OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by Stephen Edward » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



I was thinking the other day...

PC technology is rather old, and limited, but its being based on open
architecture makes it the among the most flexible of platforms.

But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much in the
same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?

What I mean is, what would you all think of an open hardware specification
project that could be used in place of standard PCs?  Something that would
not have the same limitations, but could run the same software.

Any thoughts on this?

[] "No footnote for you!" -- Footnote Nazi
--
.-----.
|[_] :| Stephen S. Edwards II | http://www.primenet.com/~rakmount
| =  :| "But something's wrong.  It takes me a moment to pin it down;
|     |  the monitor's different.  Instead of the nice 17' Trinitron,
|_..._|  there's a 15' raster gun in a dirty plastic case." -- Ben in ASR

 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by jed » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



Quote:>I was thinking the other day...

>PC technology is rather old, and limited, but its being based on open
>architecture makes it the among the most flexible of platforms.

>But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much in the
>same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?

>What I mean is, what would you all think of an open hardware specification
>project that could be used in place of standard PCs?  Something that would
>not have the same limitations, but could run the same software.

>Any thoughts on this?

        Free the OSes and API's and such things are entirely unecessary.
        Don't free the OSes or API's and such things are entirely irrelevant.

--

  "I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die     |||
   while you discuss this invasion in committe."          / | \

        In search of sane PPP docs? Try http://penguin.lvcm.com

 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by Edwin E. Thorn » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



Quote:> I was thinking the other day...

> PC technology is rather old, and limited, but its being based on open
> architecture makes it the among the most flexible of platforms.

> But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much in the
> same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?

> What I mean is, what would you all think of an open hardware specification
> project that could be used in place of standard PCs?  Something that would
> not have the same limitations, but could run the same software.

> Any thoughts on this?

Who's going to do it, and how do you get the OEMs to follow it?
Quote:> [] "No footnote for you!" -- Footnote Nazi
> --
> .-----.
> |[_] :| Stephen S. Edwards II | http://www.primenet.com/~rakmount
> | =  :| "But something's wrong.  It takes me a moment to pin it down;
> |     |  the monitor's different.  Instead of the nice 17' Trinitron,
> |_..._|  there's a 15' raster gun in a dirty plastic case." -- Ben in ASR

 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by Charles W. Swige » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



> PC technology is rather old, and limited, but its being based on open
> architecture makes it the among the most flexible of platforms.

> But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much in the
> same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?

We do have open architectures.  Are you familiar with ethernet, or SCSI, or
PCI?  How about Open Firmware and Forth for basic device driver
functionality?

Or were you thinking of an open CPU architecture?  Well, someone motivated
enough is free to make an implementation of the SPARC v9 architecture from
the spec.  And I'm pretty sure Intel would rather be the only one selling
chips to the PC world rather than dealing with a price war with AMD.

Quote:> What I mean is, what would you all think of an open hardware specification
> project that could be used in place of standard PCs?  Something that would
> not have the same limitations, but could run the same software.

Run the same software...hmm.  Are you willing to consider emulation, in which
case how does something like the VirtualPC product for PowerMacs grab you?  
Or are you talking about native backwards compatibility for the x86
architecure ala Merced/IA-64?

What exactly are you looking for, and what's missing from the current and
announced architectures already around?

-Chuck


      ----------------+-------------------+----------------------------
      You have come to the end of your journey.  Survival is everything.

 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by mlw » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



> I was thinking the other day...

> PC technology is rather old, and limited, but its being based on open
> architecture makes it the among the most flexible of platforms.

> But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much in the
> same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?

> What I mean is, what would you all think of an open hardware specification
> project that could be used in place of standard PCs?  Something that would
> not have the same limitations, but could run the same software.

> Any thoughts on this?

EISA and PCI are functions of this idea. Right now, PCI is a pretty good
implementation. The low down nitty gritty details on processor cache,
bus, and I/O are what gives EEs job satisfaction.

All in all it does not matter. You could provide an ARM32 processor at
400 MHZ, consumes very little power, really small foot print. Less than
$150, and a totally open architecture, running an OSS operating system,
and people would * that it does not run MS Office.

For what it it's worth. PCI is pretty good, and it is a good start. I
like ISA because it is easy to prototype cheap I/O cards, but, PCI is
better, over all, for a consumer system. I think an open bus standard is
about the best we can realistically  hope for.

--
Mohawk Software
Windows 95, Windows NT, UNIX, Linux. Applications, drivers, support.
Take the Mohawk Software Computer Survey at: www.mohawksoft.com

 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by Jeff Szar » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00




:I was thinking the other day...
:
:PC technology is rather old, and limited, but its being based on open
:architecture makes it the among the most flexible of platforms.
:
:But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much in the
:same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?
:
:What I mean is, what would you all think of an open hardware specification
:project that could be used in place of standard PCs?  Something that would
:not have the same limitations, but could run the same software.
:
:Any thoughts on this?
:
:[] "No footnote for you!" -- Footnote Nazi

Writing software for free is one thing, but developing hardware takes
some serious time and some serious R&D which are not cheap, much less
free.

