terryfi wrote on 2022-04-26, 15:18:
One of key issues this project did not gain much traction was the copyrighted ROM. I wonder why __shock or other main contributors didn't consider making the ROM optional.
Say it with me again for the last time: the instrument ROM is optional. The ROM is optional. THE ROM IS OPTIONAL!!!
In every case where you would really want to use an UltraSound-like card, the instrument ROM is entirely unnecessary. Traditional GF1-based GUS compatibility does not need the instrument ROM, is unaware of its existence, and is utterly incapable of using it under any circumstances. Tracker and demo playback never make use of the instrument ROM, even if/when they have direct InterWave support.
The ROM was only somewhat desirable in the time when, if someone had a sound card at all, they would only have one, and would want it to be the "complete package". It allowed lazy developers to offer MIDI playback via InterWave without much added effort or having to worry about amount of RAM installed, loading instruments to RAM, etc. At a time when most here have multiple sound devices, you would likely want to use just about any other decent MIDI device, rather than relying on playback from the 1 MiB InterWave instrument ROM.
There is some software that only knows how to use the instruments out of the ROM for MIDI playback. Those will not work, but for those titles, you would generally use another device for superior MIDI playback, anyhow. DOS-based InterWave software that is aware of RAM-bank loading (there isn't much) will load and use that, so, again, no ROM required. The ROM is relied upon in certain configurations for InterWave-based Ad Lib FM emulation, but that is so universally despised (for good reason), that you won't realistically want to use it. Once you get to Windows 9x, with the exception of software written specifically for GUS/InterWave RAM-based features, you generally want to use a different card and/or MIDI device, especially when we start talking about DirectX.
The Plug and Play EEPROM is a completely separate issue, and for the sake of your sanity, is required. This can be programmed on-card, once it is fully assembled, as documented in shock__'s archive, linked in the first post. Because anyone with a sufficient understanding of ISA PNP can re-create this data from scratch (and there are tools to do so), copyright issues are not really a factor here.