×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Uzebox: an Open Source Hardware Games Console

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the throw-one-together dept.

Open Source 104

angry tapir writes "Lots of people are familiar with open source software. Open source hardware, however, is still more of niche category. The Uzebox is an open source, 'retro minimalist' 8-bit games console, licensed under version 3.0 of the GNU GPL. 'The console uses an overclocked ATmega644 microcontroller and classic Super Nintendo controllers, supports 256 colors and 4 sound channels and has an SD card interface from which games can be loaded from.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

104 comments

This is Open Source done right (3, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669574)

I was expecting some fanboyistic "this will take on Sony and Microsoft!" or something similar. People aren't going to chose some DIY console over something where all the hard work is done for them, like has been done by Sony, MS, and Nintendo.

However, that's not what this is at all. This is awesome, and exactly the sort of thing Open Source is great at: making projects that are geek-centric, geek-powered, and just plain A-Z geek.

A 'retro-minimalist' 8-bit console using SNES controllers? What could possibly be more geek than that? It's fantastic.

Re:This is Open Source done right (0, Troll)

cgeys (2240696) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669664)

It might be retro, but what does it say about open sources ability to compete against closed source? It seems it's currently over 20 years behind.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669700)

It might be retro, but what does it say about open sources ability to compete against closed source? It seems it's currently over 20 years behind.

*shrug*

Yeah, maybe it's not your cup of tea.

Personally, I don't think it is a matter of behind, or even any kind of competition. I just think Uzebox is really cool, and has a lot of fun games. Also, I like the challenge of programming for systems with limited hardware.

If you want something more powerful, check out this post [slashdot.org] pointing out, among other things, some ARM-based hardware.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36669960)

...and has a lot of fun games.

[citation needed]

Re:This is Open Source done right (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669772)

It's all about scale...

In hardware, yes absolutely... The cost of producing hardware is high and this will always make it extremely difficult for smaller groups or individuals to compete against the large manufacturers.

In software, where the barriers of entry are lower, open source is doing extremely well... Android, Firefox, and Linux is in everything from TVs, Routers and all manner of networking kit, Phones, all the way up to massive database servers and supercomputers. Linux and BSD are running on thousands of devices that people don't even realise and if you added them all up you would probably find that Linux is the most widespread OS by quite large a margin.

In my house alone, i know that linux runs on my TV, my Satellite receiver, my gps, my wireless ap and my phone.

Re:This is Open Source done right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36670618)

In hardware, yes absolutely... The cost of producing hardware is high and this will always make it extremely difficult for smaller groups or individuals to compete against the large manufacturers.

That's not true at all, you obviously have no electronics design experience. You can send your design off to various fab plants, they'll handle all production including sourcing your components and testing the final product, and they do all this cheaper than you can get components. You can do runs of a dozen or two through to millions of units with decreasing unit costs. The costly part is getting the product under the noses of the public, on the shelves and building an army of zealots.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 2 years ago | (#36672452)

It's all about scale...

And frequency of updates...FOSS really shines by putting something out there that is a little bit raw (initially), and refining it often. This obviously works better for software than it does for hardware.

Re:This is Open Source done right (2)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669918)

It might be retro, but what does it say about open sources ability to compete against closed source? It seems it's currently over 20 years behind.

What does it matter? It's all about building stuff for ourselves.

Re:This is Open Source done right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36670918)

It is filling a niche that commercial vendors have purposely abandoned (for whatever reason). The fact that it was done this way, on purpose, tells me that it was meant to look 20 years old.
Good to see FOSS stepping up where the market refuses participate; a *lot* of really enjoyable games can be played on 8 bits, the new consoles are pitched for an entirely different type of experience (mostly sequels).

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670978)

It might be retro, but what does it say about open sources ability to compete against closed source?

The concept of Open Source competing with .. .well anything is pure Slashdot idealistic fantasy. It's really only good for copying what's already out there. Money is obviously a great motivator for innovation.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669686)

Perhaps, but open source doesn't have to be small-scale geeky DIY. Take Firefox, Linux, Android, for some examples of open source software that do compete with the proprietary software.

Is there room in the market for a console that's more open than Xbox, PS3 or Wii? I certainly hope so, but also you want proprietary game developers to publish games for it, and that's not going to be easy. You need a big player base to draw them in, and you need to have lots of games to get players interested. And in the end, everybody already has a PC, which is plenty open as a platform. Developers who want to be less at the mercy of MS, Sony and Nintendo can always just publish there.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669740)

If we were in the same room having a conversation and you said this to me I would roll my eyes.

Re:This is Open Source done right (0)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670706)

If I was in the same room, I would punch both participants of this "conversation" in the face and ask the rest to help throwing them out, because they are obviously Microsoft astroturfers -- one for making an idiotic claim, another for "agreeing" with it.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669862)

Perhaps, but open source doesn't have to be small-scale geeky DIY.

