[rescue] my NPR interview is up!
rescue at sunhelp.org
rescue at sunhelp.org
Tue Jul 31 07:02:29 CDT 2001
On Tue, 31 Jul 2001, Greg A. Woods wrote:
> It's all really stupid though. The idiots at real.com should have kept
> only one side or the other proprietary, depending on their guess as to
> where the best market was. The current state of having a proprietary,
> but free, client is just plain nuts -- it benefits no one, not even
Sure it does. The client must be free in order for the content to become
pervasive. Hiding the code for the client lowers (but certainly does not
eliminate) the risk of reverse engineering both the client and server,
which would lead to a loss of control. Real derives their money from
licensing the encoders and server side code, as well as advertising which
is enforced by the client.
One thing does puzzle me, though. I remember (a friend of a friend :)
tearing apart hundreds of thousands of lines of assembler to defeat copy
protection mechanisms in $19.95 games. Why haven't gung-ho hacking
teenagers high on 12-packs of coca cola ripped commercial codecs and a lot
of other interesting code to shreds by now? CSS is one of the few victims
I can think of off the top of my head.
a) Tearing apart 100,000 lines of (32-bit assembler of your choice) is
more challenging than tearing apart 100,000 lines of 6502 assembler.
Sure, but not enormously so. Nice things like split I/D and dynamic
linking can actually make it a lot easier. RISC code generated by
compilers may be suboptimal in a lot of ways, but it's easy to read once
you recognize certain constructs.
b) There are more appealing targets
This I can't believe. A reverse engineered RealPlayer codec would be worth
considerable hacker fame.
c) Hackers are getting more clueless at the low levels
"Look, I built this computer totally from scratch! I used an XYZ
motherboard, an ABC CPU and a QRS hard drive! It'll be K!RAD once I get
the neon light kit installed!"
Ok, there were always poseurs, but I sincerely hope that a chunk of the
new generation is still coming up with a logic probe in one hand and an
opcode chart in the other.
-James [ah, to be 15 again...]
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