Technology and Trends
 LinuxDVD Project Mailing List Archives
  
From bill.beal@lmco.com Fri, 04 Jun 1999 10:34:41 -0500
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 10:34:41 -0500
From: William D. Beal bill.beal@lmco.com
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

I have not read any of the other postings so I may repeat some other
message. If I am repeating, count this as a vote. Any hardware decoder
needs a great deal of flexability built into it. It must have the
ability to be upgraded by replacement of a chip or loading of an eeprom
or flashrom or similar semi-permanent memory.

From andreas@andreas.org 04 Jun 1999 17:52:39 +0200
Date: 04 Jun 1999 17:52:39 +0200
From: Andreas Bogk andreas@andreas.org
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

"William D. Beal" <bill.beal@lmco.com> writes:

> I have not read any of the other postings so I may repeat some other
> message. If I am repeating, count this as a vote. Any hardware decoder
> needs a great deal of flexability built into it. It must have the
> ability to be upgraded by replacement of a chip or loading of an eeprom
> or flashrom or similar semi-permanent memory.

May I ask why? The MPEG standard is pretty well-defined.

Andreas

-- 
Reality is two's complement. See:
ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/hb/hbaker/hakmem/hacks.html#item154

From Pvolcko@concentric.net Fri, 4 Jun 1999 12:07:28 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 12:07:28 -0400 (EDT)
From: Paul Volcko Pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

> > I have not read any of the other postings so I may repeat some other
> > message. If I am repeating, count this as a vote. Any hardware decoder
> > needs a great deal of flexability built into it. It must have the
> > ability to be upgraded by replacement of a chip or loading of an eeprom
> > or flashrom or similar semi-permanent memory.
> 
> May I ask why? The MPEG standard is pretty well-defined.
> 

This was my sentiment. Assuming the card will do nothing but decode
MPEG-2/MPEG-1 and/or AC-3/MPEG-1 there is likely to be very little change.
If the card does something with the DVD format, however, such as how the
data is laid out in the VOB files or something of that nature, then there
may be an argument for such a feature. While the MPEG and AC-3 specs are
not likely to chage to any great degree, there is the possibility for
change in the DVD Specs. While changes are not likely to make older
equipment and the decoder in question, not work. It seems like a good
idea to keep the door open to improve its abilities and keep pace with the
changes.

From rolando@nintendo.com.mx Fri, 04 Jun 1999 13:01:22 -0400
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 13:01:22 -0400
From: Rolando Cedillo rolando@nintendo.com.mx
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

I think what Bill refers to is the drive or the card should have the
ability to upload the region code for decryption on an EEPROM or FlashROM in
order to be used to secure the data transfer in the same hardware and driver
across different regions so we don't have to rewrite code. Creative Dxr2 kit
has the region setting inside an EEPROM chip, while in the Dxr3 this setting
is inside the DVD drive's firmware.

I also don't know of any "programmable" MPEG-2 decoder board, I think that
feature could make it vulnerable to hacks and counterfeiting, I don't see that
happening soon.

Rolando Cedillo
Otaku no naka no otaku, otaking da!!!

Paul Volcko wrote:

> > > I have not read any of the other postings so I may repeat some other
> > > message. If I am repeating, count this as a vote. Any hardware decoder
> > > needs a great deal of flexability built into it. It must have the
> > > ability to be upgraded by replacement of a chip or loading of an eeprom
> > > or flashrom or similar semi-permanent memory.
> >
> > May I ask why? The MPEG standard is pretty well-defined.
> >
>
> This was my sentiment. Assuming the card will do nothing but decode
> MPEG-2/MPEG-1 and/or AC-3/MPEG-1 there is likely to be very little change.
> If the card does something with the DVD format, however, such as how the
> data is laid out in the VOB files or something of that nature, then there
> may be an argument for such a feature. While the MPEG and AC-3 specs are
> not likely to chage to any great degree, there is the possibility for
> change in the DVD Specs. While changes are not likely to make older
> equipment and the decoder in question, not work. It seems like a good
> idea to keep the door open to improve its abilities and keep pace with the
> changes.
>
> _______________________________________________
> LinuxDVD maillist - LinuxDVD@linuxdvd.corepower.com
> http://linuxdvd.corepower.com/mailman/listinfo/linuxdvd

From andreas@andreas.org 04 Jun 1999 19:19:44 +0200
Date: 04 Jun 1999 19:19:44 +0200
From: Andreas Bogk andreas@andreas.org
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

Rolando Cedillo <rolando@nintendo.com.mx> writes:

> I think what Bill refers to is the drive or the card should have the
> ability to upload the region code for decryption on an EEPROM or FlashROM in
> order to be used to secure the data transfer in the same hardware and driver
> across different regions so we don't have to rewrite code. Creative Dxr2 kit
> has the region setting inside an EEPROM chip, while in the Dxr3 this setting
> is inside the DVD drive's firmware.