I never said it did. I said geekiness is where it excels (regardless of scale).

Take Firefox, Linux, Android, for some examples of open source software that do compete with the proprietary software.

All very geek-centric projects. Firefox and Android have found consumer success, but not because of anything to do with being open source.

Is there room in the market for a console that's more open than Xbox, PS3 or Wii?

Absolutely not, and this was the crux of my point. Nobody gives a shit outside of the nerd bunch. What practical benefit will the average person see from an open source console? Very little, if any at all. But the cost would be far more immense than the average nerd can comprehend.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669892)

Android has found success thanks to being open source. If it wasn't open source, how many handset manufacturers do you think would have given it the time of day?
Plus, lets not forget that Android's success can be measured in other ways - the Open Handset Alliance and their push for the entire mobile ecosystem to simply be more open. I'd say that's been a fair success as well, thanks to the open nature of Android.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36675604)

Android has found success thanks to being open source.

Not even 1% of Android buyers bought it for being open source.

If it wasn't open source, how many handset manufacturers do you think would have given it the time of day?

Pretty much all of the ones that did. Don't you realize that the majority of Android phones don't ship with the open source version of Android? They really don't care that it's open source. Why should they?

They chose Android because it's the best OS they available for them to use. Being open source, specifically, has nothing to do with that.

That's the problem with geeks, something I have to point out over and over again. You guys think that everyone else has the same concerns and preferences as you do. Trust me, no one (generally speaking) gives a shit about open source. This isn't meant to be dismissive of open source. It's meant to put it into perspective.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#36676260)

Except you've clearly missed the point entirely. Android wouldn't be anywhere near as successful as it is today if it wasn't open source. Yes, most manufacturers release their own version of it, with their own customisations and UI's, but they all base it off the same open source code. When Google pushes a new version, the manufacturers update their own versions with that code. No Android manufacturer has taken the code and ran with it, diverting off the official path to update and support it themselves. And no other Mobile OS gives them this ability, to concentrate entirely on making their devices unique, knowing that all those wonderful apps will still work with it (to a degree). Being open source is every reason why they chose it. If it was closed source, why would they bother? What would they have to gain over Windows Mobile (for example)? When Android first appeared, it was a pretty immature platform, the likes of (what was then called) iPhone OS and even Symbian far outshone it, so why did they even give it the time of day? Because it was free for them to use and allowed them to concentrate more on the device and device features and less on writing an entire mobile OS (As many have tried and failed to do).

You're right, not many people who bought an Android phone knew or care that it was open source, but if it wasn't open source, then they never would have had the chance to buy it because it simply wouldn't have existed.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679466)

Except you've clearly missed the point entirely. Android wouldn't be anywhere near as successful as it is today if it wasn't open source.

Nonsense. Not a single person or company gives a shit. The end user doesn't know or care. The handset makers don't care, the carriers don't care.

They want to customize it, but that can just as easily be done with a closed source platform.

Being open source is every reason why they chose it. If it was closed source, why would they bother?

Android 3.0 is closed source, and it's being used.

They'd bother because they don't have a proper "app phone" OS of their own. They'd just as gladly license Android without it being open source (like tablet makers are doing with Honeycomb). Their alternatives at the time were Windows Mobile 6, Android, or make their own OS.

What would they have to gain over Windows Mobile (for example)? When Android first appeared, it was a pretty immature platform, the likes of (what was then called) iPhone OS and even Symbian far outshone it, so why did they even give it the time of day? Because it was free for them to use and allowed them to concentrate more on the device and device features and less on writing an entire mobile OS (As many have tried and failed to do).

Free != open source. Honeycomb can be free (as I understand it, Motorola and Samsung pay Google for early access), but even the closed source Honeycomb OS could be offered for free, or even less than free (i.e., Google pays hardware makers to use it, like they've done with Android in the past, and presumably still do).

You're right, not many people who bought an Android phone knew or care that it was open source, but if it wasn't open source, then they never would have had the chance to buy it because it simply wouldn't have existed.

Android was a closed-source system that Google bought. If they had never open sourced it, the only real difference is fewer geeks would have cared. Nothing else about Android depended on it being open source. Handset makers still would have used it, carriers still would have carried it, and consumers still would have bought it. But geeks wouldn't have gone so fanboy over it like they did.

Re:This is Open Source done right (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670308)

Linux. Geek Centric "project"

LOL. Linux runs the world now. Routers, NAS boxes, mobile phones, servers, supercomputers... all of these things.

Just because only us geeks run it on the desktop doesn't really mean squat.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36675698)

Linux. Geek Centric "project"

LOL. Linux runs the world now. Routers, NAS boxes, mobile phones, servers, supercomputers... all of these things.

Just because only us geeks run it on the desktop doesn't really mean squat.

Who are you replying to?

In the post you are responding to, I wrote:

Perhaps, but open source doesn't have to be small-scale geeky DIY.

