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Dreamcast Modem Is Reverse Engineered 149

Posted by timothy
from the dialup-fever dept.
00_NOP writes "The hobbyist's favourite console - the Dreamcast - comes with one of those braindead Winmodems that have made it very difficult for those on the active DC development scene to use. But now all that is about to change. Thanks to a find on the internet and some heavy duty hacking - real modem support is almost here. This is fantastic news for the Linux and the NetBSD teams and for *nix advocates everywhere - as immediately millions more people could access these OSes and use them in a meaningful way to get online etc. Don't forget - four million plus of these things were sold in North America alone!"
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Dreamcast Modem Is Reverse Engineered

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  • by 00_NOP (559413) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @04:41PM (#4441906) Homepage
    But any kernel hackers interested in Linux on the DC are more than welcome at the #linuxdc channel on freenode/openprojects - irc.openprojects.net. Maybe you know about modems and you'd like to write us the driver?
  • Re:not a winmodem... (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrunNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:04PM (#4442000) Journal

    Actually, would be more accurate to say 'is capable of' running a version of WinCE. It's a title by title basis; the hardware itself doesn't run an OS, only a bootstrapper and a few hard-coded utils to play CDs, change the clock, and futz with the memory cards.

  • Re:not a winmodem... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jacquesm (154384) <j@w w . com> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:04PM (#4442004) Homepage
    the dreamcast modem uses a DSP of its own rather
    than the main processor which makes it an
    embedded modem rather than a winmodem
    (even when it is running CE which it technically
    can but which most games do not use because
    of the overhead that would bring with it)
  • by squarefish (561836) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:11PM (#4442028)
    as previosly mentioned here [slashdot.org], you can pre-order an ethernet adapter for the dreamcast at ncsx.org [ncsx.org] for 50 bucks!
    --scroll down about 1/2 way.
  • Minor problem... (Score:5, Informative)

    by baboyer (109846) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:13PM (#4442036)
    I know people here hate patents, but everyone should note that any modem driver written for this thing is going to infringe on a rather large number of patents. You've never seen such a mess of patents until you've looked at all the compression and error correction routines needed for a full software modem.
  • by certron (57841) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:23PM (#4442067)
    I followed the link, was happy, then was ... less happy.

    http://hh141.hiphip.com/templates/frmTemplateE.a sp ?CatalogID=4661&SearchYN=N&subFolderID=33

    it says that preorders are closed. :-( What does it mean? They needed 1000 to make a run, will they make a couple more...? Please? :-)

    Your comment deserves more mod points, too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:24PM (#4442070)
    Have a look here [electronsrus.com]. It's coming along...
  • by zaffir (546764) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:24PM (#4442071)
    According to the site, pre-orders have closed. Bummer, right? Well, i mailed them about this a week or so ago, and was told:

    Hello, the production will proceed and we will update our website and customers once we have more news on the ship date. Thanks.

    If this means that there will be plenty to go around, i do not know - but i hope so, seeing as i didn't get a pre-order in on time. I'm betting that major resalers ordered quite a few, though.
  • Re:not a winmodem... (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Vulture (248871) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:41PM (#4442134) Homepage
    Nope.

    The Dreamcast is not inherently tied to Windows CE in anyway.

    I can't really comment on the non-Sega projects for the Dreamcast, since I honestly haven't really followed them, but there are three official IP stacks for the Dreamcast.

    1. Windows CE - This one isn't really used that much. Windows CE was meant mainly as a quick port of existing Windows games. From what I recall hearing, there was a plan to have Windows CE exclusively as the Dreamcast OS (much like the original Dreamcast was supposed to use 3dfx chips, instead of PowerVR), but I think the execs at SOJ (Sega of Japsn) didn't like that idea, hence the SegaOS was made.

    2. PlanetWeb - The web browser that shipped with every Dreamcast, and was available in magazines, was called PlanetWeb, and I believe the company that made it was also known as PlanetWeb. They had the "official" Dreamcast IP stack if you were using the SegaOS - Windows CE was not required for IP connectivity.

    3. I can't remember the name of the third stack, but it was used mainly for broadband related titles. It was developed by a third party, and paid for by Sega of America and Sega of Europe, as an alternative to the PlanetWeb stack (because we wanted source code, and an optimized stack, and PlanetWeb didn't seem to care about that).

    Note that Windows CE, last time I checked (well, while I was working at Sega anyway, and I don't think that they released a new toolkit since then) NEVER supported the broadband adapter, they supported the modem only.

    -- Joe
  • Re:$199 Wal-Mart PC (Score:3, Informative)

    by monthos (591823) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:55PM (#4442171) Homepage Journal
    Why does it have to be the Open source comminity as a whole trying to compete?. The beuty of The open Source model is that i can do whatever the hell i want with my time and if you like it, you will use it. Its Projects like this that make it more diverse and more appealing. Not many people start there projects as competition to any other company/project, but as something they are intersted in.

    I use the dreamcast as a dumb X terminal, it loads up, and i get X Windows and can browse the web, use irc chat or do email. It works great for that and it serves its point in my home network. Im sure its the same way with other peoples setup or even the little kiddie who knows nothing of computer architecture and programming and just wants to see how different another system running on a completly different CPU architecture is.

  • Re:not a winmodem... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Talez (468021) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:04PM (#4442401)
    No

    Since another person has kindly derailed your WindowsCE argument, let me derail you on the hardware side.

    The Dreamcast uses a something along the lines of a hardware-accelerated software modem. The Hitachi SH4 that the dreamcast uses has a couple of registers and, IIRC, a couple of instructions specifically for working with the modem so that you don't have to fuck around when you're trying to work with the hardware.

    It's a software modem but not software in the sense that we're used to.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:25PM (#4442447)
    Who wants to bet that prices on the original U.S. run of BBAs will stay high (on the order of maybe +/- $125)? For non-hacker-geek console collectors, having a unit that can be proved to be from the original production run (with original documentation and packaging) is preferable to owning a re-release version. Like other collectors, console collectors work on a whole different set of values that nullifies logic.

    Last year, some of the smaller Japanese shops and import game stores still had surplus Japanese stock of BBAs lying about. Those had a resale value of only 90%-100% of retail price on auction sites, because collectors (A) knew about them and (B) didn't want them. Hackers, of course, didn't care, and bought them up at reasonable prices.
  • Four million? (Score:3, Informative)

    by exceed (518714) on Monday October 14, 2002 @12:42AM (#4443592)
    Don't forget - four million plus of these things were sold in North America alone!"

    And who is really going to run a *nix variant on them except for a few hardcore geeks?

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