

    BTW: I thought the contest had ended quite a while ago.

    -Dave
     
  6. Rob_Pierce

    Rob_Pierce Second Unit

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    Gary,
    Thanks for your responses--I haven't heard this sort of conversation from the "hacker's" side yet. I agree that anyone can do anything with their own XBox, but if it doesn't affect MS (in terms of having to spend more $$) in R&D for future games/consoles (which, of course, we would indirectly pay for), then I shouldn't really care.
    I guess this is more along the lines of what I was orgininally thinking:
     
  7. JoshF

    JoshF Supporting Actor

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    Rob:

    Not to inflame or anything (famous last words), but I am an admitted Microsoft basher. I do NOT do it because of their business practices, but because I personally loathe their products. I think Windows is abhorrent from a usability standpoint and that the Xbox is lazy console design.

    I'm a usability/user experience professional, and Windows has always seemed to me a nightmare of UI and user-step scenarios. I simply do not like it, find it aestheticall unappealing, a configuration hall of mirrors, and a chore to work with.

    I'm a console gamer, have been for life, and I find the makeup of the Xbox to be almost offensive. The games look and play like PC games - that is, of course, because they're running on Intel chips and nVidia video cards. To me, console gaming has always had a particular independent "feel," and Xbox just poops all over that.

    Not my cup o' tea, and my criticisms have nothing to do with the way they run the company. Just shoddy products, IMO.
     
  8. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Regardless of your thoughts about MS or the X-Box, I see absolutely no real reason to pay $200 (or $300 when it launched) just to break it open and try to make it do something that it shouldn't do.

    And how would you actually use Linux? You could get it up and running, but without a keyboard and mouse what would you do?
     
  9. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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  10. Dave F

    Dave F Screenwriter

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    Really, it is the challenge that is interesting. It's the challenge of doing something creatively that is not supposed to be possible, such as the guy who turned a GBA into a web server. [​IMG]
    -Dave
     
  11. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Well, Linux for the PS2 requires the hard drive

    On either system, you're still setting up a linux box that could act as a server for less than $199 for a refurb

    That's pretty darn cheap
     
  12. Rob_Pierce

    Rob_Pierce Second Unit

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  13. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I also think that the X-Box isn't really a true console. It's more of a bridge between a console and a PC. It has the insides of a PC, and just about everything regarding it's design is based off of a PC-related something (the controller was even designed by the Sidewinder department at MS). It acts like a PC, and inside it looks like a PC. But, it's a console, regardless of what you say. It plays games as it's main function and doesn't do superfluous actions like browse the internet. All of it's central functions are designed to improve the gaming experience.

    The DVD function must be purchased extra, so I don't really count that as a central function. Reading CDs (and copying the tracks to the HDD) can be considered something that adds to the gaming experience.

     
  14. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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  15. Aaron Copeland

    Aaron Copeland Second Unit

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    Real Name:
    Aaron
     
  16. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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  17. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Whenever I see the three consoles, all I see are graphical and sonic differences between them. The PS2 is the weakest of the three, the GameCube slots in between, but has its audio terribly compressed, and the Xbox almost always looks stunning.

    But I really don't think the Xbox looks like anything other than a console. It might be a tad big, but that's it. Maybe it doesn't look like a console because it has digital surround sound and the best graphics outside of a PC, but that would be it. I don't kid myself. I own a GameCube, but I know it is inferior to the Microsoft product.

    Which brings me to this point. For once, a company is actually screwing *itself* to give you the better product - the Xbox is faster, more advanced, has a network / hard disk drive in it, has the best graphics and sound, and is being sold way below its price point - and people are bashing Microsoft for selling it?

    These same people should realize Sony is as greedy and "evil" as Microsoft will ever be, and yet they praise their underpowered, older, austere PlayStation II because it's not Microsoft - yet they aren't realizing they should be complaining to Sony for selling their underpowerd and old machine at the same price point as Microsoft is. Now, to me, *that's evil*.

    I wonder, if people weren't so blindly biased against Microsoft, would they be praising the Xbox to no end? Yes, I think so.
     
  18. Dave Bennett

    Dave Bennett Screenwriter

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    Javier,
    Microsoft isn't being altruistic by selling the XBox as a loss leader. They want to rack in future game sales as that's where the real money is. I think the big difference is that the XBox was intended from the get go to be a loss leader, which my guess is, the PS2 was not.
    As far as anti-microsoft sentiments, I'm not a fan of Microsoft but if they offer a really cool product that's not gonna stop me. Personally, I dislike many of their products(Windows XP feels so clunky compared to my G4 running Mac OS X but that's a personal preference). At the same time they do have some excellent ones(their Mac products are suprisingly good believe it or not). My big problem is seeing Microsoft stick its finger in yet another pie. I'd not have a problem with it if they didn't have such questionable business practices. Anyhow, as I said, all those things aside, the XBox is a great console(according to MY definition of a console: a machine designed for playing video games that connects to a television) and despite my personal dislike for Microsoft, I'll definitely pick one up once some more must have(to me) titles are released.
     
  19. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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    Dave,

    FYI, Sony lost well over $100 per console when the PS2 was initially released due to the manufacturing costs of the EE and GS.

    In the past year (in addition to general yield improvements), the EE and GS were placed on the same die and transitioned to 0.13u. I believe that the PS2 is making a small profit for Sony now, but it took them a long time.

    Even the Nintendo Gamecube was a loss leader initially, but its margin wasn't nearly as wide as the Xbox's or PS2's.
     
  20. Dave Bennett

    Dave Bennett Screenwriter

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    Gary,
    I had a suspicion that sony was doing the same thing as it seems to be somewhat common for consoles. MS seems to be losing more per console though and it's been more highly publicized so I think that's why it's been noted so often.
     

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