I never said it did. I said geekiness is where it excels (regardless of scale).

Again, I never said open source can't be successful on a large scale.

And to think Linux isn't geek-centric is delusional. No one runs Linux specifically, outside of a geek niche. Those routers? They are run by geek network admins. Those WiFi access points? People aren't buying them because they run Linux.

And "servers, supercomputers"? Um... geeks run those things.

As for mobile phones, Android *isn't* Linux. It doesn't even run a proper Linux kernel. This is an important distinction, but a side-issue. Regardless of what you specifically want to call it, no one buys Android because it's based on Linux, except for geeks.

I know this will come as a shock to you, but there are more iPhones (yes, just *iPhones*, this is excluding iPads and iPod touches) than all Android devices combined. There are over twice as many iOS devices as there are Android devices.

Open source never is successful because people care about open source specifically. Open source is only successful when it provides value to the consumer. Just because sometimes it does doesn't mean the world is all of a sudden pro-"open source". They are pro-"shit that works".

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679764)

You said linux was a geek-centric project.

I gave you several examples of places it's deployed on a large scale and is not just used by geeks, whether "specifically" or otherwise. That's what I was replying to. Perhaps you need to work on your reading comprehension.

As for iPhones vS Android, the best figures I can find had Apple at 108 million total units by March this year, Android were 101 million by the end of last year. I have a funny feeling that in the mean time Android will have caught up, given its market share has been much larger than Apple's for quit some time. Your assertion of there being over twice as many iOS devices in the wild is unfounded.

No, most people don't give a crap about open, and never did I say otherwise. You, however, are full of shit.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670642)

also you want proprietary game developers to publish games for it, and that's not going to be easy.

That's gonna be just about impossible, you mean. Not gonna happen; they're too attached to DRM.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680308)

That hasn't stopped them from publishing games for Linux or Android. An Open Source console doesn't have to be any different.

The big question is: what's in it for the developer? Low entry cost? They already have that on the PC.

If you were somehow able to get market penetration, then the developers would follow. But since you can't get market penetration on a pure gaming device without any games, it needs to be something more than just a console. Like a harddisk recorder, or something. An affordable MythTV box with a market where you can buy games.

Re:This is Open Source done right (4, Interesting)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669738)

Ok, maybe I will be modded down here, but its a damn ATmega644, maybe overclocked with SNES controllers and a crap DAC hooked up. We have been doing this for years, back even on the old Pic16f84. Granted this is in color with what looks like an impressive API but for the same price you can get hooked up with a Propeller that has a hell of allot more features and even supports VGA resolutions out of box. Not to mention the video/sound timing issues you will have with this thing when you want to try to work outside the API. This is not the 2600 days where we have to watch for Vsyinc like its life or death:P

The ARM kit over at spark fun has way more features, cheaper, AND runs at 72mhz. http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10664 [sparkfun.com] Even if you want to "market" this thing for beginners, an Arduino has much better support and gaggits to play with. Game programing, especially with this kind of setup, will be hard.

Sigh. Hell, even putting a 3 dollar CLPD would help the graphic performance alot on that. This whole article seems more of a sales pitch than a real project.

Re:This is Open Source done right (3, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669880)

Yes, you are a nerd hipster, how fantastic for you.

My point is that this is the way to approach these things. Open source, DIY, geek projects are about doing things you want to see done, not worrying about toppling the proprietary companies. If that's your goal, you're in for a shock. But if you want to make cool things to play with and work with, this is the way to go. Just look at Linux. It sucks for general, consumer desktop use, but it's fantastic for geeks to play with and to also get real work done on.

Re:This is Open Source done right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36670276)

No, it doesn't suck. It's perfect for desktop use. The only bad thing is that there's not really all the top Windows/console games and Photoshop (though you can play/use them through Wine).

Re:This is Open Source done right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36673648)

Are you insane? Why would adobe port Photoshop to the Arduino?

Re:This is Open Source done right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36670878)

the point is that this has been so so so so many times. this is like someone posting about some guy using frying grease to power their car. and it still relies on a properiaty microcontroller you can't build at home.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36675764)

No, it's like someone coming up with a different way of getting the frying grease into their car. If you're into that sort of thing (and this is (supposed to be) "News for nerds, stuff that matters"), then this is interesting.

If you're not, no one is telling you to go out and do this, or like this, read the comments about it.

Re:This is Open Source done right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36671402)

Open source, DIY, geek projects are about doing things you want to see done.

Who wants to do anything on this junk hardware when there are better alternatives available for the hobbyist? Oh, you would? Great. Buy it and shove it up your puckered asshole. Everyone else will call it what it is: a piece of shit.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36675742)

What's it to you? If someone likes something, what sort of psychological disorder does it take to put someone down for it? Nobody's telling *you* what to like.

Re:This is Open Source done right (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#36671460)

I disagree, this is an old trick in a "new" (I did it like that cause its like what 3 years old now) wrapper tagging along "open source" in its description.

