Sen Pi: Our Retro DIY Console is Here | Play SNES, N64, PS1, GBA, Neo Geo, Arcade, Atari, Etc

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We tested plenty different options for our retro gaming console, and decided to go with this. Check out the video.

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Hey Logan!

Would you consider making a handheld senpi using a pi zero or other SBC?

Did you say charge the controller for several hours. How big is the battery man. Wow

It’s only 600 mAh (10-12 hours of play), but I’m overdoing it because I don’t want people returning it after charging for only a few minutes then having a bad experience.

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Can I sell Lakka boxes?

No. Lakka is shipped with emulators protected by a Non Commercial license. Also, the name and the logo are a registered trademark.

Care to comment? regardless of whether or not you’re charging for the software you’re selling the product with Lakka installed… seems to be an issue to me. Did you get approval to use their stuff somehow?

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Hey man. I’ll write you a book. Yeah I’ve been talking to them and at least they are very cordial. However, we spoke to a lawyer and they said that we are not selling software, we selling hardware and charging a service fee for the installation. This is the part where they argue that we can’t include this with a commercial product and I argue that preloading free software (that the end user is going to install anyway) is not the same as selling this software. We are just settling an ‘ease of life’ service. It’s an impasse.

The main thing they use as ammo are the cores that are under a non commercial license, and that’s where we don’t see eye to eye. I understand we aren’t supposed to profit from the software but I argue that we are not since we pay people to do the install on our end. I don’t agree that it is as clear as they say and the lawyer I had look at it told me he thought a judge would see this as silly.

However, we don’t need drama and I really like what the devs have created. I absolutely do not want to cause any harm to the software. I do feel like units like the sen pi are actually good for the community because they extend the reach of the community, create jobs, initiate new people into the lakka world etc. This means more people contributing to their cause and Patreon as well. I think that is the big picture that people are missing. It benefits everyone.

I think the perspective is narrow. People love to paint others as corporate scum online. This is extremely naive and disingenuous. People love a cause that let’s then feel smug and self righteous… Do these same people also have to pay bills, eat, etc.? Is all money evil? Well maybe, but this stupid society forces us to have it. I’m not going to apologize for trying to make sure our employees eat. I won’t apologize for trying to have a small business. I don’t want to work for a massive corporate monster. The irony is that many who have this, “fuck these guys for being greedy,” attitude end up having to work for a big evil corruption to pay the bills. The smug righteousness is a bit silly from that perspective. People said I was greedy after the split… They said I took vacations… Etc. Well we know the sums quoted were way off and the vacations were us getting products for fenek… but yes, I wanted to make money. I will not apologize. I want to create things the community likes, I want to employ good people, and I want to create content, games, music, etc. I don’t see how doing that (as opposed to working for a corporation) makes me evil. I won’t try to please the haters. Maybe their perspectives will broaden one day, but the hate is too deep maybe.

Ok I’m going on about the philosophy of money… Let’s be pragmatic; if the libretro guys won’t budge I don’t plan to fight… What’s probably going to happen is that we will sell out of the small quantity we have (already paid install labor) then just cut our labor costs and sell a few diy kits. We could fork it and remove a few cores (just to force users to download them), but that seems circuitous and ridiculous to me. I’d rather leave this alone and do something else if it’s going to harm the community. I really wish they would just work with us. We would do videos, make hardware, and give them some profits so they can keep doing what they love… That would be positive for the community… but everyone would have to get over the ‘money is evil’ thing. I imaging there are some truly predatory companies out there, but I would never want to harm the team or community even if our philosophies are different.

I understand how they must feel like they worked hard on something and now others are benefiting. This is a closed source mentality. If they feel that way perhaps open source is not what they should do. It’s about community… Community code, community hardware, etc. It’s a collaboration. Policing the software over a logo and some non-commercial cores really goes against what open source is supposed to be, imo. This is Linux. Hardware vendors have sold computers and laptops for ages with he software preloaded… Even Ubuntu’s trademarks are ok in this instance because they are selling the hardware and the service, not the software. Red Hat is a billion dollar company working in the open source would. It’s ok to make money. We all have to get by. Hell, it’s even legal to charge money to install closed source software.

To sum it up… I think some of the smug “holier than thou” rhetoric is getting out of hand. The eye rolling and chants of, “this is disgusting,” every time something unoriginal pops up on Kickstarter are getting a little tired. You know, I feel jealous too and some of the schemes people throw online then make way too much on. I want to hate them, but really they figured out a way to not have up get a dead end job. So that is sometime. Yes, some stuff is truly predatory, but some is not. Some things can actually be a good thing for the community… If people could just stop screaming, “scum,” every time someone tries to make a living.

If people would rather support totally original stuff there is the music, the shirts, and the game project will get going in a couple months.

We will see how this goes. Worst case, well have diy boxes and tutorials.


I wasn’t going to say anything but can’t stop thinking about it. From my perspective it feels a bit like you are taking the spirit away from the open source community. It sounds like you either didn’t talk to them before doing this or did talk to them but didn’t care what they had to say. It’s rather disrespectful to Libretro. It feels like you are riding off of the success of Lakka by using the free software to sell your products. I don’t see what exactly this does to help them or benefit the project, sure they gain a few ‘users’ but Libretro themselves don’t really benefit much from you using their software as a marketing tool for your product. Maybe if you were to donate some of the funds from the sales to Libretro or something that would help. As it sits now it doens’t feel right.

