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  • Revenge On Reverse Engineering

    Phoronix: Revenge On Reverse Engineering

    Revenge, a clean-room reverse engineering utility being developed by Oliver McFadden for Radeon graphics cards, is nearing its 1.0 release. This utility is designed for reverse engineering the ATI graphics cards and their binary driver.

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...item&px=NjAyNA

  • #2
    I'd like to help. Is there a deb package for Ubuntu? Also, how will this affect my everyday computer use? With the machine be slower/more crash prone/something else?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dotancohen View Post
      I'd like to help. Is there a deb package for Ubuntu? Also, how will this affect my everyday computer use? With the machine be slower/more crash prone/something else?
      I don't think that these reports are needed any more due to the RadeonHD driver and the specifications AMD provides/will provide.

      Correct me if I'm wrong.

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      • #4
        documentation is not going to cover everything....

        as ati said - radeonhd will be a simple opensource driver, with basic functionality.

        when ati will release final set of docs and say that it's not going to release any more - then revenge will be put to use again. it's going to be way easier then, since many registers name and behavior will be already known.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by yoshi314 View Post
          documentation is not going to cover everything....

          as ati said - radeonhd will be a simple opensource driver, with basic functionality.

          when ati will release final set of docs and say that it's not going to release any more - then revenge will be put to use again. it's going to be way easier then, since many registers name and behavior will be already known.
          Heh... You weren't s'posed to say that...

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          • #6
            well, sorryy about that

            but that's common knowledge. isn't it?

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            • #7
              "la la la la la la...."

              I think there are two different discussions going on here -- one about Conntest and one about Revenge.

              Conntest is a utility the SuSE guys used to collect connector information on cards so that they could put the resulting info into the radeonhd driver and support new configurations. Those reports are generally not needed any more since the driver now picks up connector info from AtomBIOS. Revenge is a reverse engineering tool designed to intercept driver accesses to help figure out how to program the chip.

              Without sounding naive, our plan is to release all the information we can have in the public domain with acceptable business risk, so that open source developers can spend more time writing great drivers and less time trying to understand the hardware.

              If the outcome of our documentation effort is that we just raise the starting point for reverse engineering, which will pretty much guarantee that RE efforts will discover and disclose information which puts our business at risk, that's not a great way to motivate other HW suppliers (or even AMD) to support open source development in the future.

              I am asking you to fundamentally re-think the relationship between open source developers and hardware vendors, at least in our case. Make sense ?

              Now, where was I ? Oh yes, "la la la la la ...."
              Last edited by bridgman; 11-26-2007, 06:21 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                I am asking you to fundamentally re-think the relationship between open source developers and hardware vendors, at least in our case. Make sense ?

                Now, where was I ? Oh yes, "la la la la la ...."
                Heh... I do believe I said "You shouldn't have said that" as much for tongue in cheek purposes as for a very real thing- we're both walking a fine line here, the community and AMD. I don't want to step on your employer's toes to the point that they don't do this anymore. I want to have a Winner all the way around with this. But, in the same breath, I have to point out that every one of the hardware companies (AMD included in that...) dealing with Media "protection" have it bass-ackwards when it comes to the media space.

                You see...

                Media Companies: Multi-Billion Dollar Business.
                Hardware and Software Companies: Multi-TRILLION Dollar Business that hardly depends on the other to exist.

                You don't NEED them. Honest.

                There's enough wonderous stuff popping up without the Warner's and Disney's of the world- and it's happening in spite of them. That's because they're more interested in strip mining the profits out of Culture and trying to "dictate" what is and isn't Culture.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                  Heh... I do believe I said "You shouldn't have said that" as much for tongue in cheek purposes as for a very real thing- we're both walking a fine line here, the community and AMD. I don't want to step on your employer's toes to the point that they don't do this anymore.
                  You summed it up well -- I'm getting very "wise", professional reactions from the developers w.r.t. reverse engineering -- enough so to surprise some of the folks here.

                  There's a sign on a roof garden in London -- "Gentlemen will not, and others must not pick the flowers". So far I've run into nothing but gentlemen.

