Log in

❖ Browsing media by libreplanet

Hardware reverse engineering insights from the MAME

Felipe Correa da Silva Sanches, software freedom activist

The MAME Project's main stated goal is to preserve historical computer hardware. The strategy for achieving that objective is to inspect the devices and then develop emulators for them. While most hardware is undocumented and relies on proprietary firmware, the MAME development community has nurtured strong reverse engineering practices since its origins back in 1997.

The techniques that we need to master in order to develop new emulators include reverse engineering procedures that are also very useful for aiding in the creation of free firmware solutions to replace the non-free blobs used in a broad variety of daily-use devices. These skills are also useful for the development of free drivers for undocumented devices and in the porting of operating systems and BIOSes to new hardware platforms. We need to strengthen a community of skillful hardware reverse engineers so that we can solve the freedom issues denounced by projects such as Linux-Libre and Libreboot.


7 years, 8 months ago

Tagged with

LibrePlanet 2016 video · LibrePlanet 2016 · LibrePlanet · lp2016 · video

Collected in

Hardware reverse engineering insights from the MAME project: a path towards free firmware (libreplanet) · LibrePlanet 2016 Videos (libreplanet)


CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.