The region code has nothing to do with the encryption. The two are
totally separate mechanisms. The LSI board doesn't care about the
region code, it depends on the drive to handle this.

Andreas

-- 
Reality is two's complement. See:
ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/hb/hbaker/hakmem/hacks.html#item154

From rolando@nintendo.com.mx Fri, 04 Jun 1999 15:13:29 -0400
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 15:13:29 -0400
From: Rolando Cedillo rolando@nintendo.com.mx
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

Ok, I clearly misunderstood some of the concepts behind the decryption. I
better start reading some more docs =) Anyway, as far as I know, the region code
setting is the only thing that could ever need EEPROM or FlashROM, but in the
latest Creative drives this setting is embedded in the drive's firmware.

There's another issue I'd like to discuss. The CSS decryption can be done by
software means with many current processors and video/3D accelerated cards,
meaning a software Linux player would include copyrighted code and thus could not
be open source. Is there any way to get around this major issue, maybe a
freely-distributable commercial library like Qt?

There's this project to make a decoder board with hardware decryption in
http://linuxtv.org But I think software DVD and support for existing boards is
also needed. Any ideas?

Rolando Cedillo
Otaku no naka no otaku, otaking da!!!

Andreas Bogk wrote:

> Rolando Cedillo <rolando@nintendo.com.mx> writes:
>
> > I think what Bill refers to is the drive or the card should have the
> > ability to upload the region code for decryption on an EEPROM or FlashROM in
> > order to be used to secure the data transfer in the same hardware and driver
> > across different regions so we don't have to rewrite code. Creative Dxr2 kit
> > has the region setting inside an EEPROM chip, while in the Dxr3 this setting
> > is inside the DVD drive's firmware.
>
> The region code has nothing to do with the encryption. The two are
> totally separate mechanisms. The LSI board doesn't care about the
> region code, it depends on the drive to handle this.
>
> Andreas
>
> --
> Reality is two's complement. See:
> ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/hb/hbaker/hakmem/hacks.html#item154
>
> _______________________________________________
> LinuxDVD maillist - LinuxDVD@linuxdvd.corepower.com
> http://linuxdvd.corepower.com/mailman/listinfo/linuxdvd

From Pvolcko@concentric.net Fri, 4 Jun 1999 15:43:58 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 15:43:58 -0400 (EDT)
From: Paul Volcko Pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

> There's another issue I'd like to discuss. The CSS decryption can be done by
> software means with many current processors and video/3D accelerated cards,
> meaning a software Linux player would include copyrighted code and thus could not
> be open source. Is there any way to get around this major issue, maybe a
> freely-distributable commercial library like Qt?

Well the CSS portion will not be open source. That doesn't mean the
player may not have open source parts. Such as GUI code, OS interfacing,
etc. The other major part of the player will be interpreting and working
with presentation data on the DVD. I'm not sure how releasable code
pretaining to this stuff would be (assuming DVD Spec information was used
to implement it). This is one of the issues the group I'm in is dealing
with and trying to get a solid answer on.

> There's this project to make a decoder board with hardware decryption in
> http://linuxtv.org But I think software DVD and support for existing boards is
> also needed. Any ideas?

Yes, there is definite need and I think a higher level of support for a
software implementation of the CSS and mpeg/AC-3 decoders in Linux. This
gets messy though because any ac-3 related code in a program will mean
that the software has to be licensed by Dolby and there is a royalty that
needs to be paid to Dolby on every copy of the program distibuted. This
means no open source AC-3 (binary module only) and it will cost some
cash as well. I'm not sure if MPEG requires any royalties, can anyone
clear this up for me?

Important to note is that CSS is a free license, it's just increadibly
hard to get. At least this is what I've read and heard through various
channels.