                  Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                  Media Companies: Multi-Billion Dollar Business.
                  Hardware and Software Companies: Multi-TRILLION Dollar Business that hardly depends on the other to exist. You don't NEED them. Honest.
                  Yeah, last time I looked the entertainment business was smaller than the potato chip business. Question is what the exit strategy would be -- if we say "we're not supporting DRM any more" the OEMs will thank us for sharing our views, make it clear that they respect our philosophical stand, and then buy all their graphics chips from Green or Blue.

                  Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                  There's enough wonderous stuff popping up without the Warner's and Disney's of the world- and it's happening in spite of them. That's because they're more interested in strip mining the profits out of Culture and trying to "dictate" what is and isn't Culture.
                  I wouldn't know... I don't watch television. Just old Sledge Hammer re-runs

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                    You summed it up well -- I'm getting very "wise", professional reactions from the developers w.r.t. reverse engineering -- enough so to surprise some of the folks here.
                    Won't surprise me at all. I'm an old geezer in this space, having used Linux for well over a decade and been in the industry some 20+ years. I'm one of the people that worked hard to get us to the position that we're in today- and it didn't come by way of stepping on people's toes.

                    As it stands, while I've issues with DRM and all, I'll take what all I can get in the way of this sort of support you're working towards giving us. I wish it was happening faster (as the proprietary stuff just isn't there yet- sorry...) so we could get enough up that I don't have to question whether or not one of the titles I'm working on will have adequate driver support or not. As it stands right now, your main competitor has the only suitable parts and adequate drivers. I don't like that situation, as I'm sure you and AMD don't like it either.

                    There's a sign on a roof garden in London -- "Gentlemen will not, and others must not pick the flowers". So far I've run into nothing but gentlemen.
                    I think you'll find that I fit into the Gentlemen category in that analogy. I won't go and do RE on things unless it becomes clear that I won't get the info I need and I actually NEED some functionality.

                    Too easy to alienate a vendor otherwise- too easy to negotiate a rational response to things like DRM support in the hardware.

                    Yeah, last time I looked the entertainment business was smaller than the potato chip business. Question is what the exit strategy would be -- if we say "we're not supporting DRM any more" the OEMs will thank us for sharing our views, make it clear that they respect our philosophical stand, and then buy all their graphics chips from Green or Blue.
                    I'm not 100% sure that's what'll happen. We're already about to hit a threshold where the DRM and other stuff like it will get enough in the way of people doing things they've gotten used to doing that they'll quit buying the tech gear. What happens then?

                    I wouldn't know... I don't watch television. Just old Sledge Hammer re-runs
                    I'm not much farther behind you there. All I care to watch is things like Future Weapons on Discovery- and the music I listen to the most isn't signed on a label and you find the live performances in Renaissance Festivals.

                    What the Media Companies tend to offer these days is Excrement Locked In A Safe. No thanks, I'll pass on that.

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                    • #11
                      >>We're already about to hit a threshold where the DRM and other stuff like it will get enough in the way of people doing things they've gotten used to doing that they'll quit buying the tech gear. What happens then?

                      My guess ? DRM will survive, entertainment $$ will drop, movie stars will stop earning $20M per movie and the crazy Hollywood spending will become unsustainable, costs and wages will fall to the point where the finished product can be sold at a decent price, a lot more countries will come onstream with first-world economies, media prices will drop enough that people start buying again, and DRM will get relaxed and become more like the lock on your front door than a vault door.

                      Not sure what will happen with professional sports, which is a remarkably similar business other than being able to rely on the appeal of live performances and so not having to worry about controlling what happens to recorded performances.

                      Music already seems to be going that way.

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                      • #12
                        I think that, in the end, media companies will figure out that no DRM will stop a really determined hacker, and realize that they are only alienating their good customers.

                        They may not like it, but they may have to trust their customers. I know that the attitude in my generation (now entering college) is that there isn't really anything wrong with downloading copyrighted stuff from, for example, bittorent, but if the content is well made, you should pay to get it legit. In the entertainment industry (and I think this what the industry hasn't understood so far) people will pay for well made content, even if it is available for free from pirates. People want to support the people and the companies that make good content so that they can continue to do so.

