Credit where credit is due
The first people to hack the Kinect were the GNU/Linux community. No mention of that in your article.
Microsoft has announced that it will release a Kinect for Windows SDK "starter kit" this spring "to make it simpler for the academic research and enthusiast communities to create rich natural user interfaces" using the motion-sensing device. "Microsoft's investments in natural user interfaces are vital to our long-term vision …
This seems like the usual glacial pace of Microsoft's bureaucracy to me. Certainly they did themselves no favours by not releasing one much sooner but a public (but not necessarily free or open) SDK was always on the cards.
The internal SDK was heavily geared towards development for the XBox, for obvious reasons. The Kinect release itself was a close run thing, schedule-wise, so there would have been no time to make a polished SDK for Windows at the Kinect's release. Been a while since that happened, though...
Firstly, no-one but blinkered, narrow minded Linux fanboyz actually care. Most people in the real world use Windows or Mac, whether you like it or not.
Secondly, credit where credit is due - MS actually released an innovative product and have reacted to demand for a toolkit in a considered manner, rather than a rushed, knee-jerk fashion.
I hope you're right, I really do. If MS would learn to love their enthusiast community a little more then the Windows community in general can only benefit.
However, I'm still suspicious. Does this mean that any 'enthusiast' that signs up for the SDK can now be sued for possible reverse engineering should they ever work on the open source version? What's in the terms and conditions? Many open source developers (especially when dealing with file formats and drivers) need to steer clear of existing works to avoid just such a situation.
I'd like to be proven wrong. Time will tell.
It looks like Microsoft have actually learned something about embracing an enthusiastic community rather than trying to roll the tanks over it.
I mean, LEGO took the same step years ago with their robotics firmware and have gone from strength to strength with community liason (and the associated truck loads of free publicity). It's about time one of the tech behemoths caught up with the modern world.
Hacking of the Kinect USB protocol can not really be compared to the current row surrounding jailbreaking PS3s. The former can result only in more sales of the Kinects. The latter could result in less sales of PS3 games (though even that is not a given).
MS were pretty quick to state that they didn't mind people sniffing the USB protocol. They must have been pretty pleased in fact. Such enthusiasm could only mean that they had a market success on their hands! The free positive publicity must have been welcome too.
It will be interesting to see if the SDK has more in it than the kits that already been brewed. It would be impressive if it turns out that MS base their SDK on one of the home brewed ones!!
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