It's a bit of a dark time in the homebrew scene at the moment, I'm afraid. With the declared break-up of the partnership between PSP-Dev and WAB, something so short that we barely had time to even appreciate it, as well as the ceasing of the PSPEmulator, things look a little grim at the moment. Let's take a look at them and then look at a couple of shining lights that are out there, even if still at a distance.
It all really starts with Team Xecuter, well known in the XBox modding business and well respected for that. They declared that they had discovered how to downgrade the firmware but would not release it. Naturally, this was like dangling a canteen of water in front of a man without...people kept pursuing it. A few weeks ago, WAB declared they were working on a downgrader for 1.5x. After that, an incomplete (I won't get into the validity issue of it) video was released showing not only that it was intended to work with 2.0 as well but it was being done in partnership with PSP-Dev's team. While some cried foul, others cried with joy. Split right down the middle. Another, higher resolution was shown that was stopped right before the flashing process and, once again, the split was even. One of the moderators at another website claimed to have used the downgrader and affirmed its existance. People got excited. As time passed, though, rumours spread like wildfire and the downgrader didn't come out. Now, today, we find out that the partnership is dissolved and PSP-Dev is washing their hands of the issue. There are stories of AloneTrio running off with the money and all kinds of other craziness. Only WAB knows what's happening, and maybe that's the way it should be.
So what happened? Well, the first problem is that WAB made it too personal. A direct call for donations in order to get a needed piece of machinery is ethically valid, but it gives people a sense of "buying into the business" so to speak. Not only did they feel like they had a sense of contributing, but that they had a sense of requirements from it. They were donating to an experiment and thinking they were buying stock. Unfortunately, in either case, it doesn't always pay out. I sincerely hope that no one donated more than they could afford, as that is never adviseable. The second problem was a TREMENDOUS lag time between announcement of the product and receipt of donations as opposed to the release of any tangible results or news. Regardless of the split down the middle, as referred to earlier, I don't think ANYONE felt like they were getting the whole story. As such, people had a tendency to fill in the blanks on their own and generate more confusion. Will WAB ever put out a downgrader? Ask ten people and you'll get ten answers, as the old saying goes. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though... we'll get to that in a little bit.
Now there's the much easier, although somewhat more painful, issue of the cancelled PSPEmulator to understand, due to the nature of C&D orders. Basically, Matt was trying to pull something off far too early into the game and far too publicly. Hence the C&D. Historically, it's becoming increasingly hot water as time goes by and Sony has never been the most tolerant of emulators to begin with. I recommend researching Bleem! if you're not aware of it already for a good example. Matt made the right choice in stopping production of the emulator, for those of you who are wondering. With the current political situation and the changing of the "court's guards" there is little chance of protection for the little guy. Better to bide time and wait for a better opportunity. It's likely that a reoccurance of that little miracle called VBA won't happen for a long time. (Again, do a little research into the history of VBA. Amazing that they pulled it off without going into jail themselves.)
But as I said, there is a light out there...a couple of them. The first light is this...the community itself. The homebrew community is no longer going to wait placidly for WAB to put something out. Instead, even in the past few days, they've begun to combine their respectable intelligences in an attempt to better understand the firmwares that are out there and attempt to find exploits or overflows that allow them to take command of the situation for themselves. And this isn't for glory or recognition...these threads are full of an equal sharing of ideas and honesty. That, my friends, is a very bright and shining light.
The other is this, and it may sound corny so bear with me. You have a PSP. It may be 1.0, 1.5, 1.51, 1.52, or 2.0. It may have come that way, you may have chosen to upgrade, or you may have been tricked into it somehow. It doesn't matter. You have a PSP. You are one of thousands who also own a PSP. With this winter, solid games are going to start rolling out in a variety of different areas. Multimedia options, pictures/music/movies, are going to become better and better as programs such as PSPVideo 9 become more and more adept at encoding. And beyond all of that, you are a part of the community. Let's face it, we're all in this together and we're not going to get the support of Sony. Put the past behind, step out of the darkness and check out some of the lights that are beginning to turn on. Go on..I dare ya.