                        Look for example at webcomics. Megatokyo is available for free online. And yet, people buy the books, buy the merchandise, and the creator makes his living off the comic. I really do think that the rest of the entertainment industry could offer something similar. They could even bypass the pirates and offer partial content for free as a hook to get people to buy the whole thing. Imagine being able to watch half a movie online for free. Can you imagine how many people would spring immediately to buy the second half?

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                        • #13
                          Revenge can also be used as a debugging tool for driver development, as well as
                          for reverse engineering. Revenge was also started before AMD released any
                          documentation, so it's not just a project to annoy AMD. ;-)

                          Revenge could be used to reverse engineer the parts that AMD are not releasing
                          for legal reasons; video decoding, etc. I won't be doing this, because I don't
                          care about the graphics cards video decoding capabilities. I can play video just
                          fine without hardware acceleration...

                          I would caution anyone else about reverse engineering the video decoding
                          capabilities; AMD are doing a very good thing by releasing documentation. I
                          think we should respect their wishes here.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            you're right.

                            i just got curious what's the current opinion on revenge.

                            still, the tool is out. somebody is bound to use it the way it was used till now (reverse engineering), when ati didnt' care about linux that much.

                            i as basically thinking "what if the complete set of docs didn't cover some basic functionality that would seriously reduce their performance vs fglrx in 2d, 3d or video playback?" (as that's what the docs are about to cover).


                            My guess ? DRM will survive, entertainment $$ will drop, movie stars will stop earning $20M per movie and the crazy Hollywood spending will become unsustainable, costs and wages will fall to the point where the finished product can be sold at a decent price, a lot more countries will come onstream with first-world economies, media prices will drop enough that people start buying again, and DRM will get relaxed and become more like the lock on your front door than a vault door.
                            they won't go down without a fight.

                            getting rid of drm is going to be like a weekend in hell.

                            when the profits will start to drop they'll increase the prices. then they'll start accusing everybody around of piracy and hurting their interests. then they might make copyright law even more. then you'll start being accused by hollywood riches that they can't make money because of you.

                            finally they'll accuse you of not being able to make a sequel to their movie (oh, that's actually a GOOD thing! ) because the previous one didn't sell.

                            then it's going to be ugly. and maybe, just maybe, someone will realize that cutting costs by not paying all those redundant companies (copy protection company, distributor and the likes) will actually be more cost-effective than wasting money on fighting customers with drm.

                            still, the hardware market is ridden with drm. we have it in our tv, dvd players, blu-ray, game consoles, hdmi connectors. it just won't go away that easily.

                            I think that, in the end, media companies will figure out that no DRM will stop a really determined hacker, and realize that they are only alienating their good customers.
                            they already do. every protection gets defeated sooner or later. discarding drm requires some courage, though. or some guarantee that this move will pay off. not many have tried yet, but some of them show pretty good profits in their drm-less adventure. (e.g. magnatune, amazon, apple, radiohead).

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                            • #15
                              then they might make copyright law even more.
                              look at what happened in france: people could be banned (permanently) from getting an internet connection if they're found downloading stuff.
                              the problem is not drm, the real problem is: don't bother getting money into such things and just invest that money into producing better stuff and at lower prices. i'm personally convinced that if music/films would cost half of now at least 60-70% of people who downloads them would instead buy them. i personally don't buy regular dvds but expect the movie to be passed on satellite tv or borrow them from blockbuster. the music around is not good anymore (thanks god that sometimes i can get old good metal or 70's - 80's music at low prices less than 15 euros).
                              the same goes for software: i've switched to linux about 2 years ago since i didn't liked being always behind with the software and i'm now using only opensource or free licensed software. i've got my working copy of windows xp but i won't go back to it since i don't have good licensed programs and admin tools. i don't play games since there's nothing good around and it seems that new games are working better on linux than windows (enemy territory for example).
                              on linux journal i've found a recent article about Intelectual Property that is quite interesting ( http://www.linuxjournal.com/node/1005736 ) and the redirection on some interesting free books about the argument.
                              closing this, i was wondering if i could use revenge to help radeon devs with the xpress 200m. for the moment i can use this board in a good way only with fglrx since i get some rendering and performance issues with the oss driver. i'm asking this since last time i've tried it i wasn't able to run it. or maybe it's just me that don't know how to use it.
                              Last edited by givemesugarr; 11-29-2007, 02:22 PM.

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