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Libbeauty: Another Reverse-Engineering Tool

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  • Libbeauty: Another Reverse-Engineering Tool

    Phoronix: Libbeauty: Another Reverse-Engineering Tool

    Libbeauty is another open-source decompiler and reverse-engineering tool...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTU1MTU

  • #2
    This sounds like fun.

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    • #3
      That could prove very useful for a variety of things. I'd love to see if this is more useful than ordinary means of reverse engineering various things like proprietary streaming formats, network protocols- hey, maybe even things like Windows APIs for WINE? Well, maybe that's going too far, but this definitely seems interesting.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by scionicspectre View Post
        That could prove very useful for a variety of things. I'd love to see if this is more useful than ordinary means of reverse engineering various things like proprietary streaming formats, network protocols- hey, maybe even things like Windows APIs for WINE? Well, maybe that's going too far, but this definitely seems interesting.
        That hardly sounds like clean room RE, so I don't think WINE will use it, at least not for taking code directly (but for documentation, if a third party volunteers to write it after looking at the generated code, maybe, although there are source code available under different programs that could be documented). But for abandoned game engines, I don't see any company suing. I can think of a few community patches that could benefit with this kind of tool.

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        • #5
          It will bring many sues like oohoppla this company has used my GPL code and alike...funny times ahead indeed.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mrugiero View Post
            That hardly sounds like clean room RE, so I don't think WINE will use it, at least not for taking code directly (but for documentation, if a third party volunteers to write it after looking at the generated code, maybe, although there are source code available under different programs that could be documented). But for abandoned game engines, I don't see any company suing. I can think of a few community patches that could benefit with this kind of tool.
            Who do you think could benefit from that kind of software in the open source community?

            The author started this program in order to reverse engineer some x86 driver blob for a TV card he was using (If I remember correctly). He uses some clever tricks to allow supporting different input architectures (by translating the input to an intermediate machine code representation). If I'm correct, he was quite close to having useable C output already.

            I talked to him on several occasions, having started a project similar in nature, to reverse engineer pieces of nvidia firmware.
            My own project lives at https://github.com/rhn/edeco and although it doesn't output C-code yet, it has other interesting features, like support of incomplete ISAs and backend stubs for x86, xtensa and some other lesser-known architectures. It also works in a different way, as it does its best to rebuild the nesting structure of underlying code. In theory, that should allow me to eventually support output in *any* C-like language with a simple extension.

            Unfortunately, it wasn't mature enough to be useful when it was neaded for nouveau devs, so I got distracted with other things That's why I'm interested who else might want it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by rhn_mk1 View Post
              Who do you think could benefit from that kind of software in the open source community?
              IMO, mostly people working on projects related to either hardware where the manufacturer doesn't care about your platform, or working with software the authors don't care anymore. For example, the NMA Fallout community, who fixes most of the bugs in the older Fallout games, will greatly benefit from having C code to fix the engine, as those are the only bugs they are unable (to some degree, they fixed a lot of them, though) to fix.
              For example, I'm mostly incompetent in reverse engineering and assembly language (I mean, I kind of skimmed through the basics, but I wouldn't be able to read real life code), but I'm fluent in C, to the point of being able to document it and, after I do that, fix bugs. It takes me quite some time some times, but I'm able to do that.
              Another example would be SCUMMVM (actually, there is an engine probably nobody else cares about, that I'd like to play with, but again, I'm incompetent in reverse engineering and I only have binaries for it). Most of the games it supports are kind of abandonware. They are still on sale (so, if you want to play them, you should buy them), but the authors doesn't care about which code makes them move anymore, as long as you buy the game.

              There is always a slight chance of someone out of their minds suing you, but compared to using it with any current MS product those chances are really marginal.

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              • #8
                Anyone want to bet that libbeauty will be removed from the face of the earth within a year? I certainly hope not, but it'll definitely be an interesting situation.

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                • #9
                  I don't see why ayone would have grounds for suing the maker of such software. Programs like that already exist, for example the Hex-Rays Decompiler and IDA Pro.
                  https://www.hex-rays.com/products/de...er/index.shtml

                  These programs don't produce C-code that's immediately useful to a programmer. A *lot* of information is lost when compiling and it's impossible to recover later. The output has no variable names, the structures used in it may be incomplete or split up, there might be a lot of GOTOs and awkward constructs -- especially if what you're trying to decompile was not written in C.

                  I don't see anyone using a decompiled piece of C code and just putting it in their program. This would be just marginally more useful than ripping the assembly or even binary code and including it. Therefore I don't think someone could sue the author saying "hey, I saw someone use your program to copy my code, prepare to die".

                  I think Hex-Rays Decompiler doesn't even produce pure/correct C output...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rhn_mk1 View Post
                    I don't see why ayone would have grounds for suing the maker of such software. Programs like that already exist, for example the Hex-Rays Decompiler and IDA Pro.
                    https://www.hex-rays.com/products/de...er/index.shtml

                    These programs don't produce C-code that's immediately useful to a programmer. A *lot* of information is lost when compiling and it's impossible to recover later. The output has no variable names, the structures used in it may be incomplete or split up, there might be a lot of GOTOs and awkward constructs -- especially if what you're trying to decompile was not written in C.

                    I don't see anyone using a decompiled piece of C code and just putting it in their program. This would be just marginally more useful than ripping the assembly or even binary code and including it. Therefore I don't think someone could sue the author saying "hey, I saw someone use your program to copy my code, prepare to die".

                    I think Hex-Rays Decompiler doesn't even produce pure/correct C output...
                    But if the code was generated by LLVM, wouldn't it be then possible to recover some info from decompilation?

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