Paul Volcko

From cdavis@thepentagon.com Sun, 06 Jun 1999 00:06:30 -0400
Date: Sun, 06 Jun 1999 00:06:30 -0400
From: Colin Davis cdavis@thepentagon.com
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

> 
> Yes, there is definite need and I think a higher level of support for a
> software implementation of the CSS and mpeg/AC-3 decoders in Linux. This
> gets messy though because any ac-3 related code in a program will mean
> that the software has to be licensed by Dolby and there is a royalty that
> needs to be paid to Dolby on every copy of the program distibuted. This
> means no open source AC-3 (binary module only) and it will cost some
> cash as well. 

This does not seem to be ideal.... What is the current legality of
reverse engineering?
What about in other (non-us) countries? What would seem ideal would be
an implementaion similiar to Mesa, where AC-3 works, but is not
ceritified. 
It was my under-standing (although I know little about the issue) that
as long as party A studied the original (a win9x dvd player), and just
types up how it works, this information can be given to party B, as long
as no-one from party B has actully looked beneath the surface of the
original, and no longer communicates with party A about the subject.


>
> Paul Volcko
>
--
Colin "Another option?" Davis





From cdavis@thepentagon.com Sun, 06 Jun 1999 13:56:51 -0400
Date: Sun, 06 Jun 1999 13:56:51 -0400Date: Sun, 06 Jun 1999 13:56:51 -0400
From: Colin Davis cdavis@thepentagon.com
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

Paul Volcko wrote:


> While I don't think there is any way they can stop reverse
> engineering of, say, the DVD specs. I can garentee there would be
> at least a costly legal investigation if not an all out court battle for
> whoever decided to release the products of the reverse engineering.
> 
> I'm not sure about the idea of making an AC-3 capable
> player/decoder but simply not getting it dolby certified. I believe
> AC-3 is a trademark so it would seem that if one made something
> that did handle AC-3 decoding and released it, they would not be
> able to actually say it did AC-3 decoding. Doing so would be use
> of the trademark and thus grounds for royalty payments. I'm not a
> lawyer. I really don't know for sure. But that is my initial take on
> it. If someone were to somehow "reverse engineer" AC-3 encoding
> and whatnot without using the publicly available AC-3 specs, then
> it would be a different situation entierly, I would think. But again,
> whoever is bold enough to release such a thing claiming original
> work or reverse engineering is begging for a lawsuit. Especially
> since the spec is publicly available it would be hard to prove that
> you didn't look at it in any way at all (granted you're innocent until
> proven guilty... but thats a whole other rant).
> 

What it really sounds like is that we need to consult a lawyer, to go
over the options.
The entire operation would be difficult, and expensive. I believe,
however, it would be the best way to solve the problem. Perhaps we could
interest some one with money (and a legal department) in the cause?
Example: Corel linux will have a problem compeating with Win9x if it
cannot play dvds. If not, we could speak to others, such as RedHat. 
Perhaps a combined effort between linux distos? 
I suggest we write up a plan, then submit it to commercial Linux
distributers to see if they will take care of the legal aspects.....

From pvolcko@concentric.net Sun, 6 Jun 1999 15:57:47 -0400
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 1999 15:57:47 -0400
From: Paul Volcko pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

> What it really sounds like is that we need to consult a lawyer, to go
> over the options.
> The entire operation would be difficult, and expensive. I believe,
> however, it would be the best way to solve the problem. Perhaps we could
> interest some one with money (and a legal department) in the cause?
> Example: Corel linux will have a problem compeating with Win9x if it
> cannot play dvds. If not, we could speak to others, such as RedHat. 
> Perhaps a combined effort between linux distos? 
> I suggest we write up a plan, then submit it to commercial Linux
> distributers to see if they will take care of the legal aspects.....

Sounds like an intersting idea. Only thing you'd realy have to 
watch out for, when trying to get a distro to put in work/time on 
this, is that it would be freely distributable. With all the IPOs and 
corporate linking happening with linux and various distributions, 
extra care is going to be needed to make sure the community 
rather than a company is being served with such an endeavour. 
(No I'm not knocking corporate involvement. Just making this 
rather obvious point that conflicts of interests can very easily arise.)

From raubitsj@writeme.com Sun, 6 Jun 1999 16:02:39 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 1999 16:02:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jeff Raubitschek raubitsj@writeme.com
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

On Sun, 6 Jun 1999, Colin Davis wrote:
> What it really sounds like is that we need to consult a lawyer, to go
> over the options.
> The entire operation would be difficult, and expensive. I believe,
> however, it would be the best way to solve the problem. Perhaps we could
> interest some one with money (and a legal department) in the cause?
> Example: Corel linux will have a problem compeating with Win9x if it
> cannot play dvds. If not, we could speak to others, such as RedHat. 
> Perhaps a combined effort between linux distos? 
> I suggest we write up a plan, then submit it to commercial Linux
> distributers to see if they will take care of the legal aspects.....