From the Libretro website:

There is software behind RetroArch and Lakka that is protected by Non-Commercial licenses. It is important to respect the wishes of the developers and people behind the respective projects.

This kinda feels like something you would have called out another company for doing. I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to make money but this feels like a shitty way of doing so.


Hey guys could you like not break licenses pls thanks.

Literally write installation instructions or have an option of installing lakka for free/including a USB or something otherwise this shit looks scummy as hell.

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Logan, I don’t think anyone is faulting you in the regards to making money. In the modern world that’s something you have to do in order to move and improve.

What it seems like to me is a lot of folks are questioning the legality of the situlation. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know the full story, however from what I have seen it doesn’t appear fair in terms of Lakka’s side.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Senpi (the name is neat), and I want to see Tek Syndicate/Crit to release more hardware related items based around the community’s suggestions. But, if you’re going to do shady business practices in the name of “making money and providing jobs” that’s where you’re going to fail.

Just my two cents, hopefully you and Lakka can come to fair terms.


I’m surprised that everyone is on their side. I said if they don’t come around we will just start selling the system without the os. In fact I just told them I’d take the software off and give them all the profit for the ones that sold with software.

@Kharnage, I did offer to give them % of every sale. I wouldn’t do this if it was bad for the community.

However, I will feel like the way they are policing this is against the spirit of open source.

Open source is the idea of being able to collaborate openly. The idea of being able to freely redistribute was never part of open source to my understanding. That philosophy seems to be more in line with GNU.

Lakka is open source so that anyone can contribute and make it better, but the devs wishes seems to want to avoid redistribution in respect for the elements not owned by Lakka.

That is my interpretation of Lakka’s FAQ and open source philosophy, I could be totally wrong.

Finally home from work have had the chance to sit down and read. @Nomaran basically already said a lot of what I would have so there’s that. I think the product is simple and cool, I like it, but you went about it bass-ackwards and failed to inquire with Lakka previous to sale which is pretty important. I figured you would have become much more professional with this sort of stuff after the legal he said she said nightmare you went through a year and a half ago (granted this is not nearly as big of a deal).

I’m just dissapointed because I like that you guys are trying to move more towards making cool products as ‘what Tek Syndicate does’ but snags like this can’t be the norm or you might piss someone off the wrong person one day. In the future might be healthy to just touch base with anyone who’s stuff you use/modify just to have a clear understanding from the get-go that “Yeah this is perfectly okay everyone is on board!”


Open source allows redistribution. There is a lot of “closed source” mentality in the open source world, imo. Also, can I remind everyone that we are arguing about emulation software. Everyone needs to get off their soap boxes. There are gray areas all over this stuff. - That is the mentality I share.

I see this as “legality” vs “what they want”. The gray area in the middle is what we are arguing about… I had a lawyer explain things to me, but I will do what the community wants. I just do wish they would try to see all perspectives instead of just grabbing their torches and pitchforks. Mob mentality is weird… and I think it is uncool to use a few commercial cores and their logo as a way to police this software. Again, that goes against the spirit of open source imo. At the moment, they are posting comments on twitter and YT rather than replying to my emails. I have been very reasonable and have asked them to settle things with me through email or a phone call. I am hoping they reply today.

I feel like this mentality is bad for the community. I was willing to share revenue with them to help their development… it all just sounds like people are upset when someone makes money. I wanted to make something cool that would expand the community to include newbies and the uninitiated. I’m not happy with how elitist things are… how exclusive. I don’t like that it requires a bit of knowledge to get this stuff up and running. If you make it easy the community will grow and eventually some of those new members will become tinkerers. I see that as good for the world. And yes, I will make money to pay the employees and buy more units. This project is not going to pay our bills and anyone who thinks we are getting rich has no idea how the world works.

Even then, I don’t have time and energy to fight this and I am over fighting. I told the guys I would remove the software and donate all my personal profits from the units that had software. I am actually willing to donate all my profits forever to them. I don’t even care. I just need enough to pay an employee and order more boards/accessories. I just think a pre-installed unit is good for the community. I’ll make some tutorials and that will be how we do our part.

I actually think this might be a legality issue.

Just looking at the license for this component should of forbid you from even sticking this in your product to begin with. You may be just installing it for us, but you are still “commercially” providing it to us as a means regardless of profit.

I have nothing against you, I just don’t want these pitfalls to bite you in the ass in the future.

You may have to check all of the other components and their licenses as well.

EDIT: Also the open source mentality is one thing, but if you violate another’s rights in the name your principles, you are only invalidating your principles in the public eye.


I agree, there is also the SNES9x core and some others that we can remove. I mean, we could fork it and make people download those cores… That seems a bit silly and circuitous… Again, these are emulators and it all just seems ridiculous to me that people are getting on soap boxes over software of this nature. I think the bigger issue would be Nintendo or someone starting a fight.

Anyway, thought we have differences of opinion on these things I’ll keep talking to Daniel through email (when he replies) and I’ll just stop including the software if that is all he is OK with. I’m waiting on his reply now. I’m not out to screw anyone, but I did really want to get this out there, especially to bring new people into the retro gaming community.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave. Why can’t there just be an easy button? Amiright!?


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Lol. Good to see you. When you find that easy button, let me know. The only thing I really want to do now is make the video game… I could use a really big easy button for putting together the budget for that.

So, completely unrelated to the discussion at hand, is the email [email protected] the one I want to contact with queries about my SenPi?