For review

Paul F. Johnson paul at
Thu Sep 1 07:14:05 UTC 2005


> Even if the ROMs are licensed freely, and I'll assume that you have done
> your research and they are, they are most likely not released under an
> OSI license.  If you can't access the source code for the images, it
> isn't an OSI license.  

The source would be useless as it's all in Z80 machine code!

> The license status of the emulator does not
> matter in this regard.  This doesn't necessarily mean that the emulator
> cannot be included in Extras, but it does mean we wouldn't want to
> distribute the ROMs.  If you can find some demo programs that have been
> released under an OSI license, you might make a small package of those
> that can be placed in Extras to provide immediate usefulness to the
> emulator.  This would definitely help the case for getting it into
> Extras.  If you can build a complete OSS environment around this
> emulator, perhaps including things such as a few demo programs, asm
> compiler, and maybe some other supporting tools, it would be easy to
> demonstrate that the program has significant non-infringing uses, and
> would allow it to compared to the likes of Wine rather than MAME or ZSNES.

Okay, we're not talking about the same level of technology here - not
even close.

History lesson time.

During the early to mid 1980s, a whole pile of home micro computers
based on the Zilog Z80 (Spectrum, ZX81, Aquarius), the 6502 (BBC Micro
B, Oric 1) and 6809 (Dragon 32 and the Commodore 64) processors. These
machines came with a few leads, mainly to connnect to a tape recorder
and TV set. You switched them on and you were *instantly* transported
into BASIC (of one form or another). ROMS were typically 8k in size and
everything was coded in assembler.

Inside of BASIC, you had access to all of the sound and video resources
(and usually, all you had to do was type INK or COLOUR to get a change
of colour, it was nothing amazing). Sound could be as simple as typing
in BEEP. It was rare to find anything other than BASIC for these
machines (although the BBC B could have ROMS fitted which contained
Pascal or C or FORTH).

Assembler was also accessed through BASIC. For the Spectrum, this mean
typing in the raw hex. None of this LD A,&#51, but &61,&3C which was
then put directly into memory.

For the Spectrum, I'll exclude the 6 or so ROMs that appeared as plug
ins as they are as rare as a hens tooth and required special hardware
addons to get them to work. All software had to be loaded from audio
tape (until after Amstrad bought the spectrum and added a 3" drive).

Onto specifics on Fuse. Yes, I've looked into the licence for the ROMS -
as I've said though, a pile of Z80 is not going to be much use to anyone
(it does say though on the Fedora page I was referred to that
distribution of images was okay). The worldofspectrum website contains
just about everything that is available and the site owner has gone to
great lengths to ensure that the permission is there to freely
distribute the software.

There are some cross compiler tools which can generate software that
will run on the original 8 bit machines, but they are not included in
the RPM (and neither would I really want them to be, they're poor!)

Oh well. Time to get to work - another crappy day here I come...


"A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the
best and then make sure that you are. In my time at Liverpool we always
said we had the best two teams on Merseyside, Liverpool and Liverpool
Reserves." - Bill Shankly

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