I dont know why you guys get all red faced and giggly over those 2 words, but honestly I think someone could reinvent pen and paper, add Open Source to the end of it and you people would shit yourselves over it.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36675736)

Who cares if it's new? That's part of what I'm trying to convey. All that matters is it's something someone wants to do, it's fun, and they *can* do it.

What do you care if someone else likes something you don't like? What a sad, sad way to spend your time.

My initial post was this same sentiment, but in the reverse direction. Open source advocates tend to (at least on nerd forums like slashdot) get all overexcited and try to get everyone else to run their shit. You're the flip side of that coin, giving people crap for getting excited for their own things. What's it to you?

Re:This is Open Source done right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36670104)

While this is really cool, and would have been the perfect gift for my nephew if he hadn't already gotten an Arduino last year, I can't help but think isn't it better to just fire up an emulator and program for one of those instead? Sure its a bit more comlpex, as you'd have to learn assembler and a bit more about the hardware, but isn't that half the fun? Most emulators work with Xbox/Playstation controllers so assuming you've got one or two of those lying around then you've got everything Uzebox gives you and more for free, just a little bit more hard work involved.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670254)

"What could possibly be more geek than that? It's fantastic."

A steampunk car built from scratch.

And using SNES controllers.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670876)

This is awesome, and exactly the sort of thing Open Source is great at: making projects that are geek-centric, geek-powered, and just plain A-Z geek.

Since that "geek-centric, geek-powered, and just plain A-Z geek" thing known as "The Internet" is an Open Source project, I would say your characterization and patronizing dismissal of Open Source as being for niches only is a lot of horseshit.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36675528)

This is awesome, and exactly the sort of thing Open Source is great at: making projects that are geek-centric, geek-powered, and just plain A-Z geek.

Since that "geek-centric, geek-powered, and just plain A-Z geek" thing known as "The Internet" is an Open Source project, I would say your characterization and patronizing dismissal of Open Source as being for niches only is a lot of horseshit.

Glad to see you still can't comprehend logic.

1. The Internet is a network, it's not an open source project.
2. I was never patronizing *or* dismissive of open source in my post. In fact, quite the contrary!
3. Even if the internet *was* an open source project, that doesn't disprove in any way the notion that geek-things are "exactly the sort of thing Open Source is great at".

But please, don't ever change. Your buffoonery never fails to amuse.

Yeah, but is it free to download? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36671110)

I joke, but let's face it, how often do FOSS advocates pay for anything?

Re:Yeah, but is it free to download? (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 2 years ago | (#36671444)

I don't know about you, but I approved about $7200 in RHEL subscriptions this morning.

Re:Yeah, but is it free to download? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36671552)

Something tells me that businesses won't be needing an 8-bit gaming console.

Re:Yeah, but is it free to download? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36675460)

I don't know about you, but I approved about $7200 in RHEL subscriptions this morning.

Approving isn't the same as paying. I'm sure elrous0 wasn't talking about businesses.

Re:Yeah, but is it free to download? (1)

protektor (63514) | more than 2 years ago | (#36674352)

Well I have bought about 4 games for Linux in the last 6 months, and all of the Humble Bundles. You might want to look at the Linux sales figures for the Humble Bundles. So yes FOSS people pay for software.

http://www.wolfire.com/humble/ [wolfire.com]
http://www.humblebundle.com/ [humblebundle.com]

Linux users when given a choice are even more willing to pay more than those on other Operating Systems. Windows users are cheap skates and always want something for nothing.

Re:Yeah, but is it free to download? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36675482)

Linux users when given a choice are even more willing to pay more than those on other Operating Systems. Windows users are cheap skates and always want something for nothing.

Correction: a small subset of Linux users are willing to pay more.

And this is a rather artificial example. There's a lot of pent up demand for gaming, so they are paying not just for the game, but for the game on Linux, in support of the few companies that toss them a bone.

It's definitely interesting that Linux users pay more, on average (and that's just *average* anyway), but it doesn't all of a sudden turn Linux users into big spenders.

Really, my DYI setup kills Sony MS Ninteno (1)

Glasswire (302197) | more than 2 years ago | (#36671812)

My DIY setup: booksized chassis Mini ITX formfactor H67 board with Core i7 2600K and 5750 graphics board, 8GB RAM, SSD boot and multi Terabyte spindle disk. On any metric (FPS etc) or subjective criteria, any games available as console and PC totally suck compared to the PC system. DIY game machines rule.

Re:Really, my DYI setup kills Sony MS Ninteno (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36675450)

My DIY setup: booksized chassis Mini ITX formfactor H67 board with Core i7 2600K and 5750 graphics board, 8GB RAM, SSD boot and multi Terabyte spindle disk.

Fantastic. This is exactly what I'm talking about. *You* built a device for *yourself*, and didn't take on any fantasy about killing Sony, MS, or Nintendo...

