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How Homebrew Development is Holding Up, System By System
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posted by: Aaron Stanton
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date posted: 04:32 PM Mon Jun 12th, 2006
last revision: 04:33 PM Mon Jun 12th, 2006

Click to read.DCEmu recently posted an interesting recap of the homebrew environment as it stands today. The list includes not only modern systems such as the Xbox 360 and Xbox, but also touches on older systems that have dropped below the mainstream radar in the recent years. The list includes brief descriptions of how many homebrew applications have been released for systems like the DreamCast and Sega Saturn, as well as PS2, Xbox, and Game Boy Advance.

Homebrew software traditionally refers to programs that have been coded independently and are rarely commercially released. Such projects are often put together by enthusiast developers, and often push the limits of a console beyond what was originally intended by the manufacturer. As a consequence, there\'s often an ongoing battle between homebrew developers and hardware manufactures, with a few exceptions.

DCEmu\'s article contains some typos, but the author is knowledgeable about the homebrew scene, including references to the difficulties with the Official Xbox Software Development Kit, which is technically owned by Microsoft and is used illegally to compile most homebrew software on the Xbox. Other systems, such as the GP2X, earn their reputations by actively courting homebrew developers.

Other times, console manufacturers deliberately restrict the functionality of their consoles in a silly and misguided attempt to keep their users behaving. For example, the original Xbox would not read user-burned music CDs, a tactic that was abandoned with the Xbox 360.

The article also mentions the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PS3 as possible homebrew development havens. While rumours of a new (and supposedly real) Xbox 360 modchip have surfaced again recently, the closest the next generation consoles currently have to a homebrew community is the ability to run certain programs off a linked PC. Hopefully Sony\'s decision to use Linux as the basis for the PS3\'s operating system will make it more homebrew friendly, as some of the most significant abilities of game systems in the past have been unlocked through homebrew development.

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