- Reverse engineering the Bondi (pronounced 'Bond-eye') reader software to spring the first 1000 issues of Rolling Stone magazine from DRM prison.
- Documenting the Bondi Reader and providing access to binaries and patches where possible
- rambling diatribes, anime feet
Rex Banner: Git repository, eh? Well, I have one thing to say about that. What kind of git repository is filled with rambunctious yahoos and hot jazz music at 1:00 in the morning? Moe: Er, uh ... the ... best damn git repository in town! People: Yeah!
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In 2007, music fans and armchair Rock n' Roll historians were in a state of bliss because Jann Wenner's iconic Rolling Stone magazine announced the release of their entire library of periodicals -- totalling about 1000 issue -- on high-resolution DVD. The product, called Rolling Stone: Cover to Cover, states on its packaging:
"The enclosed DVDs contain every edition of Rolling Stone, from the magazine's first issue in November 1967 through May 2007, front to back, first to last, cover to cover."
But there's more, which is where things get problematic. The description continues:
"The install CD contains Bondi's powerful magazine browser, which allows users to search, view, explore and organize the entire archive, quickly and easily. Every record review. Every in-depth profile. Every provocative investigation."
Oh, boy. A "magazine browser..."
Where to begin?
Perhaps with the f*cking MAGAZINE BROWSER, considering that people have been circulating and deriving peak usefulness from the self-contained technological marvel known now -- I presume -- as the "browserless magazine" since time immemorial, and the act of interfacing with such technology (known in common circles as "reading") owes its longevity and ubiquity primarily to its self-contained design and its complete and total lack of need for inserting a bloated, full-of-B.S. middleman into the process.
Reading: it "just works."
Well, it did... that is, until renowned money-grubbing greed-head and fake hippie turned reluctantly bearded quasi-magnate Jann Wenner and his gang of bumbling keystone-cryptographers at Browni -- excuse me -- Bondi got ahold of it. And -- as I imagine must be the only plausible explanation -- set out on a Don Quixote-esque windmill-joust fueled by a snort or two of the noxiously bitter powdered mixture of horse tranquilizers and obscure mescaline analogues known around 1290 Avenue Of The Americas simply as "Hunter S. Thompson Cremated Remains," with the intention to BREAK THE FKING ST OUT OF READING for fear that its inherent usefulness might marginally reduce the profitability of the future low-effort, painfully inevitable cash-grab when they re-release the same recylced material on the next generation of scheme intended to rob value from purchasers and generally treat customers -- whom they despise -- as rubes who exist only to be picked up by the ankles and jiggled until the last penny falls out of the pockets of their J.C.Penny overalls.
But I digress...
The proprietary, closed-source software, made by the now-defunct firm Bondi Digital Publishing, is only incidentally a "magazine browser." Its primary function is not to provide access to the magazines, but to severely limit access to them. It is -- in true mid-2000's vogue -- an infuriatingly unusable piece of I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Malware that only has one purpose for existing: preventing the owners of content from being able to access and use their own property in a reasonable or normal way of their own choosing, and instead offering only a frustrating approximation of the property the purchaser had been promised and had bargained for. On a scale from zero to please-kill-me it falls somewhere between submarine screen-door and eunuch-gigolo (the latter, i should be careful to note, having a small but passionately devoted niche-following, or so I have been told and not from personal experience... that's not my bag, really. My thing is anime feet. All day, all night: nothin' but anime feet).
But I further digress...
Where was I?
Oh, yeah. The anime feet -- I mean, the reasons (legal, philosophical, otherwise) that I decided to blunder my way into this undertaking:
To my knowledge, nobody else has done this.
I'll leave it up to others to opine over what this says about our society, but the Rolling Stone archive is a hugely important piece of American history. It is the primary repository of information regarding a very large and consequential segment of American society throughout the latter part of the 20th century. And it is precisely that segment which gave birth to the contemporary technological society we live in today. Rolling Stone, the corporate publisher as it is today, is done with Rolling Stone the magazine as it was in the 60's and 70's. The perpetual money grabs gotta stop, this stuff should belong to the public. The law should reflect this but it doesn't, so write your congressperson. This content should be free (free as in no-cost and free as in freedom) for people who want to read it. This information is important, it's not available anywhere else, and at this point it's just being held for ransom .
DRM renders content inaccessible to people who are blind, disabled, or learn differently. The entire scheme is unfair and biased against people who have special needs or who use computers in non-standard ways. DRM limits accessibility by design, that's literally what it's intended to do, so all of that should have been foreseeable. But the developers didn't care because they were greedy. Rolling Stone can put Bob Marley on the cover of their magazine, which is great, but it would have been better if they'd maybe taken to heart his message about the power of love overcoming the love of power. As a matter of principle alone, it should be thwarted.
Bondi software is no longer supported. So far as I can tell, Bondi Digital Publishing doesn't even exist anymore. The Bondi Console no longer functions on MacOS at all (it was never updated to 64bit). It still functions on Windows, but only if you can find a copy of the patch -- which is virtually impossible (I will be making it available here. It is, of course, closed source -- so I can't provide source code at this time, which bothers my sensibilities (maybe, with a little luck and perseverence, I'll be able to reverse a good deal of this stuff to source)). I will be using this repository as a general source of information about Bondi reader and Rolling Stone: Cover to Cover. So far as I know, this is not currently being done--which further increases the risk of this information being lost or suppressed.
What you can expect from this repository:
General disorganization, rambling diatribes, anime feet.
Bondi Reader files, patches, and DVD images (.iso and .msf).
The FataMorgana C-Header library and FataMorgana compiled binary.
The Rolling Stone database file.
Decompiled code, dependency diagrams, Ghidra analyses and function dumps.
Write-ups about random findings I've stumbled upon poking around the software.
Desperate pleas for help from anyone who knows anything about reverse engineering software.