TMG Interviews DSLinux.org's Preston MarshallDSLinux is the straightest path to a 100% open and hackable Nintendo DS. Here's the straight dope on progress, timelines, hurdles and how inside sources can ruin their lives and become double agents for the DS underground...
Q: What is the biggest impediment to DS Linux happening? What needs to be solved to advance the project?
A: The largest obstacle in my mind is the limited RAM. One thing that has to be solved before anything can happen, is a DS cart. We are also working on network booting, but the DS cart has been more rewarding in info. ChaosKnight is doing much of the research on the DS cart. Kudos to him!
Q: How much would the DS Linux project benefit from some inside source? If you had access to the official dev kit would porting Linux to the DS be an trivial matter? If yes - how should corporate spies and opportunists contact you?
A: In my mind "inside" information is invaluable. MANY things aren't known about the DS hardware at this moment. A development kit would basically solve many of our problems, especially if we had received it legally and officially from Nintendo. Yes, I am interested in people contacting me about this. They can do it through PMs on the site, or on email. If I do receive a kit, any key devs will have access to it, and they must promise not to leak the code.
Q: What skill sets do you still need? What's the best way for people to get involved with the project?
A:Well, at this moment, electrical experience is required. It would also be nice if someone had a logic analyzer, or an oscilloscope. Later on, programmers experienced in embedded installations are needed. You don't have to have all of this knowledge to participate in the project, you can help by testing out our software when it becomes available, or just spreading the word.
Q: I see that you're now accepting donations via PayPal. How greatly does the amount donated speed development progress - at what dollar amount do you quit your day job? Also, what is best way for poor non-techies to contribute to the DS Linux effort?
A: Donations are greatly appreciated. First of all, we need some money to keep up on the bandwidth. We currently have 5 gigs of monthly bandwidth. The fee is 99 cents for an extra gig. We have google ads, as you can see. They bring in about $4 a day, and more when people click on them. We get about $1.50 a click. Also, I could quit my job if we received $1000 a week. This may not seem like much, but its enough to run this site. Poor non-tech people can donate by clicking on the ads a few times a day.
Q: Is DS Linux likely to be released on a commercial cartridge or a wi-fi executable? Is this likely to be a free release? If not, can you give us a ballpark for price?
A: Right now, I can say that it will be released on both mediums, but it will be released for whichever one is "cracked" first. We may sell a commercial cartridge, but we can't sell the software, just the cartridge. I highly doubt you'll see this in retail stores though.
Q:What're the odds that we'll have DS Linux by Xmas? Ballpark.
A: Right now its too early to tell, but I think we will have AT LEAST a basic version by February.