The responsibility of hackers

Every announcement about HBL recently seems to generate more fights between the pro-hacking and the anti-piracy clans than the fights between the republicans and the liberals in the US. I thought I was used to haters, but this is because I only cared about the ones who came here. I used to be insulted by people because my work didn’t allow them to run isos, and I couldn’t care less.

But at least these guys were right. They wanted piracy, and my work did not provide it to them. Nowadays, however, I’m a bit more angry at the reactions I’m seeing in some comments on some generalist technology websites, where many people assume, without even checking who am I and what kind of work I was involved with, that I’m a filthy pirate, and if not me, other hackers will take care of it for me (which apparently makes me as bad as those guys). I guess that’s the price I pay for being more “mainstream” than I was 3 years ago.

I want to emphasize one more time that HBL does not allow people to pirate any PSP or Vita games. People who say HBL is “opening the door” to PSP/Vita piracy have not followed the PSP underground scene and don’t know what they are talking about. HBL has been available freely for 2 years now, and was never used to enable piracy. Other, unrelated exploits, were found on the PSP that led to Kernel access and CFW (which, among other things, allow to run isos). People who actually tried to use HBL’s source code in order to run pirated games never succeeded in its 2 years of existence, and let me tell you that many have tried.

It is also important for me to remind people of the projects I’ve been working on since I joined the psp scene: Wagic, an open source card game for the PSP; HBL, a homebrew loader which is perfectly harmless to Sony’s business (see explanation above); and the Genesis competition, a friendly contest for homebrew developers, which resulted in the creation of gems such as Lamecraft (a brilliant Minecraft clone), the PSP 3D plugin (allows to play PSP games in 3D with colore glasses), and Localizer (allows you to translate the PSP menus in the language of your choice, especially languages not supported by default on the PSP). None of my activities are related to piracy, or to putting anybody out of business, including Sony (I couldn’t care less), and especially game creators.

Certainly, my site gives explanations on how to install a Custom Firmware on one’s psp, and Custom Firmwares do allow people to run isos. However people who’ve been following this blog for more than 2 days know that I am personally against piracy, and will reject any question about where to download pirated games or even how to install them. Let me use the opportunity to remind new members that our community is also strictly against piracy, and any mention of piracy on our forums usually leads to a ban.

Now, does it mean I feel completely unrelated to rampant piracy on consoles? Honestly, yes. Piracy is not my responsibility, not only because I never worked on any tool that would allow people to pirate PSP or Vita games, but also because even if I would, piracy is a matter of personal responsibility. It is perfectly lame to blame a handful of hackers for the childish behavior of hundreds of thousands of people who pirate digital contents: games, music, videos, you name it.

Speaking of individual responsibility, I’m also asking people to look in their own mirror. I’ve met enough gamers in my life to know that those who pretend to “help the gaming industry by buying games” are in parallel pirating movies and/or music and/or all their PC software. Lots of people are seeing two versions of the laws of copyright, depending if it’s video games or other intellectual property… (“Oh yeah, but that’s not the same, I got this album from a blog of fans, they’re just sharing their passion for the band, it’s free promotion, that’s completely different. Plus I plan to go to their concert… also check that fake Rolex I just bought!”). As a matter of fact, I believe I could probably challenge most people who said that I’m a pirate, to see who’s the hypocrite.

In addition to that, I find it very ironic that some people can’t believe that me and others in our community are actually ready to pay 30$ for a video game just so that we can run “crappy” homebrews. In these people’s mind, if I’m ready to spend 30$ on a game I don’t like, just for HBL, surely there’s more than homebrews as a result. Well, sorry to disappoint, no. Funnily enough, these people are closer to the way of thinking of pirates than I am. They are already in a frame of mind that leads them to think that the only interesting reason to pay for an exploitable game is if it leads to piracy.

Finally, I’ve seen people mentioning the Playstation Suite, and wondering why I am not giving it a try if my goal is “only” to run homebrews. There are many reasons for that. First, the playstation Suite has been reported to not work for the playstation Vita yet, with absolutely no date given as to when it would become available. Second, I did register for the Playstation Suite Beta and didn’t get in. Third, I believe (although I can’t tell as long as I don’t have access to the open beta) that the playstation suite will be way too restricted for me to do what I want with it. So all people who are mentioning the Playstation Suite as a valid alternative to homebrews, as of today, are only speculating. And even if it was, trust me, indie devs will make more money on iOS and Android than on the low user base of “playstation certified” devices. (Which is not helped by the poor reviews Sony’s latest tablets got).

I also have to apologize for the bitterness and not-so-funny post when I announced wth’s exploit this morning. Not everybody is a born humorist. Although if I had to guess, I’d say people who didn’t find it funny are the people who actually bought Ridge Racer :P . Seriously though, my point was not to sound arrogant towards Sony, but to announce the release in a humorous post. So, apologies to many people on other websites who apparently didn’t catch that, I agree it’s difficult to understand where this post is coming from if you haven’t been following this blog regularly.

