This is my presentation at the annual Free Software Foundation meeting (LibrePlanet conference) held at MIT, on March 2016.
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.
More info at the LibrePlanet MediaGoblin instance.