Oh, your subject title change? How disappointing.

"Really, my DYI setup kills Sony MS Ninteno"

No, it doesn't. Sorry to burst your bubble, but *your* PC will kill nothing. You should be happy that it works great for you, and quit with this lame gamer fanboy bullshit.

On any metric (FPS etc) or subjective criteria, any games available as console and PC totally suck compared to the PC system.

Bullshit. There are plenty of games designed for the console which translate poorly to the PC. Additionally, just being able to plop down $200-$300, pop in a disc and go is something no gaming PC can ever match. That's why it won't kill Nintendo, MS, or Sony.

But I'm glad it works for you an many others.

DIY game machines rule.

Fanboy.

Re:This is Open Source done right (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678432)

"making projects that are geek-centric, geek-powered, and just plain A-Z geek."

I'm as geek as the next guy but this seems as boring and outdated as hell. It's needlessly retro.

Awesome (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669578)

Throw in NES or SNES rom compatibility, and I'm there. No? Still a cool toy for homebrew, especially for- wait, how much does this cost? I saw no price listed on TFA. I admit, I skimmed, but still nothing.

Re:Awesome (4, Informative)

jovius (974690) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669624)

http://uzebox.org/shop/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=35 [uzebox.org]

70$ + power supply + cable(s) and controllers about 20$

Re:Awesome (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36671188)

Or in other words, you could go to a flea market and buy a NES, SNES, SMS, Genesis, and maybe a saturn and PSX too for what you will pay for one of these devices. There is homebrew on all of those platforms. This is way, way, WAY too expensive and will teach you NOTHING you can't learn programming your PC.

Re:Awesome (1)

manicb (1633645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669654)

http://uzebox.org/shop/catalog/

$70 seems to be the magic number. What I want to know more about is the video compatibility- is it really NTSC-only?

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36669662)

being Open Source, I don't think it'll be long before some European geek comes up with a PAL output for it

PAL? RTFA. (1)

hcpxvi (773888) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669770)

If you read the article you will note that a supplier is soon to release a European version that outputs the RGB directly and which can be connected to the SCART input on your PAL TV.

Re:Awesome (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669774)

Does it really matter? Most tv sets these days are perfectly capable of handling both...

Re:Awesome (1)

Chatterton (228704) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669776)

Actually, we don't need PAL has there is already one version (the EUzebox) that support the scart interface and get rid of the RGB converter :).

Re:Awesome (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669744)

There is a Euzebox [hwhardsoft.de.vu] for Europeans with a SCART connector.

Re:Awesome (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669836)

It's cheaper, comes pre-assambled and should work equally well for Americans with a SCART TV.
Apart from the joy of soldering it yourself, why would you buy the kit?

Aren't they going to get in trouble for the blatantly copied copyrighted games, though?

Re:Awesome (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36672170)

and should work equally well for Americans with a SCART TV.

Yeah, the 3 people in the US that have a SCART TV will most likely be thrilled.

Re:Awesome (1)

manicb (1633645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36672252)

From the uzebox store [uzebox.org] :

Important: A TV set with a SCART input (RGB) and and support for NTSC video is necessary for this kit!

NTSC and SCART are not mutually exclusive, it seems :-(

(Also on the page you linked, albeit in German first.)

Re:Awesome (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669926)

The problem to me is price - I don't mind playing with things like this and knocking up games for them but £50 / â50 / 70$ is a lot of money to ask for this. I didn't pay that for a GP2X and that knocks the socks off this and is portable, handheld, with its own LCD screen, has TV-out, dual-200MHz ARM cores, runs Linux, etc.

This is closer to the "build-your-own-pong" style kits you can get from Vellemans but at stupid cost for something quite simple. If it only has two chips, why does it cost so much, even unassembled (the unassembled prices for the European version, for instance, don't even include the chips and other components - just a PCB, really).

If it was £20, it would be worth dabbling with. As it is, it's just a programmed AVR chip on an RGB chip (and even that's unnecessary for the European SCART version). £50 - plus power - plus casing - plus soldering (in some cases) - plus controllers - plus cables - plus time and effort and software setup, just to get something that's the equivalent of a NES or SNES? It doesn't even have USB and SD-card access is only beta (and I bet it's just a bit-banging SPI interface to the card).

I'd rather just use an old NES or SNES with a EEPROM that I can put programs on - cheaper, easier and probably slightly more powerful and bound to be infinitely more stable and reliable.

Bring the price down to £20-30 (i.e. slightly more than those "100 arcade game in a joystick" things that plug into your TV) and I'll buy one. Until then, I'm better off either hacking on a real console, or just running stuff on a chip myself.

Link to the actual project... (4, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669612)

... instead of the Computerworld advert farm:

http://belogic.com/uzebox/index.asp [belogic.com]

Sheer comedy, such a geektastic project being hosted with ASP?

Don't bother to mod this up, save your points for something less karma-whorey.

