Letter to Microsoft to open-source MSX Bios and MSX Basic

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By tcruise

Master (133)

Аватар пользователя tcruise

05-02-2011, 07:25

It was in widely use
not completely sure, but shouldn't that be 'in wide use' or 'widely used'?

Correct - I missed that one

Even the Soviet Mir station was controlled by an MSX computer over a certain period of time back then
Not completely sure if it was controlled by an MSX computer or if it was merely there for some data analysis and/or entertainment + possible spare parts.

Yeah we might want to be a bit more general on that, as we don't really know it as fact. From what I have seen/remember it is all from just one photo.

Because of this, we would like to request the general release or license of
are you sure it is license of and not licensing of?

license of is fine, but so is licensing of as the plural of the item being referred to is not certain - English can be over complicated sometimes Smile

Also, might it be an idea to mention Ascii's MSXPLAYER emulator which (I assume) has been distributed with the BIOS/ROM already?
Also a very good point, any others we have missed?

By tcruise

Master (133)

Аватар пользователя tcruise

05-02-2011, 07:31

AS?
@Tanni: Ankylosing Spondylitis

It's also called Morbus Bechterew. Does not sound good.

Especially as my current issue is that it effecting my hands at the moment - bit hard for a programmer. The bouts of tiredness I have been getting lately are the thing that is has been annoying me lately. Work during the day, and then sit down later at night to do hobby stuff i.e. MSX Smile but somedays just get too tired - most annoying.

By Tanni

Hero (556)

Аватар пользователя Tanni

05-02-2011, 15:24

Do we need to capitalize the ''the'' in ''the Netherlands''?
Not as far as I know.

So the article doesn't belong to the official English rendering of the name?

Even the Soviet Mir station was controlled by an MSX computer over a certain period of time back then
Not completely sure if it was controlled by an MSX computer or if it was merely there for some data analysis and/or entertainment + possible spare parts.

Yeah we might want to be a bit more general on that, as we don't really know it as fact. From what I have seen/remember it is all from just one photo.

Back in the day, there were a dayly TV broadcast after the end of the regular TV program in the Bayrische Rundfunk showing -- besides others -- the interiour of the Mir space station. The editor of the MSX-Contakt, Gerd Pepela, pointed out that there is an MSX computer on board. It showed up two or three times, IIRC.

www.br-online.de/br-alpha/space-night/

As I have stopped wasting my time with TV in the year 2000, I don't actually know if they still show that special film.

www.br-shop.de/produkte/themenwelten/kult-aus-dem-all/detail/art/space-night-the-journey-continues/

That COULD be the TV transmission I mean. I'm not sure because they call it ''Space Night -- The Journee Continues...''.

Wouldn't it be possible for a Russian speaking member of the board to find out what that MSX on Mir was used for?

By Tanni

Hero (556)

Аватар пользователя Tanni

05-02-2011, 16:00

Letter to Microsoft, version 3

To whom it may concern.

This is an open letter from members of the MSX community. MSX is a Z80-based international home computer standard introduced in the early 80’s featuring system software based on Microsoft products. It was widely used especially in Japan, Korea, Arabia, the former Soviet Union, Europe, especially in the Netherlands and Spain, South America, Australia and other countries with smaller communities as well. Even the Soviet Mir station was equipped with an MSX computer over a certain period of time back then, so it is of some historical importance. Over thirty companies regularly produced hardware according to that standard, and lots of hobbyists do so up to today. There is still software development, too, including competitions such as MSXdev. Several websites all over the world are dedicated to that ingenious and easy to extend home computer system.

Because of this, we would like to request the general release or license of MSX BIOS and MSX BASIC including any documentation. It does not need to be fully open-sourced, but we at least would like to have a license that makes it easy to copy and modify it, without restrictions.

Benefits to Microsoft:

• No loss to Microsoft, as it is a hobbyist scene and therefore very little chance of future revenues based on that software.

• Increasing goodwill to a community that loves the MSX standard and therefore provides free promotion of Microsoft as a whole.

• Boosting retro computing (which has been gaining broad consumer appeal), especially a system Microsoft was involved in.

• It brings to light Microsoft’s early attempts at developing standard-based operating systems which can surely only help to further Microsoft’s community image.

• The MSX 1 BIOS listing has already been released in the past (See MSX BIOS published by Quest Publishing in 1985).

