Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Why Firestorm didn't get certified

Recently, TapWave rejected to sign Firestorm-a highly anticipated and popular (I dare say hyped) software for the Palm OS 5-it is a (slow) Gameboy and Gameboy advanced emulator. Of course, uproar followed imediately-bad, bad Tapwave!
While the rejection looks like arbitary use of power, it can easily be understood when you look at firestorm's history:
Right after its announcement, Nintendo attacked the program using its emulation patent. However, the company didn't oblige to the letter sent by Nintendo's lawyers and published the product.
I was in the first row when it came to getting a demo(oh, may my TT rest in peace)-the program was buggy, and quickly was booted of my handheld!
Now, the program is said to have improved, but speed still is low. Applications that are signed by Tapwave however are expected to work flawlessly on a Zodiac-thats on of the reasons why the signing procedure was introduced after all. Imagine downloading an M$-signed driver and having your system blown up-you would be in a very annoyed state of mind, wouldn't you. Now think of an appliaction that you purchase thinking that it works perfectly-only to discover that it is damn slow. While most users will blame CrimsonFire, many will also have ressentiments against Tapwave-why did they sign it after all...
In addition, altough Nintendo's patent is IMHO highly questionable(I am not a lawyer though, but I attended a few hours of patent management at my higher technical school) because it is way to broad and since there were emulators way before the day when it was issued(2000)-Tapwave doesn't have the spare cash to fight with Nintendo. Lawsuits are expensive, and fighting a juggernaut like Nintendo definitely isn't funny!
So, I can understand Tapwave now-hopefully, you can do too....


Blogger Brad Green said...

Nintendo has to be fought on this issue. Sure, you say these companies dont have any spare cash, but they wont have any if this patent stands, because it makes ljz, firestorm, and liberty illegal. None of these companies are going to pay liberties to Nintendo , and Nintendo is going to have to take them to court, because they cant afford to pay Nintendo. This is also bad for Nintendo, as they do not have a right to this patent, because, as you said, emulators were already being sold commercially which were covered under Nintendo's patent. What will probably happen is that Nintendo will pressure all of these companies, as they have pressured Tapwave into not signing this program. This is all they need to do, and these companies owe it to us to fight Nintedo over it.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi Brad,
you are right about this topic from a moralistic point of view. However, the developers need to live off something too. Now think what would happen if Tapwave fell-we would all be using non-working T3s and T5s and be paying lunar prices for them....
I prefer not having Firestorm GBAZ on my handheld and having the handheld... Altough it definitely is a hard hit for the developer...
Best regards
Tam Hanna

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