Coreboot + Linux-Libre could bring TONS more users


_wb_

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Another way to consider the FSF/RYF:

What do you call paying a license fee (and more) to a company for their certification stamp that your device is free from licenses?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocrisy
There does not have to be any fee for RYF certification. At least, it's something that can be negotiated (there is no fixed fee), and for a small scale indie project like this, the FSF would probably not try to get money out of it. They're a non-profit organisation after all.

But the point is moot at the moment: there is no decent recent handheld SoC that we can get and that does not need proprietary blobs for its GPU.

I wonder why ARM GPU companies insist on proprietary drivers by the way. Presumably those drivers are less complicated and there are less "trade secrets" in them than for high-end desktop GPUs. So it's a bit strange that on desktop GPUs, there are FOSS hardware options, while for the comparatively simpler low-power, feature-restricted GPUs, everything is proprietary.

I wonder, if PowerVR had a fully FOSS driver, how much easier it would have been for lunixbochs to add OpenGL support. Perhaps more performance would also be possible, if the chip is sufficiently well-documented and GL can be implemented more directly than through translation to GLES. You would think that a hardware manufacturer would encourage people to do work for them to make their hardware do more and perform better. I wonder what they think they have to lose. Maybe they're ashamed of the quality of their code, but we don't need to see the code to know that it is crappy -- the bugs speak for themselves. Maybe they are afraid of patent trolls? Or they want to obfuscate their hardware design?
 

WizardStan

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Or they want to obfuscate their hardware design?
That's the explanation I've always heard, not just on embedded but for the longest time the reason behind NVidia's and ATI's reluctance to provide any sort of source or documentation for their chips as well.
 

lunixbochs

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I wonder, if PowerVR had a fully FOSS driver, how much easier it would have been for lunixbochs to add OpenGL support. Perhaps more performance would also be possible, if the chip is sufficiently well-documented and GL can be implemented more directly than through translation to GLES. 
Except for a few cases, the GLES output of glshim is much more like what the video card wants than the original OpenGL was. I'm not sure an open-source driver would have a much different implementation of glshim at all. Besides, it works on every card, not just the PowerVR :)
 
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bzar

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Or they want to obfuscate their hardware design?
That's the explanation I've always heard, not just on embedded but for the longest time the reason behind NVidia's and ATI's reluctance to provide any sort of source or documentation for their chips as well.
I remember reading somewhere (no quotes to offer, truth value of the following is unknown) that it's because of a tangle of cross-licensed stuff with a multitude of partners and competitors. They can't make an open driver nor expose some things about their chips without disclosing stuff the licences prevent them from disclosing. They may support others making open drivers clean-room and offer patches for some stuff they're sure they are on the clear with, Because it's a tangle, they're playing it safe and work on the open drivers based on a white-list rather than a black-list of things they could help with. Even if they wanted to do a chip with open drivers, they'd need to basically make an entirely new chip architecture and drivers to go with it that provably don't contain any licensed stuff.

I have no idea how much truth there is to that. Feel free to shoot it down :)
 

comradekingu

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Yes, that is true.

Lest we forget they are unwilling to do so, they are also to some degree unable.

PowerVR got their stuff back in the day from ATI, at one point it was a scaled down graphics card that had a lot to do with regular ati cards, and it has lots of licensed things from other parties, so they cant open it. It gets worse and worse too, the SGX6 series is even more cancer.
 
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ekianjo

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The point is: it's a unique device with lots of strengths and weaknesses, but the versatility, openness and universality is the main advantage it has. Nearly everything it can do, can be done better by some dedicated device, but if you want to carry around all those dedicated devices, you're going to need two backpacks instead of just a cargo pants pocket.
I think we are saying the same thing then - strengths and weaknesses while it can do many things. And avoiding false expectations. 

Of course, I don't think we should limit it to gaming only - because then the price point would not be justified easily. 
 

pfanne

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PowerVR got their stuff back in the day from ATI, at one point it was a scaled down graphics card that had a lot to do with regular ati cards, and it has lots of licensed things from other parties, so they cant open it. It gets worse and worse too, the SGX6 series is even more cancer.
Wasn't it Qualcomm who bought ATIs mobile division?
 

ZXDunny

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How to achieve happiness:

1. Register to OP Forum

2. Create a thread asking if [device] can be truly "Open"

3. Sit back, and watch as thirty pages or so of argumentative drivel spews forth

How I miss this.

D.
 

DrHAX

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How to achieve happiness:


1. Register to OP Forum


2. Create a thread asking if [device] can be truly "Open"


3. Sit back, and watch as thirty pages or so of argumentative drivel spews forth


How I miss this.


D.
You forgot to add pop some popcorn to that list:D
 

Klumpen

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dimag0g

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The point is: it's a unique device with lots of strengths and weaknesses, but the versatility, openness and universality is the main advantage it has. Nearly everything it can do, can be done better by some dedicated device, but if you want to carry around all those dedicated devices, you're going to need two backpacks instead of just a cargo pants pocket.
I think we are saying the same thing then - strengths and weaknesses while it can do many things. And avoiding false expectations. 

Of course, I don't think we should limit it to gaming only - because then the price point would not be justified easily. 
That's the real issue with Pandora marketing, actually. While geeky individuals see why such a device is worth €300, it's really hard to explain to a typical user what are all those features you're talking about and how do they apply to real life. Most of those users are actually better off using a tablet with gaming controls, priced at €100-150. And believe me, the argument "you can code on it" works for maybe 100 people out of 4000 pandora users.

