Graphics card fully supported by Open Source drivers!

Graphics card fully supported by Open Source drivers!

Post by Timothy Mill » Fri, 26 Nov 2004 06:06:43



In my experience, and apparently the experience of others, finding a
graphics card which is supported by open source drivers is a bit of a
challenge.  Either the open source driver support is poor or limited,
or there are simply no open source drivers at all.  Many people resort
to buying used cards from eBay.

Frustrated, I have decided to start a project to solve the problem.
Since I am a chip designer, and I work for a company that sells
graphics cards, I decided to approach management with the idea, and
they agreed that if I could justify it economically, we would do it.
The primary objective is to produce a graphics product which has fully
open documentation and fully open source driver.

When I first brought up the idea on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, it
received quite a bit of attention.  Lots of discussion on LKML
resulted in an article on kerneltrap.org, followed by a link from
Slashdot.

Now, there is a mailing list dedicated to this project which can be
found at:
http://lists.duskglow.com/mailman/listinfo/open-graphics

A preliminary feature spec can be found at:
http://open-graphics.duskglow.com/openspec.pdf or
http://www.techsource.com/Open_Graphics/Open_Graphics_Spec.pdf

In addition, one of the list members put online a petition pertaining
to pricing of the proposed graphics card:
http://www.petitiononline.com/3dc4rdlb/petition.html
(I think the petition will be valuable feedback for the company to
determine viability.)

As someone who uses Linux as his primary platform, both at home and at
work, I would really love to see something like this come to fruition.

Unfortunately, the attention people have paid to this project has
started to wane.  I figure either people really aren't that
interested, or they just don't know about it.  I decided to test the
waters by posting to a few different forums around on the web.  It
turns out that there are plenty of interested people, but they just
haven't heard about it because word hasn't spread.

Although my employer is capable of and willing to help me to market
this, they have not taken an intrusive role in the project, in part
because they understand that this is not a normal project.  This is
more of a community project than it is a "Tech Source" project, and
they have respected that.  Unfortunately, being an engineer rather
than a sales person, I haven't had huge success on my own in
generating the necessary awareness among those who would be interested
in this sort of thing.

To that end, I would like to humbly ask interested parties who read
this to please pass the word around.  (And also participate in the
discussions and development process.)

I hope you don't see this as a plea for free advertizing but rather as
an opportunity to take part in the development of graphics hardware
which is compatible with Free Software principles.  I honestly believe
that there is a major need, and I would like to be part of meeting
that need.

Sincerely,

Timothy Miller
Tech Source, Inc.

 
 
 

Graphics card fully supported by Open Source drivers!

Post by Lewin A.R.W. Edward » Mon, 29 Nov 2004 13:57:41


Quote:> In my experience, and apparently the experience of others, finding a
> graphics card which is supported by open source drivers is a bit of a

You really have two problems here:

#1. Develop your open-sourceable graphics chip. Ensure that making the
documentation freely available doesn't violate any patent licensing
agreements. This might mean cutting out features that people consider
essential. For example, if the chip offers TV-out, licensing certain
patents from the MPEGLA (if you plan to) could require that you include
Macrovision and keep secret how to switch it off. If you don't license
those patents, maybe DVD playback will be slow because various patented
parts of the MPEG-2 algorithm will need to be done in software. I daresay
there are a plethora of patents in the 3D rendering field, too.

#2. Persuade manufacturers to ship your chip with machines as standard.
People don't want to buy a replacement video adapter for a brand-new
machine.