Re:Link to the actual project... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36669748)

quiet down you fucking cunt.

Re:Link to the actual project... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36669850)

I couldn't agree with you more. Slashdot is an advert farm for computerworld networkworld myassworld ... seriously do real submission with original link ever make it to front page ?

Re:Link to the actual project... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669936)

My guess as to why the 'advert farm' pages make it to Slashdot's front page most of the time, while original links don't: the secondary sources provide a good overview and are easier for a general audience to understand.

In this case, I wouldn't have even bothered looking at the project page because it is too much information thrown up all at once. After reading the secondary source I could see that there were several components of the project that I'm interested in, so I'll probably head over to the project pages later.

Re:Link to the actual project... (1)

angry tapir (1463043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670172)

I don't think it's an "advert farm". It's like most commercial sites -- it has ads. Disclaimer: I am terribly, terribly biased because I did the interview. I hoped you enjoyed reading it as much as I did conducting it!

Re:Link to the actual project... (1)

Sinthet (2081954) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670520)

Well... whenever an original link is posted, it tends to get slashdotted. My guess is that if an original link is supplied, the editors sometimes seek out an article from a mainstream source as to try to avoid the slashdotting effect.

Re:Link to the actual project... (3, Interesting)

angry tapir (1463043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670154)

Hello, It's the guy who did the interview here (and the guy who submitted it to Slashdot). Uzebox has been round for quite a while, but I thought an interview with Alec would be kind of interesting, and it includes some stuff you might not find elsewhere (at least in one place). It's not like the article was devoid of content in my view... but then I have an obvious bias. And, yes, there's a bunch of ads on the page. Sadly it's the ads that pay my salary. cheers, Rohan

Re:Link to the actual project... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670318)

Fair enough ;-)

Looking back at it, Computerworld isn't the worst offender - but I did get a bloody great big javascripty overlay thing when I visited the site first.

A link to the project site in the summary wouldn't have gone amiss though.

Re:Link to the actual project... (2)

angry tapir (1463043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670412)

"Looking back at it, Computerworld isn't the worst offender - but I did get a bloody great big javascripty overlay thing when I visited the site first."

Yeah those ads annoy me too...

"A link to the project site in the summary wouldn't have gone amiss though."

Yes that's totally true. I blame lack of sleep when I was posting it :-)

On the plus side, one of the things I like about my job is that I have the freedom to write about cool open source projects like Uzebox (and Alec is a really great guy). For example, how many people get paid to review Ubuntu Linux Satanic Edition. [techworld.com.au]

Re:Link to the actual project... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36670226)

Also, here is an informative video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hCCCRAcTAA

Other Interesting Hardware (4, Informative)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669668)

Uzebox is cool!

While on the subject, I'd also like to point out some other projects I've found interesting:

OpenPandora [openpandora.org] , a community-designed, Linux-running handheld. The specs are pretty impressive, by today's standards, but were even more impressive when it was first introduced. Best thing is, they're now manufacturing and shipping!

For those who like to tinker themselves, there is the BeagleBoard [beagleboard.org] , a cheap (as they come) single board computer with impressive specs, designed for open source software. The Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] lists a number of alternatives, some of which may be more powerful and/or cheaper.

One interesting alternative to the BeagleBoard is the Hawkboard [linuxfordevices.com] , which is backed by its own community [hawkboard.org] . It's slightly less powerful than the BeagleBoard, but, at 89 USD, also costs quite a bit less.

And then there's the ever-popular Arduino [arduino.cc] , which comes in several varieties. You can buy them assembled starting at about 20 USD, or build your own for under 10 USD [instructables.com] . They can be extended with "shields", e.g. to get extra I/O capabilities. Pretty cool stuff!

Personally, I am still tinkering around with resistors and transistors and the like, designing and simulating circuits with Qucs [sourceforge.net] (which I feel is a lot more production-ready than that website suggests) and my Nokia N900, but any of the above hardware looks like it might be a nice next step up.

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36669822)

Don't forget this wacky idea [the-nd.com] . There is some ambiguity as to whether the final hardware specs will be open source though. But it is possible with off-the-shelf components.

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670286)

I'm not terribly reassured by the way he keeps going on and on and on about how it's a 16-bit device, and yet seems to have specced an ARM for the processor. And I'm really not convinced by his costings --- yes, you can get a SoC ARM device for about $6, but once you factor in external RAM, display, battery, wifi transceiver, wifi *antenna*, custom PCB manufacture, assembly etc, I really don't think he's going to get it for $10.

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (4, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669876)

The Pandora isn't actually shipping - again. Been in production for three years and some people who ordered on the first few days **still** haven't received one.

For the past few months you could pay almost the price of the console again in order to get a "Premium" queue-jumper Pandora before even the first pre-orderers from three years ago - after the first few hundred they stopped that and they have said they only offered that because otherwise they would have gone bankrupt and been unable to ship anybody's order.