So IMHO you do need to focus on a killer feature for a successful marketing, and I only see one for Pandora and Pyra - versatile gaming/emulation device (edit: well, also full-featured browser experience). Yes, it will be like selling a swiss knife to a girl who needs to fix her nail on the go, but that's the best you can do. Promoting versatility will attract less users than it will confuse.

BTW, swiss army knives are useless toys for kids aged 20+ who happen to use its screwdriver maybe twice in the knife's lifetime: once to check it out, and a second time to impress a friend. Those knives only sell well because of the brand strength, which makes them a socially acceptable gift/souvenir. Pandora/Pyra can't yet rely on brand.
 
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dflatline

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The utility of a swiss army knife isn't that it's paricularly good at anything, it's the form factor. It's something you can carry without a specific use in mind, but if you were planning on unscrewing some screws it'd be far more sensible to take a screwdriver with you. I think in that sense its got a lot more in common with a Pandora/Pyra than not. Except the Pandora/Pyra has the benefit of being particularly good at one thing and that's gaming and emulation. It occupies a very small a specific niche where if someone has heard about it they know instantly whether they want one or not regard
less of how its marketed because it just doesnt have any real competition. The only near equivalent devices are a hacked PSP for emulation and a Nokia N900 for everything else.

I think pushing it as a emulation device with enough buttons and really good battery life is what attracts users, anything extra just justifies the price to people who would want one anyway.
 

Bosbeetle

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I think pushing it as a emulation device with enough buttons and really good battery life is what attracts users, anything extra just justifies the price to people who would want one anyway.
Well Ive seen a lot of people who have one for the musical abilities that don't care about gaming at all, and who wouldn't have come across it anyway.. They did come across it via the conference ED has been going to or pandora owners who bragg about their pandora (like me)
 

dimag0g

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Well Ive seen a lot of people who have one for the musical abilities that don't care about gaming at all
And how many people is "a lot", exactly? Qjackctl has around 500 downloads over 10 releases, which gives an estimate of some 50 people interested in it. The same calculation done for Drastic computes to about 1000.

I'm not saying we should discard small communities, not at all. But if we're talking marketing here, we should assume that any effort spent on emulation (like latest 3D drivers available out of the box) is 20 times more valuable than effort spent on audio features-du-jour.

Now, if someone tells me that he wants Pyra to ship with only free software because it's the right thing to do, I can respect that and even agree to some extent. But asking for Pyra to be RYF (and drop 3D drivers) and using marketing arguments to justify it is just nonsense.
 
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Bosbeetle

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Well Ive seen a lot of people who have one for the musical abilities that don't care about gaming at all
And how many people is "a lot", exactly? Qjackctl has around 500 downloads over 10 releases, which gives an estimate of some 50 people interested in it. The same calculation done for Drastic computes to about 1000.

I'm not saying we should discard small communities, not at all. But if we're talking marketing here, we should assume that any effort spent on emulation (like latest 3D drivers available out of the box) is 20 times more valuable than effort spent on audio features-du-jour.

Now, if someone tells me that he wants Pyra to ship with only free software because it's the right thing to do, I can respect that and even agree to some extent. But asking for Pyra to be RYF (and drop 3D drivers) and using marketing arguments to justify it is just nonsense.
I know 5 and that 5 out of 5 other pandora owners I know, so for me it feels like 100% ;)

And I agree on the nonsense bit :)
 
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Grench

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Well Ive seen a lot of people who have one for the musical abilities that don't care about gaming at all
And how many people is "a lot", exactly? Qjackctl has around 500 downloads over 10 releases, which gives an estimate of some 50 people interested in it. The same calculation done for Drastic computes to about 1000.

I'm not saying we should discard small communities, not at all. But if we're talking marketing here, we should assume that any effort spent on emulation (like latest 3D drivers available out of the box) is 20 times more valuable than effort spent on audio features-du-jour.

Now, if someone tells me that he wants Pyra to ship with only free software because it's the right thing to do, I can respect that and even agree to some extent. But asking for Pyra to be RYF (and drop 3D drivers) and using marketing arguments to justify it is just nonsense.
I know 5 and that 5 out of 5 other pandora owners I know, so for me it feels like 100% ;)

And I agree on the nonsense bit :)
IMHO RYF is nonsense to begin with.  A proprietary standards advertising organization to ensure that there are no proprietary standards used...  Not worth the licensing fees.
 

rygD

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BTW, swiss army knives are useless toys for kids aged 20+ who happen to use its screwdriver maybe twice in the knife's lifetime: once to check it out, and a second time to impress a friend.
I know what you are trying to say, but this is not actually the case.  I have had several multitools since I was under 10.  I use them regularly and know many others that do as well.  Many people prefer the ones with pliers that are more rugged and heavy.  Some of us prefer the smaller, lighter weight swiss army knives.  I have used the phillips screwdriver on the current one I carry many times, yet I do prefer a better screwdriver if I have the option, and sometimes the one on the knife is not long enough.  When it does get used I am glad I have it.  I use the blades and scissors frequently, and have used the file and awl a few times.  The only things I can't remember using are the saw and that stupid hook thing, and I avoid the toothpick.

I have recently discussed with someone who was against the swiss army knife approach of some network devices.  Yes, it is nice to have dedicated stuff, but if you don't have the funds, space or need for more then having one thing that can handle your requirements it is a valid option.

The same is true of the Pandora and Pyra, however they have one more thing in common with swiss army knives that don't really apply to network hardware: they can fit in your pocket.  Yes, a better knife or screwdriver will probably be more useful.  Not everyone carries a tool kit with them.  My Pandora isn't as powerful as other computers, but if it is what I have with me I still get much more use from it right then than the computer I have at home, and it works better for me than a touchscreen only Android-based device.
 
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