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Clash of the Titans Over USB 3.0 Specification Process

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the so-you'd-cut-this-giant-electronic-baby-in-half dept.

Intel 269

Ian Lamont writes "Nvidia and other chip designers are accusing Intel of 'illegally restraining trade' in a dispute over the USB 3.0 specification. The dispute has prompted Nvidia, AMD, Via, and SiS to establish a rival standard for the USB 3.0 host controller. An Intel spokesman denies the company is making the USB specification, or that USB 3.0 'borrows technology heavily' from the PCI Special Interests group. He does, however, say that Intel won't release an unfinished Intel host controller spec until it's ready, as it would lead to incompatible hardware."

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269 comments

1394 For Life (5, Insightful)

vertigoCiel (1070374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23805955)

Ever the more reason to never give up Firewire until they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Re:1394 For Life (4, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23805967)

Ever the more reason to never give up Firewire until they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
But why does everything with firewire have to cost an extra $30 or so?

Re:1394 For Life (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23805991)

Because it was designed by Apple.

Re:1394 For Life (2, Insightful)

armanox (826486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806495)

Nice try at humor. Also called Sony ILink, it coests more because it needs a firewire controller

Re:1394 For Life (4, Informative)

armanox (826486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806549)

Also, the royalties are not in effect any longer...

Re:1394 For Life (2, Interesting)

coleblak (863392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806741)

So? Just leave that extra royalty covering bit tacked on. More profit.

Re:1394 For Life (2, Informative)

theshibboleth (968645) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806013)

Well Firewire is faster than USB, so people are willing to pay more for it. Plus it doesn't have quite as wide adoption as USB, so manufacturers don't make as many Firewire devices, which limits the supply.

Re:1394 For Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806095)

No you idiots. USB is free for anyone to implement, Firewire is a profit center for Apple et al.

As soon as tape-based camcorders die out (already happening), firewire dies with it.

Re:1394 For Life (4, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806181)

You're wrong. You are basically remembering something that's been fixed and settled a decade ago. Good job on being out of date by a decade.

The entire royalty is something like $0.25 per device, Apple only gets a portion of that.

The cost is in the smarts, each device requires a more complicated controller and an additional chip.

Re:1394 For Life (0, Troll)

Teriblows (1138203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806237)

no, apple got greedy and charged per port. over millions of units..that adds up. apple got greedy and short sighted. and we pay with an technically inferior product.

Re:1394 For Life (-1, Troll)

leicaman (1260836) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806371)

Yeah, that greedy Apple had the nerve to charge $1 per port for their intellectual property. That sure made Firewire drives LOTS more expensive! Holy smokes, how did hard drive makers survive?

And then they finally popularized USB with the iMac, forcing peripheral makers to finally use something besides PS2 connectors for, mice, ancient connectors for printers, etc. PC makers had USB first, but few companies made USB peripherals until about six months after the iMac came out. Why? Because they didn't need to. Apple took the other ports off the iMac and forced them to make USB peripherals. And that was when Apple was in bad shape!

Later, USB 2 was marketed as fast as Firewire, even though in reality it's much slower than Firewire 400, let alone 800. Leave it to those who don't develop technology to market their products as better rather than actually MAKE them better.

Yep, Apple is worse than Microsoft. Ignore that Apple's Server OS has unlimited client licenses. That they use lots of open source software and have contributed significantly to open source through Webkit, Bonjour, etc. They're just as greedy as Microsoft. Uh huh.

Re:1394 For Life (1)

Josue.Boyd (1007859) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806447)

I found it funny that you had to compare Apple to Microsoft in your response.
What did Microsoft have to do with this debate?
Or is it just a requirement that a person hate Gates to be considered intellectual?

Re:1394 For Life (1)

ya really (1257084) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806645)

I found it funny that you had to compare Apple to Microsoft in your response. What did Microsoft have to do with this debate? Or is it just a requirement that a person hate Gates to be considered intellectual?

Perhaps you should reread his post, it was obviously sarcasam (though pointing it out ruins the effect).

Re:1394 For Life (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806463)

A $1 licensing fee is quite expensive for a $5 thumb drive or $10 hard drive enclosure.

Re:1394 For Life (1)

countach (534280) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806589)

True, but I'd happily pay a buck or two more if everything was firewire. Having to have 3 different types of connections on my computer costs a lot more.

Re:1394 For Life (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806727)

Good idea! Maybe we should look at having some kind of "Universal Serial Bus" that everybody can use as a standard!

Re:1394 For Life (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806827)

You moron!!! What do you think USB stands for???

Re:1394 For Life (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806603)

You seem to think this article is about sub-Gbs speeds. Sure, Firewire is the king there. But this is the next level and Firewire don't come close on speed.

Look on it from the bright side, a few years from now you and your likes will claim how Apple popularized USB3. If it weren't for Apple we would still be using low speed Firewire and so on. Great, isn't it.

Re:1394 For Life (3, Informative)

punkass (70637) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806673)

Yep, and of course they won't be updating Fireware ever again, either. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FireWire#Future_enhancements [wikipedia.org]

Re:1394 For Life (4, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806815)

There is no shortage of people willing to beat a dead horse.

Re:1394 For Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806355)

Hmm, $0.25 per port versus $0.00 per port, and you think I'm wrong? I think your tard helmet is on too tightly.

Re:1394 For Life (0, Flamebait)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806829)

"Well Firewire is faster than USB"

Firewire What vs. USB What? USB 2.0 is faster than Firewire 400. Firewire 400 is faster than USB 1.1. USB 3.0 at 3 Gbps is over 3 times faster than Firewire 800.