Current status is that they are abandoning their PCB manufacturer for another, because it's taken them three years to actually get the PCB manufacturer to do anything worthwhile (they accept any excuse and the "community" eggs them on to be nice to everyone because they have a shed-load of money invested in the hope of receiving a device that's not materialised in significant numbers after three years) and now all the PCB's that have been sitting in the manufacturer's storage for all that time have rotted - which means basically starting months of work all over again with another manufacturer.

And they can't even ship Premium orders any more because of that. They've shipped maybe a thousand or two units in total, and a lot of those have gone on eBay almost immediately because with only a thousand units in the wild, most of the software is just ports of Ubuntu software and a couple of emulators.

They still haven't finished "batch 1" yet, and have had a ton of returns and problems (Wifi is the latest - the new boards produced just don't have working wifi because nobody was testing it properly, so they all had to go back) - buttons being faulty, cases cracking, you name it they have problems with it.

They are currently threatening to sue the PCB manufacturer but how they intend to do that while on the edge of bankruptcy is uncertain. Basically, you aren't going to see it in significant numbers enough to attract developers, and certainly not for years (current batch orders haven't even started yet and probably won't for another year, and they have to re-order all the cases, plastics, etc. for that batch)

The running joke among Pandora-watchers is "Two Months" - that's how long everything is said to take until they are back in business and gets stated with regularity every two months for the past three years.

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (1)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 2 years ago | (#36669938)

Yes, you are right. Pandora has been plagued by manufacturing problems. The nice thing is that they are throwing a lot of that out in the open. I think it's a nice illustration of how challenging it can be to get hardware manufactured. I hope we can learn a lot from this experience and do better in future. This, and the fact that I still think Pandora is very cool, is why I hope the project succeeds - at least well enough to make it to the next device. In the meantime, my heart goes out to the team, and to all those who ordered Pandoras but haven't received them yet.

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (2)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670140)

Current status is that they are abandoning their PCB manufacturer for another... all the PCB's that have been sitting in the manufacturer's storage for all that time have rotted

This would be a complete 180 on what the production team have been claiming, so (as in "investor") I would be very interested to hear if you have a citation for that.

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (4, Informative)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#36670274)

This would be a complete 180 on what the production team have been claiming, so (as in "investor") I would be very interested to hear if you have a citation for that.

Changing supplier and threatening legal action:

http://boards.openpandora.org/index.php?/topic/4058-wifi-tests-and-circuitco-2011-06-17/page__view__findpost__p__74759 [openpandora.org]

Oxidisation problems:

http://boards.openpandora.org/index.php?/topic/4058-wifi-tests-and-circuitco-2011-06-17/page__view__findpost__p__74948 [openpandora.org]

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36670454)

I have a Pandora right next to my keyboard and I develop for it too. I hate that otherwise such a nice piece of kit is being ruined by production problems. The community is awesome and after all the wait the device was worth it too. I hope projects like this will happen again, but with better success.

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#36671166)

while I dont like pandora, its a out of date joke ran by perfectionist but pc boards dont rot after 3 years, that is horseshit, also chi-co pcb makers dont give a shit about your boards unless your not paying them, so delays and storage seems like someone couldn't pay the bills even after taking in hundreds if not thousands of preorders. Problems are mostly the fault of the designers, amateurs that whip out questionable designs and sent to the cheapest shittiest producer, your software engineer is not also a plastic mechanical engineer type of stuff...

The whole thing has been nothing but excuses lies and delays and I am personally glad I steered clear of this vaporware scam

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (1)

RotsiserMho (918539) | more than 2 years ago | (#36671974)

Um, they paid up front. They've been very transparent about the issues and in this case they were told their boards were being worked on months ago and they weren't. Get your facts straight buddy before you go off on a lunatic rant.

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#36672060)

oh like leaving copper exposed to tarnish? yea thats a professional design there no solder mask no tinning?

and why have they not gotten a lawsuit started, why have they not gone with another company by now? (yea you can do that) and why is their "transparency" always about how something else is keeping THEM from doing something, its NEVER their fault, its the FCC testing, its the board making, its manufacturing that causes the case cracks and not the people who designed an inferior case.

excuses lies and wheres the money?

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36673578)

Silver immersion and especially OSP boards have a very finite shelf life before becoming unworkable, especially with small pitch parts.

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (1)

Splintercat (1703448) | more than 2 years ago | (#36673728)

I actually own a Pandora.
Besides the one usb port on it being a little strange, it's worked wonderfully for me. I had preordered it, but ended up just paying the extra money to get it shipped sooner. I have yet to regret it. I would advise getting at least one fast 16GB SD card for it, so you can have plenty of programs, but the Pandora is able to emulate psx games. I've also watched videos on it without any problems. (PanPlayer works the best).

