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Retron 5 contains multiple GPL violations, illegally uses Retroarch code

thefil

Member
*edit* just noticed this post about this in the Retron 5 thread, but I think it's big enough to deserve a new topic.

You should not purchase the Retron 5.

From the libretro blog:

Anyway, as it stands right now in its current state the product is using parts of our software illegally. There were also some other things found that were legally questionable like a Microsoft-licensed Verdana font which is covered by a End-User License Agreement, so there are multiple license violations here at play.

The problems with this are many-fold, but for us it comes down to mixing non-commercial cores on this device with more permissively licensed cores, the infringement of the emulator authors’ rights, the lack of credit paid where credit is due, the lack of freedom in the hardware device (which restricts the user in what he/she can do and makes him/her reliant on Hyperkin to serve as the gateway keeper since he/she can’t uncripple this version of Android on their device without voiding their warranty and they can’t run the uncrippled RetroArch frontend on it either), and the multiple conflicting licenses. Also, the fact that changes / patches to the sourcecode have not been provided to customers of this device. These should have been made available on a public place free of charge.

Open-source is not a matter of doing with it as you please. The license is there for a reason and it needs to be followed, and it dictates how you should go about your business when deciding to make a commercial product out of such software. GPL is known as a ‘viral license’ which means that the community behind this uses the viral nature of the GPL as an effective strategy to ensure more and more software gets licensed under the GPL, since every bit of GPL code that gets incorporated into another project needs to be made GPL or GPL-compatible as well otherwise it’s a violation of the license. As it stands right now, the software for the Retron5 is very likely illegal to distribute.

What makes this particularly insidious is that Hyperkin seems to have tried to obfuscate their illegal code use, meaning they knew they were doing something wrong and went ahead anyway. As it stands, they are selling a product which illegally locks down a platform that should by license be open and free for the users to modify as they see fit.
 
Just chiming in to say I love my Retron 5. It's an amazing machine. With that said, I'd love for Retroarch to release a way to install their front-end on the Retron 5.
 

Rich!

Member
I mean hell, it's laughable that they not only ripped off Retroarch's code, but utilized it in a way that was far inferior to the free software on a PC.
 

phants

Member
Now I feel less bad I never got the one I paid for on kickstarter over a year ago, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.
 

Eusis

Member
Now I feel less bad I never got the one I paid for on kickstarter over a year ago, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.
Meh, that'd just mean they pocketed your money rather than actively needing to expend it to supply you with one.
 

VARIA

Member
An open source retro console, that could be fully customizable and did everything the Retron 5 does would be glorious.

So now they're either going to take it off the market or be forced to make it free to customize with a software update?
 
Not surprised in the least.

Also, lol at using SNES9x Next for the snes emulation. Just goes to show that the retron folk don't care if the experience is accurate. But then we knew that when it transpired the emulation was being done in software on android
 

Inuhanyou

Believes Dragon Quest is a franchise managed by Sony
Take it off the market. Its using emulators to start with, which is a big nono
 

gngf123

Member
Take it off the market. Its using emulators to start with, which is a big nono
Using emulators isn't a problem. Emulation is fine. Not always the most accurate but there are no legal issues with it.

The problem is elsewhere, and makes me happy that I hadn't picked one up yet.
 

Timeless

Member
Not surprised in the least.

Also, lol at using SNES9x Next for the snes emulation. Just goes to show that the retron folk don't care if the experience is accurate. But then we knew that when it transpired the emulation was being done in software on android
Yeah, they should have put higan (formerly known as bsnes) on a wimpy Android device. Higan can bring gaming PCs to their knees but a $150 Android box can handle it. edit: Turns out I misinterpreted the post I was responding to. Oh well.
 

Atolm

Member
So now they're either going to take it off the market or be forced to make it free to customize with a software update?

They'll get away with it, sadly. The GPL doesn't have Apple or Samsung to stand up for it. That's why the only effective way to fight this sort of piracy (because that's what this is) is to avoid the product.
 

Stimpack

Member
That's very disappointing. From everything I've read about these guys, they're real pieces of... work.

Yeah, they should have put higan (formerly known as bsnes) on a wimpy Android device. Higan can bring gaming PCs to their knees but a $150 Android box can handle it.

Wait, wait. Why is it not known as BSNES anymore?
 

Krejlooc

Banned
and retroarch

Can the Retrone5 even back up or restore saves from the carts? That's the best part of the Retrode. I use it to format shift my games. Begin playing Phantasy Star IV on my real genesis, then go to my retrode, dump the SRam, and continue the thing on my phone. When I get back home, dump the sram from my phone back into my PSIV cart, and continue my progress on the genesis.

That, and that the retrode was compatible with all sorts of systems like the old-school gameboy or the N64 or the Master System. It could also accept a real 32X to dump real 32X carts with.
 

