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libhomebrew is the idea to create an abstract homebrew library, unifying access to different hardware, making it easy to port homebrew from one console to another. Please help making this idea real!

(Some more background about the idea can be found here)

libhomebrew: Basic Idea

For every (hacked) hardware, there is a homebrew lib / toolchain:

  • Libxenon for guess what ;)
  • libogc for Wii, GameCube
  • OpenXDK for Xbox 1
  • devkitPro is a toolchain for GameBoy Advance, GP32, Playstation Portable and GameCube.
  • SDL is not technically a homebrew lib, but has been ported to many many platforms.
  • many others I forgot here

The point is: Every community is hacking their own homebrew library, reinventing/forking functionality for libc, peripherals (USB, SD/SDHC, NAND, ..), functionality (libz, libmad, ..), storage (FAT32), networking (lwip, TCP/IP, DHCP, ...), etc.

It would be really great to have a generic homebrew lib! Such a lib would contain backends / modules / hardware abstraction layers, which are specific to the hardware you want to deploy, and plentiful functionality on top of these modules.

All it would take to support homebrew on a new device would be writing some HAL code, et voila: all the homebrew apps based on libhomebrew run on your new shiny device.


Homebrew libraries tend to cover these common areas:

  • Input (joystick, buttons)
  • Graphics (2d, 3d -- framebuffer?)
  • Sound -- waveform, synthesized, mp3/ogg, etc
  • Storage -- FAT, SD
  • Networking -- TCP/IP, UDP
  • USB?

These would be good areas to start with.

What has to be done?

First, we need some coders from different homebrew scenes to sit together and find similarities in their projects.

Then we need them to write the code ;-)

Ok ok, all that needs to be done is an abstract interface on top of the existing homebrew libraries. Thats not so much to do after all. Then we can merge the different forks of generic functionality code together and remove it from the backends. Easy, eh?

Why not taking Linux?

That might actually be an option, however the Linux kernel is rather bloated with its lengthy boot-up times, drivers for things you don't quite need for homebrew and other aspects.

Plus, sometimes you want a base which is not locking you in on GPL.

However, you could add Linux as a HAL backend to libhomebrew instead!

Linux advantage is there is already a lot of software available. So getting the little stuff missing in Linux working -decent video driver to get HDMI output and 1920x1080 support, initializing CPUs to fullspeed, perhaps a nice, easy installer- will be a nice middle step while we get better homebrew. XBox 360 Linux XMBC DVBT HD Tuner can be a sexy combination that will take too much effort doing from scratch, for example.

Why not taking L4?

It has been suggested to use the L4 Microkernel for aspects like multi-threading / scheduling / task switching. It has to be evaluated if it is possible to add L4 as a library without building the whole system on top of it.

Why not taking Libpayload?

Libpayload is part of the coreboot project. It is an abstraction library meant for easy deployment of code in boot-loader-comparable environments. It is focused mainly on x86, but looks like a promising ground. It contains its own libc implementation, whereas most homebrew projects are using newlib instead.

Category: Homebrew Software Category: Development