The keyboard is a little strange, but the screen and battery life is amazing. Wifi works pretty well, especially if you run 'sudo iwconfig wlan0 power off' to turn off power management of the wifi. (The power management thing is a problem I've had with many wireless cards under linux. In this case the wireless works fine without the command, but if you're transferring a bunch of data over wireless, you'll want to turn off the wireless power management.)

And yes, it does fit in your pocket. It's a bit bigger than an original GBA.

If you're willing to pay around $500 for a pocket computer that gets 10-15 hours of battery life, I would say the Pandora is worth it.
I personally do wish that the Pandora team was more transparent, but from what I understand, they've been spending all their time working, and building pandoras, instead of soothing the community. I hope they can get enough support to keep the project going, but I imagine it's pretty difficult to make something like the open pandora when you don't have a boatload of starting capital.

YMMV.

Re:Other Interesting Hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36671852)

Even cheaper and more minimalist is the Hackvision [nootropicdesign.com] . Only $33 and nothing else required. Plugs into your TV. Some good games like Space Invaders and Asteroids [nootropicdesign.com] . Based on the ATmega328 with the Arduino bootloader, so it is essentially an Arduino shaped like a game controller.

ooze box, or yooze box? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36670340)

I sure hope it's the yooze box, because the wii integration would be the ooze wii otherwise, which ain't gonna be good ;-)

I don't usually harp on these things... (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#36671574)

... but this is just funny: "... an SD card interface from which games can be loaded from."

This is the sort of English up with which I will not put up with!

Hmmm... (1)

Deadguy2322 (761832) | more than 2 years ago | (#36672366)

Anyone else notice most of the games appear to be rip-offs of copyrighted works? Typical Linux gamers, no creativity, but plenty of zealot bullshit.

Unfortunatly ... NOT OPENSOURCE (1)

vonshavingcream (2291296) | more than 2 years ago | (#36672626)

[quote]The console uses an overclocked ATmega644 microcontroller and classic Super Nintendo controllers, [/quote] the SNES connection ports are patented closed source hardware.. unless of source he hand molded them himself. but then i guess Nintendo could claim infringement.

console with closed hardware, open software (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | more than 2 years ago | (#36674536)

I'm considering developing a book-size console using the following hardware and pricing it at $299 including shipping, warranty and support:

Foxconn NT425 with Intel Atom 1.8 GHz 64-bit CPU and integrated GPU
1 GB DDR2 800 RAM
16 GB class 10 SDHC flash for main storage (no HDD)
Gigabit NIC, 802.11 b/g/n wireless
Dual-analog PS2/3-style wireless gamepad
VGA to Composite/S-Video adapter

I'd use a stripped Debian installation with networking, ALSA, X and video acceleration but not much else, and create a custom gamepad-optimized GUI for operating the system and launching games using GAMBAS and SDL. It would run every quality open source game known to man out of the box and require zero set up. Each game would be configured to use the gamepad. The projected profit would stand at about $45 - 50$ per unit shipped not including marketing.

In the esteemed opinions of my fellow /.ers, would this sell or be a colossal waste of time?

Re:console with closed hardware, open software (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680386)

What exactly are you doing that anyone on Slashdot couldn't make themselves, better, cheaper, using components they already have and software that already exists (there are a million and one game-launcher-style apps out there, most of them built for emulators but supporting just about anything you can run via a command line)? Have you checked what X and no video acceleration does to things as simple as TuxRacer (Hint: I had this same idea but for a small desktop-based console for my parents ages ago, and spent more time trying to get things to work reliably and at a decent speed than anything else)?

For that price, you can pick up handheld open source consoles that do the same (or hack an existing commercial console), you can pick up tiny nano-ITX boards of similar spec, the rest is just packaging and probably wouldn't be worth the extra cost to anyone who was interesting in carrying around what is basically a laptop-style games machine.

Additionally, what you describe is actually all in place or surpassed on my normal laptop - even the Playstation gamepads via some USB adaptors for them. The laptop even does HDMI out and VGA out (which 99% of big TV's support now) and has the oomph to do all sorts of graphics filters to make it look half-decent, and I carry adaptors for anything more specialised like Composite / S-Video (hell, you can get them via USB nowadays). The games? Not only can I run all the open-source ones, I can run things like Crysis too and a couple of hundred Steam games. Not only that, I can have Gb's of emulators for systems going back decades and have power enough to run them all. And when I'm done there, I can go online or work and not even notice a difference. Plus I get several hours of battery life and nothing "extra" to lug around.

You really have to have a USP - unique selling point. Yours seems to be "it runs software that someone else has written that already works on every other platform known to man" along with possibly "I set this up for you, and charged you for the privilege".

I'm not saying you couldn't sell them - it just doesn't look very enticing compared to what a $299 netbook with a couple of little extras could do. If you were to be making them en masse for a $100 or so each - i.e. set-top-box price-range, then you'd have something. But even then, it's unlikely to be very original and/or very mass-market.

If you sold more than a 100 or so, I'd be very impressed.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...