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Sony's War On Makers, Hackers, and Innovators 317

ptorrone writes "MAKE Magazine takes a look at Sony's history of suing makers, hackers and innovators. Over the last decade Sony has been targeting legitimate innovation, hobbyists, and competition. From picking on people who want to program their robot dogs to dance to suing people who want to run their own software on something they bought. Sony has made so many mistakes with technology choices (Memory Stick, Magic Gate, UMD!), perhaps they'll end themselves soon enough, but until then MAKE is keeping score for Sony's all-out war on tinkerers."
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Sony's War On Makers, Hackers, and Innovators

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  • by kmdrtako ( 1971832 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @09:17AM (#35311164)

    Considering their (high end) TVs and cameras, and I'd hazard a guess that their Blu-Ray players as well, all run Linux you'd think they'd be FOSS friendly, wouldn't you?

    Maybe someone just needs to explain things to them.

    I sure hope there's no Linux code in anywhere in the PS3 code base.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@gmai l . c om> on Friday February 25, 2011 @09:25AM (#35311196) Journal

    Using FOSS doesn't necessarily mean you're FOSS-friendly. It means you're technically adept (because FOSS software usually tends to be better than proprietary) and/or a cheap bastard.

    Contributing to FOSS, whether in terms of user support, code contributions, monetary donations, means you're FOSS-friendly. Sony has done none of those things. Sony is no more FOSS-friendly than a black hat who happens to use Linux (actually that's unfair, black hats probably help out noobs in the forums).

  • by SilenceBE ( 1439827 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @09:36AM (#35311276)
    I find it funny that Microsoft suddenly is becoming "hobyist" friendly. When adafruit announced the contest they condemned the contest and it was "illegal" or against the EULA. That is when adafruit even doubled the bounty. They sign their hardware peripherals, they have regio coding,... . It is easy to be something if the cat is already out of the bag... .

    The whole "we give geohot a WP7 because we support free tinkering" is really just a PR stunt. The day the guy would release the key to sign 360 games I don't think they will give him a free 360. They are even a member of the same anti piracy clubs as Sony... .
  • by commodore6502 ( 1981532 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @09:54AM (#35311386)

    >>>FOSS software usually tends to be better than proprietary

    I probably shouldn't question this.
    I probably should just walk-away and protect my karma.
    Please show me FOSS software that's better than ModelSim, Mentor's Schematic Capture/layout, or even something basic like - Microsoft Word or Outlook. I don't buy the argument that FOSS is usually better.

  • Re:It's simple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by robthebloke ( 1308483 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @10:19AM (#35311624)
    For all it's faults, at least Microsoft eventually notices what people are actually doing with it's hardware, and then takes steps to legitimise those uses. Take for example the introduction of XNA (having learnt the lessons from the homebrew scene on the original xbox), or the recent announcement that they'll be providing an SDK for Kinect (having noticed that most people buying kinect were homebrew coders having fun). Sony on the other hand, removes linux support, and then proceeds to sue anyone and everyone who bought their hardware for reasons other than playing games.

    You say that you don't want to support MS's efforts to prevent you tinkering, but to be honest they've given you C# & XNA for the purpose of doing just that. Yes C++ support would be nice, but I can see why that could cause too many problems (eg piracy), so I think they've come up with a reasonable half way house on this one. If you take a quick glance towards sony, you'll notice that they've started boarding up every window (of opportunity) on the PS3, and are currently in the process of mining the front garden with legal threats. The two approaches couldn't be more dissimilar imho..... It almost makes me 'like' microsoft!
  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @10:44AM (#35311896) Homepage Journal

    When it stopped being a pro & consumer electronics company, and started being a multimedia conglomerate.

    Suddenly the folks running Columbia Pictures had a say in the board-room concerning what products would do and be capable of.

    This is how we wound up with audio CDs that had root-kits on them, and MP3 players that didn't play MP3s. When Sony just made hardware, it was damn good hardware. Especially in the pro-area, stuff like BetacamSP was top-notch equipment.

    But they lost their way, become too convoluted, too mired in internal politics and too many chefs spoiling the soup.

    If they had *never* put their claws into all other media, and had just stayed a hardware company, Slashdotters would be singing their praises, and they'd probably be bigger than Apple.

  • Re:It's simple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @11:55AM (#35312626) Homepage Journal

    The average consumer, eh?

    I was aazed to find a relation of mine who had a complete kit to pirate Nintendo DS games for their kids. They're so average, normal and middle-of-the-road, and yet they'd found out how to use one of those carts and somehow accquired pirated games for it. Other similar 'average' accquaintances were running P2P software to get the latest music and movies. None of them were in the least geeky or technically advanced.

    I think the average consumer is far more inclined to commit copyright infringement than you imagine!

    If that has any bearing on the opposition and understanding of draconian, bought-and-paid-for copyright laws, all the better, IMO.

  • so that people don't own it. Problem solved.

    Buy a license to use some SONY gear, and during the term of your license, if you have trouble with it, drop it off or ship it to a depot, and get a new one, no worries.

    When you are done, return the device and carry on.

    That's really what they are trying to do, only they are trying to leverage the benefits of ownership, without also dealing with the realities of what people do with their stuff.

    If it's really that big of a deal to open the PS3, don't sell them to people. Simple as that.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments