Billy Idol’s “Cyberpunk” Promo Floppy
My 2000th post was Fair Use Wins In Richard Prince Decision , but I didn’t notice at the time. Post 2001 was, fittingly enough, about Billy Idol’s “Cyberpunk” Promo Floppy .
The first post on this blog, Hello World , was published just over ten years ago on April 15th 2003. So this is a double approximate anniversary.
Blogging helped me to practice my writing and promote my art. I wouldn’t have become a Furtherfield reviewer without it. As the net moves on to shorter form writing in walled gardens, I think I’m going to stick with blogging.
Fair Use Wins In Richard Prince Decision
Oculus Rift Free Software Projects
Billy Idols’ 1993 concept album “Cyberpunk” (see Wikipedia) was ahead of its time in its production and promotion. It’s the latter that I am interested in here. Idol gave out his email address, toured the online virtual reality communities of the day, and sent out a Macintosh floppy disk containing a multimedia introduction to the album along with the press pack.
You can find copies of the press pack available for sale online. Despite being written for the obsolete Macintosh II system, the software can still be run by copying the contents of the floppy using the GNU/Linux “dd” command and then running it using the SheepShaver Macintosh emulator (using an emulated 640×480 256-colour monitor).
It looks like this:
Oculus Rift SDK Free Software Re-Implementation
Although the Oculus Rift SDK isn’t itself free software, there are already a number of projects that use or replace it that are.
Three.js includes an Oculus Rift demo:
There’s a class for using the Rift with the polular Ogre 3D environment:
EOS3 is a virtual desktop environment:
And so is Ibex:
Vireo Perception is a Direct X ( :-/ ) hooking stereo driver:
And in fact there’s lots of good stuff on Github generally (search for “Oculus Rift”):
Oculus Rift Free Software
The proprietary Oculus Rift SDK doesn’t yet support GNU/Linux. When it does so, it will still not be possible to use it as part of a free software system. A replacement free software SDK will need to be created. This requires two bits of information. Firstly, the projections required to map rendered imagery for use in the eyepiece displays. And secondly, the format that the position sensor data is encoded in when sent over USB.
If it’s not OK to refer to, presumably the projections can be worked out by analysing the physical properties of the developer kit.
The head position sensor data is something I can sniff from my dev kit. I’ll do that soon.
My Oculus Rift developer kit arrived earlier this week. It’s an impressive modern virtual reality stereo display headset. Less impressive is the fact that, as always happens, any talk of it being “Open Source” quickly evaporated once funding was secured.
The Oculus software development kit contains source code but users are not free to use that source code as they wish. Oculus VR, the company, claim ownership of all derivatives, demand that any modifications be sent to them, and forbid using the software with non-Oculus VR devices.
That’s harsh even by the standards of proprietary SDKs. Kickstarter backers of the project are rightly complaining about this (see comments on “Open Source” here):
Oculus VR are a hardware company. Making the software that interfaces to their hardware more freely usable will drive adoption and use of that hardware. Oculus have nothing to lose and everything to gain through the network effects of making their SDK free software.
They should switch the licence to the LGPL version 3, which would ensure the availability of modifications to them without being so one-sided and restrictive.
Come on Oculus VR, get back in the game!
Edit (2013-05-03) Greetings Redditors. My justification for the claim that there was ever anything “Open Source” about the Rift was indeed the original MTBS post about the Kickstarter, which I read prior to the campaign launching:
Thanks to Art Fag City, some beautifully coloured Urinal prints from 3D Printer Experience in Chicago:
This is exactly the kind of outcome of digital distribution that I was hoping for, and I love AFC, so I’m really happy to see these.
I’m alive and very happy but incredibly busy. I have lots that I want to blog. Hopefully soon…