Time to tune back into the Homebrew Channel!
A method for unlocking the extra cores on the Wii U in Wii Mode homebrew was revealed by Marcan over at fail0verflow.
After referencing the recent reverse-engineering of the Wii U GamePad, he delved into the technical details of fully utilizing the Wii U CPU in Wii Mode.
While "a few critical hardware registers [are] irreversibly disabled in Wii Mode," it is possible to re-enable the multicore functionality of the Espresso CPU in the Wii U. Through a RAM monitoring, timing, and code-injection exploit, it is possible to run code during the boot process that enables the extra cores. However, increasing the clock speed or accessing the extra RAM made available to Wii U software is not possible in Wii Mode.
With this knowledge, Marcan hopes to see Linux ported to the Wii U to spur a larger interest in Wii U homebrew. He sees the free OS as the logical choice for an operating system due to its in-built multicore abilities and the similarity of the graphics hardware with that found in PCs, for which drivers already available, both of which would take significant effort to develop from scratch.
While speaking further about the Wii U, Marcan says that at this point, "there is basically no security left to break into, other than a mostly unimportant step of the boot process." Even though so much progress was made, he says that interest in working on homebrew for the system is minimal. Citing the ongoing fight between homebrew aficionados and those simply seeking to pirate games, as well as the troubles that modders have with manufacturers, he states that "we may have reached the point where homebrew on closed game consoles is no longer appealing."
Marcan also worries that simply releasing what has been done on the Wii U may lead to an "undeserved legal mess," which happened when they did just that for the PS3. Furthermore, he points out that cheaper, open living room devices such as Ouya may make working on closed systems unappealing.
By unlocking Wii U hardware, people in the homebrew community could, largely, use the same software already setup in the Wii homebrew community, and would hopefully build on what already exists.
Read the original article in all its jargon-filled glory here.
Image courtesy of iFixit.