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Does Hacking Like This Make Anyone Else Mad?


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90 replies to this topic

#1 of 91 Rob_Pierce

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Posted January 03 2003 - 05:08 PM

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/2....eut/index.html

This infuriates mePosted Image. 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 of 91 Gary King

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Posted January 03 2003 - 08:43 PM

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 of 91 Gary King

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Posted January 03 2003 - 08:54 PM

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 of 91 Javier_Huerta

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Posted January 04 2003 - 01:33 AM

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:

Quote:
Robertson said that Xbox is designed much like a PC with a closed operating system run on Intel microprocessors. He argues that as it has done with PCs, Microsoft is trying to make its software the defacto operating system in gaming consoles.


This guy might want some cheese for his whine. If he has a better idea about what a gaming console should be, he should simply try to market it, instead of blaming Microsoft for anything and everything.
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#5 of 91 Dave F

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Posted January 04 2003 - 01:42 AM

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.

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#6 of 91 Rob_Pierce

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Posted January 04 2003 - 03:55 AM

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:

Quote:
This guy might want some cheese for his whine. If he has a better idea about what a gaming console should be, he should simply try to market it, instead of blaming Microsoft for anything and everything.


I get tired of people bashing MS for their products. I don't really have an opinion on the company one way or another, but I have found their products to be very good to me in the past, and it just bothers me to see people bash them for being so successful and having their software so widely adapted--must be the capitalist in me coming outPosted Image.

Thanks for the opinions!

#7 of 91 JoshF

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Posted January 04 2003 - 05:46 AM

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.
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#8 of 91 Morgan Jolley

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Posted January 04 2003 - 08:28 AM

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 of 91 Gary King

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Posted January 04 2003 - 09:56 AM

Quote:
And how would you actually use Linux? You could get it up and running, but without a keyboard and mouse what would you do?


Well, the people that would perform the hack obviously had some use in mind (maybe just telnet'ing in -- remember, XWindows is network-transparent). Or maybe they'd program some custom UI -- TiVo uses Linux as its operating system, but you could never tell that from the custom-designed user interface.

Or, perhaps getting Linux to run on the Xbox is more enjoyable to them than playing video games. There's no real reason to judge what they do in their leisure time, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone.

#10 of 91 Dave F

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Posted January 04 2003 - 10:54 AM

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. Posted Image

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#11 of 91 Jeff Kleist

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Posted January 04 2003 - 01:57 PM

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 of 91 Rob_Pierce

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Posted January 04 2003 - 04:40 PM

Quote:
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.

Josh,
I have never known anything other than Windows and MS Office on a PC (tried a Mac once, but it's not my bag). I guess they've always worked fine for me, but I certainly do not use technology in the same manner as it seems you do (I'm a financial planner, not a tech-guy). For my purposes, MS products have been fine; I can't really argue with your point, but I certainly understand it.

Quote:
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.

I have been a console user for life, too; one of my earliest memories is playing Defender for hours on the 2600 when I was 4. I've owned every major console and have had the PS2 and NGC since their releases and just got the XBox for Christmas. I'm a true Nintendo fan at heart and the GC is my favorite system. However; with the addition of Live, the XBox has become my favorite console. I guess my point is that I love great systems and great games, no matter who makes them.

I don't understand what you mean by "the makeup of the Xbox to be almost offensive" or that "the Xbox is lazy console design." Like I said, I'm no MS fanboy, but I'm pretty impressed with the XBox so far. The lack of quality games is certainly a concern, but I don't really see how the XBox is offensive or lazy compared to the GC or PS2; I think the addition of the hard drive and built in modem is a great idea and wonder what you consider to be the problems.

If some of the games do play like a PC, who cares? A great game is a great game, no matter what platform it's on. The overall theme of this thread was (intended to be, at least) the fact that I've heard people bash MS and their products forever, but I've never really heard thier logic, just things like "it's lazy" and "offensive", but no concrete examples. What specifically do you not like?

By the way, this is not inflamatory at all, I'm genuinely curious and interested in this topic; let me know what you think.

Edit: Josh, I just checked your homepage; I was right on one thing--you are certainly more involved with tech than I am. Your site and accomplishments are pretty impressive; I appreciate the opportunity to argue with you.Posted Image

#13 of 91 Morgan Jolley

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Posted January 04 2003 - 05:01 PM

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.

Quote:
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

The GBA thing is news to me. Anywho, I can understand doing something for the challenge (I once tried to program Tic-Tac-Toe into a spreadsheet, and got surprisingly far before I had to stop; it was during a programming class) but I still see some stuff as being a little too pointless. Granted, you do what you want with what you buy.

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

The PS2+Linux Kit is MUCH more than $200. And to get an X-Box to act as a Linux server, you'd still need to buy a few things beyond just the unit itself, making the price go higher than $200. True, it's cheaper than just buying a good enough PC.

#14 of 91 Gary King

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Posted January 04 2003 - 07:20 PM

Quote:
I also think that the X-Box isn't really a true console

Come again? How *exactly* do you define a "true console"?

Quote:
just about everything regarding it's design is based off of a PC-related something

See also: Nintendo Gamecube.

Quote:
the controller was even designed by the Sidewinder department at MS

The Sidewinder is an award-winning (and well-received controller). Either you're in serious denial or lack any business sense at all to suggest that using the Sidewinder group wasn't the right choice.

Quote:
It acts like a PC

See also: every console made since the Playstation. Last I checked, the Playstation 2 was the only console that had a santioned method to boot an XWindows session and a native port of gcc.

Quote:
and inside it looks like a PC.

Have you opened up many consoles recently? Their PCBs look surprisingly similar.

Quote:
It plays games as it's main function and doesn't do superfluous actions like browse the internet

See: Sony Playstation 2, which has an available web browser in Japan, and the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast.

Please _don't_ try to make any vague arguments like "the Xbox isn't a true console" and use hardware as your justification. It's wrong, and a waste of everyone's time.

#15 of 91 Aaron Copeland

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Posted January 04 2003 - 07:58 PM

Quote:
The games look and play like PC games - that is, of course, because they're running on Intel chips and nVidia video cards.

Wait a minute. The "look" and "play" of games has nothing to do with what chips the games are using. That would be a software issue. Talk to the game developers about that one.
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#16 of 91 Romier S

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Posted January 04 2003 - 09:52 PM

*edited*

#17 of 91 Javier_Huerta

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Posted January 05 2003 - 01:05 AM

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.

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#18 of 91 Dave Bennett

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Posted January 05 2003 - 05:14 AM

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.
Regards,
Dave

#19 of 91 Gary King

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Posted January 05 2003 - 06:03 AM

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 of 91 Dave Bennett

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Posted January 05 2003 - 06:11 AM

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.
Regards,
Dave


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