  1. garrei’s avatar

    Just curious about what you said in your post wololo, you say that HBL was not meant to or never has or been a gateway to full custom firmware or kernel access to enable the pirating of ISO’s etc. What was used to launch Totaln00bs exploit a while back?… just asking nicely… :)

    Reply

    1. wololo’s avatar

      I can’t remember if Total Noob used the patapon exploit or something else. What I know is that it wasn’t relying on HBL, and that he also had another user mode exploit ready in case the patapon exploit would not be god enough for some reason.

      Reply

      1. UE’s avatar

        Yeah he used a usermode exploit and just ran it through HBL for ease of use to the users.

        Reply

  2. lostarot’s avatar

    I download movies and MP3s. You can call me a pirate, I guess, not guess, I know. But like what was mentioned, all these pepole always find a way to justify pirating. You download a book online from free sources, that is pirating. Like downloading softwares that are cracked.

    These writers they want to impress readers with things they think they know and “uninformed” readers believe them. And I bet they have more readers than a website who have readers that really just want to play “classic” games and homebrews. These writers think/pretend – maybe – that they are ethically correct people.

    Besides, “Hacking” has always been a general term. It was only recently that I knew the difference between cracking and hacking. Hacking a device like what you did Wololo, opened the system to an erternal code which meant “piracy” to the uninformed.

    Congratulations Wololo, You are now mainstream. Now “with great knowledge comes great responsibility”. LOL

    Reply

  3. hook2008’s avatar

    The progress of mankind does not need more and more restrictions, but more and more freedom.

    Reply

  4. Woto’s avatar

    And on another note, Holy Shit, Tennis is still up and on the store!

    Reply

  5. Milk’s avatar

    Beautiful post, well said wololo. Maybe one day sony will see it in our eyes, to be able to allow homebrew support, and possibly emulators under their sleeves, but that’s not likely to happen..keep up the great work wolo, I love your post’s, and I actually take the time to read them out.
    -Josh

    Reply

  6. raziel’s avatar

    I hate Sony! I can’t believe they have made a gorgeous hardware and NO applications are provided to utilize it’s full potential. They won’t allow any homebrews too! FUCK U SONY! Not even a browser that supports flash! All the proprietary stuffs and Vita games & mem cards are fuckin expensive too.

    Reply

  7. SONYSON’s avatar

    Will an adjustable Spring works with my Integra STOCK SHOCKS?

    Reply

  8. Iono’s avatar

    Get rich… It solved Sonys problems…

    Reply

  9. Centollu’s avatar

    What’s up with Ridge Racer? ;) I bought it and I’ve found your previous post really funny. This with only knowing your blog since a week ago. Have you thought if they had read it?

    I just want to thank you for your work.

    Reply

  10. francesco ita’s avatar

    Everytime i read your blog the esteem that i have towards you grows more and more!

    Keep going on Wololo :-)

    Francesco

    Reply

  11. Caio’s avatar

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t emulation illegal? Besides, I can easily use HBL to download illegal ROM’s and play it on my PSP/Vita.

    Nothing against you, though. Just pointing out.

    Reply

    1. wololo’s avatar

      This is why I explicitely mentioned that no psp/vita piracy was involved. I personally make an ethical difference between pirating content that just came out, and content that is 20 years old. But technically, yes, downloading roms from older consoles is still piracy, yes.
      Emulation in itself is absolutely not illegal.

      Reply

    2. master00d’s avatar

      In fakt playing roms in a emulator is not ilegal as long as those roms are taken from your game(that one you actualy bought)
      Its called back up ;)

      Reply

  12. SsJVasto’s avatar

    Hey @Wololo,

    I used to read your articles off psp.dashhacks.com, but figured it would be better to read from the source (and give you hits). One thing I’ve always wondered since I started on the PSP scene like you is:

    Why don’t homebrew developpers push towards code signing instead of loaders such as HBL? I’m not saying it’s a bad program, I’m just wondering if it would be more convenient to write a game that will work out-of-the-box on a stock PSP. Of course, I’m unaware of legal issues, like “you can’t use Sony’s encryption key” or “code signing can lead to piracy”, but PRO-CFW is signed and supports piracy, so that’s a non-issue now.

    @Wololo: What’s your opinion on code signing VS 3rd-party Homebrew loaders on PSP?

    Reply

  13. Aaron’s avatar

    While I will openly admit (unlike a lot of people) that I am a pirate and am not ashamed of it, I am also a person who is happy with what I get. If all I get is some great emulators of 20 year old 8 bit games then that`s awesome because frankly, I`d rather have that than any of the games available for my Vita right now. I have a 50 dollar psn card and am waiting for the next exploit game just so I can play some old rpgs on my system. This alone does not make me a pirate any more than making a copy of Rap Trax 93`that I have owned since 1993 does nor does it make the developer (in this case Wololo) a pirate OR an enabler of pirates. If someone uses a weapon improperly, Is it the manufacturers fault? Even better, if someone uses a Nike golf club to kill someone else then Nike should be held responsible for said murder. Honestly, as I write this I have become stunned that this argument even has to be had in this day and age. I`m beginning to think Darwin was wrong.

    Reply

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