I talked to robert young personally about this very issue about a 8 months
ago. At that time he said that redhat wasnt in the position to take on
something like this. Maybe things have change in the past few months and
we should persue this again.

-jeff

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jeff Raubitschek 
Computer Engineer
raubitsj@writeme.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From cdavis@thepentagon.com Sun, 06 Jun 1999 23:04:12 -0400
Date: Sun, 06 Jun 1999 23:04:12 -0400
From: Colin Davis cdavis@thepentagon.com
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

Jeff Raubitschek wrote:
> 
> Thanks for using NetForward!
> http://www.netforward.com
> v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v
> 
> On Sun, 6 Jun 1999, Colin Davis wrote:
> > What it really sounds like is that we need to consult a lawyer, to go
> > over the options.
> > The entire operation would be difficult, and expensive. I believe,
> > however, it would be the best way to solve the problem. Perhaps we could
> > interest some one with money (and a legal department) in the cause?
> > Example: Corel linux will have a problem compeating with Win9x if it
> > cannot play dvds. If not, we could speak to others, such as RedHat.
> > Perhaps a combined effort between linux distos?
> > I suggest we write up a plan, then submit it to commercial Linux
> > distributers to see if they will take care of the legal aspects.....
> 
> I talked to robert young personally about this very issue about a 8 months
> ago. At that time he said that redhat wasnt in the position to take on
> something like this. Maybe things have change in the past few months and
> we should persue this again.
> 

Interesting....
I believe that asking again is worth a shot ;)
Perhaps we could set up a web page, listing the responses of the various
distos?
If we could get something tangable, we could generate public interest,
and start a letter writing campaign. 

I agree that we need to be careful however, not to let the solution be
tied to a specific distro. We should make it a point in out letters that
we want a free and open solutition, not a binary, i386, RedHat only
solution. 
I really believe that a reverse engineered soultion would be the best.
Leagally messy, but the best solution. We just need some one to do it,
and deal with the lawsuit.

> -jeff
> 
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Jeff Raubitschek
> Computer Engineer
> raubitsj@writeme.com
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> _______________________________________________
> LinuxDVD maillist - LinuxDVD@linuxdvd.corepower.com
> http://linuxdvd.corepower.com/mailman/listinfo/linuxdvd


--
Colin "Some ideas" Davis

From pvolcko@concentric.net Sun, 6 Jun 1999 23:31:38 -0400
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 1999 23:31:38 -0400
From: Paul Volcko pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Upgrade-ability

> > I talked to robert young personally about this very issue about a 8 months
> > ago. At that time he said that redhat wasnt in the position to take on
> > something like this. Maybe things have change in the past few months and
> > we should persue this again.
> > 
> 
> Interesting....
> I believe that asking again is worth a shot ;)
> Perhaps we could set up a web page, listing the responses of the various
> distos?
> If we could get something tangable, we could generate public interest,
> and start a letter writing campaign. 
> 
> I agree that we need to be careful however, not to let the solution be
> tied to a specific distro. We should make it a point in out letters that
> we want a free and open solutition, not a binary, i386, RedHat only
> solution. 

> I really believe that a reverse engineered soultion would be the best.
> Leagally messy, but the best solution. We just need some one to do it,
> and deal with the lawsuit.

Any takers to that wonderfully tempting invitation? :)

Well, unfortuneately I couldn't ever be part of a reverse engineered 
solution since I have worked and am currently working with actual 
DVD specs, AC-3 specs, and MPEG specs (still working on the 
CSS specs). If there are people out there willing and able to do it, I 
say go for it. But it will take a lot of time, to say the least. Even 
with the specs the group I'm in is targetting for a 3-6 month release 
time (depending on what hardware support we can get built in). 
Without the specs I couldn't evebn begin to guess at the amount of 
time that would be necessary to do this.

To be honest, I think that the Distro organizations would actually 
be better served and the community better served if they were to 
concentrate on a binary only application that was based on the 
actual specs. Two reasons, they avoid legal hassles and they 
have money to spend on getting the specs and pay people for 
programming time. The reverse engineering will be very man-hour 
intensive, something a open source, open community effort would 
probably excell at. A distro company/org is better suited to 
working with financially challenging problems but that result in 
quicker results/turnaround. 

My 2 cents.

Paul Volcko