Krejlooc

Banned
they don't make those anymore

Ha, up until literally last week they were still in stock at dragonbox, but now they're showing out of stock. They must have just run out of stock.

Ah well, sucks for everyone else I guess. There is always ebay.
 

Lafazar

Member
Not surprised in the least.

Also, lol at using SNES9x Next for the snes emulation. Just goes to show that the retron folk don't care if the experience is accurate. But then we knew that when it transpired the emulation was being done in software on android

What else do you think they should be using? It's not like there is a great selection of SNES emulation cores for the ARM architecture.

Though I do agree that Android is a bad choice for emulation.

Edit: Answered below. I didn't know next still uses speedhacks.
 

benny_a

extra source of jiggaflops
if the problem is really a GPL violation they just need to release any modified code they used. ( just like nintendo does http://www.nintendo.co.jp/support/oss/ )

no biggie
That doesn't erase the violations of the past and that only works with GPLv2. (Given the examples from the article.)

Because they allegedly also use Retroarch code which is licensed as GPLv3 they need to give owners the ability to put modified code on the hardware.

This is all assuming they will not settle this in different ways by licensing Retroarch outside the publicly available license.
 
Yeah, they should have put higan (formerly known as bsnes) on a wimpy Android device. Higan can bring gaming PCs to their knees but a $150 Android box can handle it.

What? I wasn't talking about using bsnes's accuracy core. Just the current WIP snes9x without next's speedhacks or the old performance core of bsnes would have been fine. Both are pretty accurate.

Plus using android is pretty funny in itself. I wonder if it's customised to remove all the bloat
 

_Ryo_

Member
I've got to respect the man for keeping calm when his liscense has been so shamelessly violated.

Hopefully the maker of the Retron 5 does the right thing.
 

Man God

Non-Canon Member
I sure when retroarch was built it didn't steal ANY code at all from the systems it emulated, or was built completely independent of the efforts of other code stealers. Turn about is fair play.
 

benny_a

extra source of jiggaflops
I sure when retroarch was built it didn't steal ANY code at all from the systems it emulated, or was built completely independent of the efforts of other code stealers. Turn about is fair play.
What is a code stealer? Please elaborate and cite specifics so they can be verified.
 

Rich!

Member
I sure when retroarch was built it didn't steal ANY code at all from the systems it emulated, or was built completely independent of the efforts of other code stealers. Turn about is fair play.

Of course it didn't. Retroarch isn't an emulator, its a modular system that utilizes emulator cores. That's what has been ripped off, not the emulator code itself.

Read up on it, as you have the completely wrong idea and your comment is absolutely unfair to the guys behind Retroarch, not to mention totally uninformed.

What is RetroArch?

RetroArch is the official reference frontend for the libretro API. Libretro is a simple but powerful development interface that allows for the easy creation of emulators and games that can plug straight into any libretro-compatible frontend. This development interface is open to others so that they can run these pluggable emulator and game cores also in their own programs or devices.

It's a frontend. AKA you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.
 

Krejlooc

Banned
I sure when retroarch was built it didn't steal ANY code at all from the systems it emulated, or was built completely independent of the efforts of other code stealers. Turn about is fair play.

You sound like you know what you're talking about
 

Krejlooc

Banned
The Retrode, for those confused:



The retro gamer's best tool
 

Stimpack

Member
Because it emulates more than the SNES now.

lol... what?! Alright, now I've got to go see this for myself.

*edit* Oh, wow, threads from 2012. That goes to show how closely I've followed SNES emulation. The last thing I've booted up was Retroarch, though, and I'm probably going to end up sticking with it. "All"-in-one solutions are a godsend.
 

Inuhanyou

Believes Dragon Quest is a franchise managed by Sony
Why is using emulators a big no no?

Emulators are perfectly legal. Sick and tired of people thinking otherwise and complaining about them.

Using emulators isn't a problem. Emulation is fine. Not always the most accurate but there are no legal issues with it.

The problem is elsewhere, and makes me happy that I hadn't picked one up yet.

I'm referring to the fact that they are charging for putting in your own carts in a box and not have it run software perfect. For purists, emulators in a box defeats the whole purpose of the unit. Otherwise you'd just get the emulator for free and play it through other means.

For me that's only a small portion of the problem. The bigger problem is Retron blatantly using tech they didn't have any right to use and putting it in there.

Either way, take it off the market. I wanted to buy one, but they don't deserve the money for scummy practices
 

Bgamer90

Banned
Man -- I was putting the finishing touches on my Retron 5 video/review. I can't recommend this product now and would feel terrible if I put the video up after being informed about this.

I have one and it's works perfectly in terms of what I bought it for (play my old catridge games via HDMI & just overall convenience) but this is messed up.
 
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