 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by Christopher Smit » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



Quote:> I was thinking the other day...

> PC technology is rather old, and limited, but its being based on open
> architecture makes it the among the most flexible of platforms.

> But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much in the
> same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?

> What I mean is, what would you all think of an open hardware specification
> project that could be used in place of standard PCs?  Something that would
> not have the same limitations, but could run the same software.

> Any thoughts on this?

I think it's a good idea - but hardware, unlike software requires a large
amount of dollars to develop.  Then of course you have the problems of OS
and application support.

Get over those two hurdles, however, and you'll be fine :).

 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by FoulDrag » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


Quote:>> But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much in the
>> same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?

What I'd like to see is a bunch of makers who collaborate to make sure tech
info is available for their products-- if they don't provide drivers, at least
offer enough info to make them.  Of course, considering we can't even get a Tux
logo on the hardware box, would an 'open info' logo fare even worse?
--
Marada Coeurfuege Shra'drakaii Dra'torrinah(Clan Nightwings)
members.xoom.com/marada   Colony name not needed in address.
"If the darkness and hellfire within were made flesh, all dragons would be
black with red eyes."
 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by Tesla Coi » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



Quote:> What I'd like to see is a bunch of makers who collaborate to make sure
> tech info is available for their products-- if they don't provide drivers,
> at least offer enough info to make them.

It seems too me to much too ask that they to provide drivers for every OS.

Suppose hardware developers opened specs and *ceased* to provide drivers
or user support for every OS.  

Linux and other OS developers already do it for them.  Is MS disadvantaged?
M$ needs to rely on the hardware companies for this?  Hmmm.

The high costs of hardware development have been pointed out at least
a couple times in this thread.  In this scenario, other aspects of the
hardware vendors' budget are eliminated.  Driver development and user
support become jobs for others.  

One generation of hardware development, or another generation of Windows,
after this became the standard of the market... anyone care to speculate?

 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by Bill Vermilli » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00





>> I was thinking the other day...
>> PC technology is rather old, and limited, but its being based on open
>> architecture makes it the among the most flexible of platforms.
>> But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much
>> in the same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?
>> What I mean is, what would you all think of an open hardware
>> specification project that could be used in place of standard
>> PCs? Something that would not have the same limitations, but
>> could run the same software.
>> Any thoughts on this?
>EISA and PCI are functions of this idea. Right now, PCI is a pretty
>good implementation. The low down nitty gritty details on processor
>cache, bus, and I/O are what gives EEs job satisfaction.

EISA was the industry's reaction to IBM MCA buss.  In the base form
EISA was a bit faster than the low-end of MCA.  It was designed
around a 32-bit bus.  However in the IMB spec it was more in later
implementations.  Their largest implementation was a bus that could
move 16 bytes (128bits) across the bus at one time.  It was
extensible where EISA was not.

The PCI looks pretty decent in the 64bit implementaitons too.

Quote:>For what it it's worth. PCI is pretty good, and it is a good start.
>I like ISA because it is easy to prototype cheap I/O cards, but,
>PCI is better, over all, for a consumer system. I think an open bus
>standard is about the best we can realistically hope for.

And lately I've seen several systems where there is no ISA bus.
--

 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by PILCH Hartm » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



>But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much in the
>same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?
>What I mean is, what would you all think of an open hardware specification
>project that could be used in place of standard PCs?  Something that would
>not have the same limitations, but could run the same software.

Quite a few attempts for this have come and gone.  One recent one is

        http://www.ffii.org/proj/ifopn/

The problem is that this attempt would have to be non-commercial and at
the same time quite time-consuming.

--
Hartmut
Funding Association for a Free Informational Infrastructure http://www.ffii.org
providing free internet ressources to free software projects in Germany

 
 
 

OpenSource(tm)?... How about "OpenSpec(tm)"?

Post by Filargiropoulos Stavro » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



> I was thinking the other day...

> PC technology is rather old, and limited, but its being based on open
> architecture makes it the among the most flexible of platforms.

> But what if someone were to come up with a new architecture, much in the
> same way that OpenSource(tm) software came about?

> What I mean is, what would you all think of an open hardware specification
> project that could be used in place of standard PCs?  Something that would
> not have the same limitations, but could run the same software.

> Any thoughts on this?

There is a big difference between writing free software and the development
of hardware.
When someone begins to write free software probably he does that because he
has some needs  or he wants to use his program instead of some other.  Then
someone who write free software writes 5 lines of code compiles them plays a
little and publishes them to the net. There someone else finds them adds two
or three more plays a little more at so it goes.
So i guess i everyone had a lab in his room in which could make hardware then
i am sure we would already have open spec. Other way it's pretty difficult
and boring to design systems that you cant play with them.
 
 
 

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