I notice there are a number of sites (including Slashdot) now covering the fact that archive.org is hosting a complete collection of MAME 0.151 ROMs (without CHDs I guess)
While it should go without saying this has nothing to do with myself or Mamedev. The hosting of these files is the choice of the archive.org administrators, and their choice alone. We do not ship either MAME, MESS or UME with any roms, and have no intention of ever doing so. It is a reference emulation project only, something I’ve tried to stress many times.
The articles also seem quite confused, saying you can run them in JSMESS, when JSMESS is obviously for computers / consoles etc. (they also host a large collection of No-Intro stuff that is actually used with that) If it was JSUME or JSMAME it would be another story of course.
You can’t currently run console stuff in MAME, or arcade stuff in MESS. You can run both in UME, otherwise arcade in MAME, and console/computers in MESS.
I hope there is no negative fall out from this, but I feel it important to once again point out that MAME (and MESS) are NOT projects about playing free games and that we do not condone or facilitate large scale piracy.
What we provide is factual references, and emulation of hardware components. Our aim is to make these as good as possible, and be able to emulate ANY possible piece of software that might run on them; emulating and documenting more software allows us to improve our hardware emulations, improving our hardware emulations allows more software to run, naturally we reference what we have used to make this progress, but at no point do we actually provide it.
In terms of project goal you’ve only got to look at the MESS part of the codebase (that we now ship with the MAME source) to see there are emulations of random devices like EEPROM programmers, Car Computers, Digial Clocks and Homebrew computers etc. This hopefully shows that the project is about something much more important and with a much wider scope than what some people assume (that they’re simply projects about playing games for free). Even in MAME we emulate things like Firmware update programs, and have skeleton drivers for Coin-operated Jukeboxes (and in the most recent update, an electronic Darts board) none of which would be included if it was merely a project about playing games. FWIW this has always been one of my arguments for fully combining the project binaries by default, it makes this position a LOT clearer because most of the cases that demonstrate this well do come from MESS.
I should also stress that popular systems in MESS are also often handled differently to other emulators, there are reasons we document the proper content of cartridges, and require real rom dumps for things like NES where possible (rather than simply using .nes files which lose this information) Design choices like this might make things more inconvenient for users (and has zero benefits in terms of playability) but does result in our history being better documented which is more important when it comes to the goals of the project and again emphasizes that this isn’t simply a project about ‘free games’.