• Other software companies such as Borland and Hitech have already released or relaxed rights on software to retro communities, so there is good precedent for agreements of this sort.

Why is this license/release needed?

There are several MSX emulators -- some of the most elaborated ones are blueMSX and openMSX -- running on Windows and other operating systems, allowing the expanding MSX community to experience and enjoy an MSX system without the need of physical MSX hardware; which is getting harder to obtain in working condition anyway. This allows a much wider audience to participate in the retro computing community previously restricted to owners of physical hardware.

In order to also make the use of MSX emulators available to a wider community, it would be desirable for MSX BIOS and MSX BASIC to be distributed along with these emulators, thus the catalyst for this request.

We do understand that there may be other parties (ASCII Corporation etc.) that will need to be jointly involved in this request if it is to come to pass. But we as a community are unsure about the current ownership of MSX BIOS and MSX BASIC, so, as a first step, we modestly ask for clarification on the status of each of the software titles.

Sincerely yours

By Manuel

Ascended (19058)

Аватар пользователя Manuel

05-02-2011, 22:42

Some comments in order to get a better letter:

What is the difference between 'fully open sourced' and 'a license that makes it easy to copy and modify it, without restrictions.'?

The fact that the listing as been already released in the past is not a benefit for Microsoft. Nor is the fact that other companies did something with old software. In other words, the last 2 bullets are good points, but are not benefits for Microsoft.

Asking for clarification on the status is not the same as requesting 'the general release' (whatever that means) of those ROMs.

By Tanni

Hero (556)

Аватар пользователя Tanni

06-02-2011, 00:03

What is the difference between 'fully open sourced' and 'a license that makes it easy to copy and modify it, without restrictions.'?
This passage has been there in the first draft already, and I already said that I have some problems with it, see my post form February 05 2011, 01:04. And I've already told that I don't know much about the juristics of licencing.

See also my post from February 02 2011, 22:33:


This release does not have to be fully open-sourced, but at least have a license that makes it easy to copy and modify it, without restrictions.

Doesn't the one thing (easy to copy and modify) implies the other (fully open-sourced), even if it doesn't mean to be put to an open source repository? Easy to copy means that there will be various copies around, and easy to modify means that there is lots of documentation available.

and RetroTechie's reply from February 03 2011, 17:09. And see muffie's post from February 03 2011, 00:47:

Vampier and everyone else: im terrible with letters, suck in English and a lammah in copyright licenses. Can someome plz prepare a full text? I'll ask Diego how long he'll be staying there...

You can't expect that everyone knows all and everything!

The fact that the listing as been already released in the past is not a benefit for Microsoft. Nor is the fact that other companies did something with old software. In other words, the last 2 bullets are good points, but are not benefits for Microsoft.
For your second item, see the Remarks section in my post from February 04 2011, 20:51.

Benefits to Microsoft

Not all items are benefits, especially the last two. They only state facts. So we have to rework that section.

Asking for clarification on the status is not the same as requesting 'the general release' (whatever that means) of those ROMs.
It was meant as a first step, as the original draft pointed out.

By muffie

Paladin (933)

Аватар пользователя muffie

06-02-2011, 11:27

Can I put version 3 on a MS office doc document and send it? Any further changes?

By tcruise

Master (133)

Аватар пользователя tcruise

06-02-2011, 11:40

Need a list of email contacts for the bottom, and some reference URLs e.g. www.msx.org, http://www.asciimw.jp/.

I will still make enquiries this week about possible contacts to send it to at Microsoft. Multiple deliveries will not hurt and may actually increase the likelyhood of actually getting it to an appropriate person.

We can also still look into the petition sites, for later down the track.

By Manuel

Ascended (19058)

Аватар пользователя Manuel

06-02-2011, 14:05

It was meant as a first step, as the original draft pointed out.

Yes, but the letter now mentions both. Which do you mean? The letter doesn't point that out.

Regarding the license, this should be clarified. Otherwise we might end up with something that isn't useful after all...

By Tanni

Hero (556)

Аватар пользователя Tanni

06-02-2011, 16:24

@ muffie: We still need lots of changes and some more participation from other board members.

@ tcruise: Multipe deliveries? Does letters to MS get lost that easily?

@ Manuel: After such a letter, we'll get an answer, I hope. Provided that Microsoft will oblige us, there will be more correspondence.

Why is there so little participation on that thread and on the contents of the letter itself?

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