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In computing, an emulator is hardware or software that enables one computer system (called the host) to behave like another computer system (called the guest). An emulator typically enables the host system to run software or use peripheral devices designed for the guest system. Emulation refers to the ability of a computer program in an electronic device to emulate (or imitate) another program or device. Many printers, for example, are designed to emulate HP LaserJet printers because so much software is written for HP printers. If a non-HP printer emulates an HP printer, any software written for a real HP printer will also run in the non-HP printer emulation and produce equivalent printing. Since at least the 1990s, many video game enthusiasts have used emulators to play classic (and/or forgotten) arcade games from the 1980s using the games' original 1980s machine code and data, which is interpreted by a current-era system.

A hardware emulator is an emulator which takes the form of a hardware device. Examples include the DOS-compatible card installed in some 1990s-era Macintosh computers, such as the Centris 610 or Performa 630, that allowed them to run personal computer (PC) software programs and FPGA-based hardware emulators. In a theoretical sense, the Church-Turing thesis implies that (under the assumption that enough memory is available) any operating environment can be emulated within any other environment. However, in practice, it can be quite difficult, particularly when the exact behavior of the system to be emulated is not documented and has to be deduced through reverse engineering. It also says nothing about timing constraints; if the emulator does not perform as quickly as the original hardware, the emulated software may run much more slowly than it would have on the original hardware, possibly triggering timer interrupts that alter behavior.

Terminal emulators are software programs that provide modern

Terminal emulators are software programs that provide modern computers and devices interactive access to applications running on mainframe computer operating systems or other host systems such as HP-UX or OpenVMS. Terminals such as the IBM 3270 or VT100 and many others, are no longer produced as physical devices. Instead, software running on modern operating systems simulates a "dumb" terminal and is able to render the graphical and text elements of the host application, send keystrokes and process commands using the appropriate terminal protocol. Some terminal emulation applications include Attachmate Reflection, IBM Personal Communications, and Micro Focus Rumba.

Impersonation by malware

Due to their popularity, emulators have been impersonated by malware. Most of these emulators are for video ga

Due to their popularity, emulators have been impersonated by malware. Most of these emulators are for video game consoles like the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, etc. Generally such emulators make currently impossible claims such as being able to run Xbox One and Xbox 360 games in a single program.[27]

Legal issues

See article global computer networks continued to advance and emulator developers grew more skilled in their work, the length of time between the commercial release of a console and its successful emulation began to shrink. Fifth generation consoles such as Nintendo 64, PlayStation and sixth generation handhelds, such as the Game Boy Advance, saw significant progress toward emulation during their production. This led to an effort by console manufacturers to stop unofficial emulation, but consistent failures such as Sega v. Accolade 977 F.2d 1510 (9th Cir. 1992), Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. v. Connectix Corporation 203 F.3d 596 (2000), and Sony Computer Entertainment America v. Bleem 214 F.3d 1022 (2000),[28] have had the opposite effect. According to all legal precedents, emulation is legal within the United States. However, unauthorized distribution of copyrighted code remains illegal, according to both country-specific copyright and international copyright law under the Berne Convention.[29][better source needed] Under United States law, obtaining a dumped copy of the original machine's BIOS is legal under the ruling Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc., 964 F.2d 965 (9th Cir. 1992) as fair use as long as the user obtained a legally purchased copy of the machine. To mitigate this however, several emulators for platforms such as Game Boy Advance are capable of running without a BIOS file, using high-level emulation to simulate BIOS subroutines at a slight cost in emulation accuracy.[citation needed]

See also