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From masoto@uniandes.edu.co 15 Jun 1999 22:10:06 -0500
Date: 15 Jun 1999 22:10:06 -0500
From: Martin Soto masoto@uniandes.edu.co
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Creative dxr3 and Linux

Hello all:

I'd like to now if there's any support available under Linux for the
Creative Labs dxr3 DVD decoder card. I own one of these cards and
would be willing to help testing and/or developing the driver if
necessary.

Best regards,

M. S.
------------
Martin A. Soto J. Profesor
Departamento de Ingenieria de Sistemas y Computacion
Universidad de los Andes masoto@uniandes.edu.co

From Pvolcko@concentric.net Tue, 15 Jun 1999 12:26:19 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 12:26:19 -0400 (EDT)
From: Paul Volcko Pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Creative dxr3 and Linux

> Hello all:
> 
> I'd like to now if there's any support available under Linux for the
> Creative Labs dxr3 DVD decoder card. I own one of these cards and
> would be willing to help testing and/or developing the driver if
> necessary.
> 

As far as I know there is no support, official or otherwise. I know of no
efforts to do the drivers for this card (except for the project I'm
involved in, and we haven't the information we need to do the DXR3).
There had been some work done on the DXR2, but that effort has been
discontinued or at least pushed to the side... I think. (Person out of
RPI had some alpha level drivers or something done). 

As far as current projects go I think there are three or four. There's
the hardware decoder that Andres Bogk has been developing, which I think
is ready for manufacturing. I'm involved with a group of people from RIT
working on a DVD player application for linux that will handle all the DVD
Video data reading and handling as well as (hopefully) include support for
mpeg-2 vidoe decoding, software ac-3/pcm decoding, and a number of
hardware decoder solutions (including the previously mentioned card). I
exchanged a few emails with a person named Matt (I think) who was involved
with a similar project to the one I'm working on, but I haven't heard from
him in some time so I don't know if that effort is still underway. And
there is the project Andrew Veliath as been working on (the before
mentioned DXR2 project). 

All manufacturers seem to be stonewalling DVD on linux. From my
conversations with Sigma Designs (and this pretains to the Hollywood Plus
and the DXR3 boards) the reasons are that they have some legal problems
due to the CSS happening in software on their current generation of
boards and the fact that they didn't have anyone inhouse who knew linux
device driver programming. They were working on this problem both in
personel (This is how I came to get this information, I was asked to come
work for them. I had to turn it down though, so this is not "official"
information, just fairly reliable information.) and in hardware. Expect to
see something from SD in a few months that does have linux support.

Creative is most likely working on something too, but I have had no luck
in contacting them or getting information from them. As far as I know
everyone else's attempts have been met with great resistance as well.

Paul Volcko

From masoto@uniandes.edu.co 16 Jun 1999 00:39:17 -0500
Date: 16 Jun 1999 00:39:17 -0500
From: Martin Soto masoto@uniandes.edu.co
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Creative dxr3 and Linux

Paul Volcko <Pvolcko@concentric.net> writes:
> All manufacturers seem to be stonewalling DVD on linux. From my
> conversations with Sigma Designs (and this pretains to the Hollywood Plus
> and the DXR3 boards) the reasons are that they have some legal problems
> due to the CSS happening in software on their current generation of
> boards and the fact that they didn't have anyone inhouse who knew linux
> device driver programming. They were working on this problem both in
> personel (This is how I came to get this information, I was asked to come
> work for them. I had to turn it down though, so this is not "official"
> information, just fairly reliable information.) and in hardware. Expect to
> see something from SD in a few months that does have linux support.

I wonder if the CSS issue can be handled by simply not releasing those
portions of the card specifications that deal directly with CSS. I
think a driver that does MPEG decoding only (without the CSS
decryption) would be a nice first step towards getting complete
support for DVD playback (it could be used to play unencrypted DVDs,
for example). Has anyone approached Creative or Sigma with this idea
in mind?

On the other hand, would it be feasible at all, to consider reverse
engineering the card? I suppose that would need a lot of Winblows
hacking (VXD driver disassembling and the like) but I'm not
knowledgeable enough to estimate the amount of effort required for the
task. Any takers around? :-)

Regards,

M. S.
------------
Martin A. Soto J. Profesor
Departamento de Ingenieria de Sistemas y Computacion
Universidad de los Andes masoto@uniandes.edu.co

From Pvolcko@concentric.net Tue, 15 Jun 1999 14:29:26 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 14:29:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: Paul Volcko Pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Creative dxr3 and Linux

> > All manufacturers seem to be stonewalling DVD on linux. From my
> > conversations with Sigma Designs (and this pretains to the Hollywood Plus
> > and the DXR3 boards) the reasons are that they have some legal problems
> > due to the CSS happening in software on their current generation of
> > boards and the fact that they didn't have anyone inhouse who knew linux
> > device driver programming. They were working on this problem both in
> > personel (This is how I came to get this information, I was asked to come
> > work for them. I had to turn it down though, so this is not "official"
> > information, just fairly reliable information.) and in hardware. Expect to
> > see something from SD in a few months that does have linux support.
> 
> I wonder if the CSS issue can be handled by simply not releasing those
> portions of the card specifications that deal directly with CSS. I
> think a driver that does MPEG decoding only (without the CSS
> decryption) would be a nice first step towards getting complete
> support for DVD playback (it could be used to play unencrypted DVDs,
> for example). Has anyone approached Creative or Sigma with this idea
> in mind?
> 
> On the other hand, would it be feasible at all, to consider reverse
> engineering the card? I suppose that would need a lot of Winblows
> hacking (VXD driver disassembling and the like) but I'm not
> knowledgeable enough to estimate the amount of effort required for the
> task. Any takers around? :-)
> 

I'm not sure if that option has even been pursued (just getting MPEG
enabling specs for the cards). I'm not sure how feasible it would be to
actually just give people MPEG decoding ability and nothing else, but it's
worth asking. I'll get in touch with my contacts at sigma designs and see
if this it possible. Can't believe it never occurred to me before, good
call.

As for reverse engineering the drivers for these cards in windows, it
would be possible to be sure. The amount of work involved may outweigh
the benefits of doing it though. Not to mention, and I'm not entirely
sure on this, isn't reverse engineering in the way you suggest considered
illegal and a breach of license for the driver software? I'm sure this
depends on how the software's license is worded, but it would seem to be
the case in most licenses I would think. Am I wrong on this? It would be
a pain, but it might be worth it to do it ifi there aren't any legal
problems associated with it.

Paul

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