Notes from inside your Wii

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The (Open) Homebrew Channel

November 22nd, 2016 by marcan · 2 Comments

Last weekend was the 10-year anniversary of the Nintendo Wii. We thought we’d dust off the blog with a little birthday present: the source code for The Homebrew Channel.

When we built HBC, we always wanted it to serve as a reference for what homebrew software should look like: good design, professional-looking, user friendly, stable, safe, and supporting features such as network connectivity. We hoped it would inspire other software to aspire to a similar level of quality. But we didn’t want it to become an instant base for quick hacks and mods and endless cheap variations, and we also didn’t think proliferation of installable “channels” on the Wii is a good idea: we still think it makes much more sense to have one entry point into the homebrew ecosystem, and then launch everything else from there (among other things, because it’s easy to brick a Wii by installing things into NAND). And, to be fair, the code is definitely not as pretty as what you get when running it.

However, the plan was always to eventually open source it. Bushing, in particular, always championed for this. This release is dedicated to him.

Keep in mind that, since this was never developed in public, you’ll probably find embarrassing things in the source code. We’ve kept it maintained over the various releases, and we’ve done some very minor cleanup to this release to bring it up to date with the latest version of the toolchain and remove “security” bits no longer relevant to an open source release, but other than that, what you see is what you get. This is the code that the millions of users of The Homebrew Channel are running on their consoles.


As a bonus, this code includes the fix for vWii aspect ratio on Wii U. The Title ID has been changed, so you can install it without clobbering your official Homebrew Channel (though telling them apart in the menu might be tricky!).

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In Memoriam: Ben “bushing” Byer

February 9th, 2016 by marcan · 1 Comment


Ben Byer
1980 – 2016

We are deeply saddened by the news that our member, colleague, and friend Ben “bushing” Byer passed away of natural causes on Monday, February 8th.

Many of you knew him as one of the public faces of our group, fail0verflow, and before that, Team Twiizers and the iPhone Dev Team.

Outspoken but never confrontational, he was proof that even in the competitive and oftentimes aggressive hacking scene, there is a place for both a sharp mind and a kind heart.

To us he was, of course, much more. He brought us together, as a group and in spirit. Without him, we as a team would not exist. He was a mentor to many, and an inspiration to us all.

Yet above anything, he was our friend. He will be dearly missed.

Our thoughts go out to his wife and family.

Keep hacking. It’s what bushing would have wanted.

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HBC release for a new Wii U

December 7th, 2012 by dhewg · 36 Comments

Update: HackMii Installer v1.2 with The Homebrew Channel v1.1.2 now available, see below

Another year, another console, another Hackmii Installer!

Despite all of the anti-reverse-engineering tricks we put into our last installment of the HackMii Installer, Nintendo managed to find the IOS exploit we used to install The Homebrew Channel and fix it sometime within the last two years. There never was a Wii system update for this, the fixed IOS versions can only be found on a Wii U.

They also blocked our old title ID. Consequently, we have a new release with a new version of The Homebrew Channel; this will install on both Wii consoles, and inside the virtual Wii sandbox inside the Wii U.  The currently used IOS exploit is courtesy of tueidj.

Please note that this is not running in full Wii U mode; running this on a Wii U will probably work just like on a Wii. (See if you can find any differences, we can all try to hack the Wii U together from inside Wii mode!)

Also, due to technical limitations of the virtual Wii mode, BootMii will not work on a Wii U. If we are able to resolve this, we will make a new release with BootMii support.

As usual, grab the new installer here.

If you’re unsure what do to with the installer, see this wiki page for a general tutorial on how to setup homebrew on your Wii, and this one at the brand new wiiubrew.org for savegame exploits that still work on a Wii U.

Unfortunately some bugs snuck into the v1.1 release, which are now fixed in v1.2:

  • PAL 50Hz (576i) video mode now works properly
  • BootMii/boot2 can be installed again on newer Wiis. This does not mean what you think it means. v1.1 had a bug that made BootMii/boot2 available to fewer Wiis than v1.0. v1.2 fixes that. If your boot1 is not vunerable, you still can’t and will never be able to install BootMii/boot2.
  • Icons load again in The Homebrew Channel

Sorry for the inconvenience.


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