Re:1394 For Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806045)

Because it requires smarter chips for the protocol. Unlike USB, the CPU doesn't need to spoon-feed the data across the bus.

Dear God is USB terrible for fast I/O. Try comparing the two sometime. It's ridiculous how slow the USB drives I've used are, compared to the firewire.

Re:1394 For Life (1, Insightful)

Macrat (638047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806051)

USB = cheap crap

1394 = quality technology

Re:1394 For Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806375)

forgot about this one ?
http://www.sophos.com/security/blog/2008/03/1173.html

Re:1394 For Life (3, Insightful)

enoz (1181117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806513)

If someone has physical access to your computer then it is already game over*.

Why bother using firewire hacking when it is much simpler to do a hard reset and load a bootable CD?

*YMMV, See TrueCrypt for example.

Re:1394 For Life (1)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806561)

Because my computer doesn't boot to CD and the Bios is passworded?

Re:1394 For Life (2, Informative)

Poltras (680608) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806635)

You're using a BIOS? Holy crap, I'll just remove the battery of the cmos for 5 minutes and I'm done. Or use the jumper to go faster.

Admit it, once you have access to the computer, it's game over. Unless you encrypt the hard drive. The whole thing. And your RAM as well. And use EFI. Encrypted...

Re:1394 For Life (2, Funny)

Phroggy (441) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806679)

You forgot about the padlock on the chassis.

Re:1394 For Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806637)

Because my computer doesn't boot to CD and the Bios is passworded?
Nothing a little battery removal can't fix...

Re:1394 For Life (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806629)

This gets me wondering:

Does eSATA have this issue where one can plug in something into an external SATA port, then be able to dump the memory of a local computer to fish out encryption keys?

Of course, its pretty much game over if the bad guys get physical access to the machine, but disabling IEEE 1394 will slow them down at least, forcing them to try to find another bus to hotplug onto for the RAM dump (PCI, PCI-e.)

cheap crap for cheap crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806439)

USB being cheap crap is a good thing. USB puts the complexity on the host end: great for cheap peripherals.

Personally, I think USB should stop at the theoretical 480 mbps.

Re:1394 For Life (1)

ya really (1257084) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806239)

But why does everything with firewire have to cost an extra $30 or so?

I believe in short, it's because firewire directly interacts with the computer's hardware without any conversions, while usb has to be passed through software/firmware first, though it could be as already said, licensing fees by Apple.

Re:1394 For Life (4, Informative)

outZider (165286) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806433)

FireWire requires an actual IO controller, where USB 2 relies on the CPU and the driver.

In short -- FireWire is faster and requires far less load on the target machine. The downside is the initial cost is higher. I find it pays for itself pretty quick.

Re:1394 For Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806693)

The same reason which made SCSI cost more than IDE in the 90'ties and why UW-SCSI cost more than SATA:

Some people on the way earn more when you choose the CHEAPER solution... because of component prices.

So we are left with a poorer solution... like the Ethernet vs. TokenRing, Betamax vs. VHS etc. etc.

Re:1394 For Life (3, Funny)

T3Tech (1306739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23805997)

Viva IEEE 1284 FTW

Re:1394 For Life (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806105)

Pfft. I've never heard of FireWire missile launchers! FireWire cell phone chargers! FireWire GPS recievers?!

But seriously, is there such a thing as FireWire keyboards? FireWire mice? FireWire gamepads? Is there even an HID standard for FireWire?

USB is the thing. It's everywhere. It's ubiquitous. The next big standard in USB must remain U.

Re:1394 For Life (4, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806153)

I've not heard of USB missile launchers either. It shoots USBs?

True, there is no HID standard for Firewire. But that's not its strength. Firewire's strength is USB's weakness, and Firewire's weakness is USB's strength.

Firewire seems to be fading into smaller niches though. I don't want to daisy chain hard drives, so eSATA will do fine, and eSATA does allow the use of port multipliers, one port still does five drives.

I have two HDV cameras, but I don't use them much, I prefer an HF10 which writes to SDHC cards. Firewire is good for audio tasks, which I don't do.

Re:1394 For Life (5, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806207)

I've not heard of USB missile launchers either. It shoots USBs?
http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/warfare/8a0f/ [thinkgeek.com]

Re:1394 For Life (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806357)

I've not heard of USB missile launchers either. It shoots USBs?
http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/warfare/8a0f/ [thinkgeek.com]
For some reason your post reminds me of this

http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/feedback/faq_facts.shtml [bbc.co.uk]

The Office

Where can I get Gareth's Cookie Cop / Dirty Bertie / any other obscure novelty products featured in The Office?

We don't know, sorry. These things must have come from somewhere... though if you desperately want one it could be that you missed the entire point of the show.

Re:1394 For Life (4, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806725)

Firewire seems to be fading into smaller niches though. I don't want to daisy chain hard drives, so eSATA will do fine, and eSATA does allow the use of port multipliers, one port still does five drives.

It's not USB2 or SATA that cannibalized Firewire's supposed market... It's Ethernet.

Much better range, lower price, more devices, equally high speed, similar (controller) requirements, easier device sharing, etc.

High-end printers, scanners, CD/DVD duplicators, studio (audio/video) equipment, hard drive arrays, etc. They all have gigabit ethernet connectors now.

Ethernet ate the high-end, USB ate the low-end, Firewire got left out in the cold, with just a few niche applications where Ethernet is inconvenient and its benefits don't apply, and yet USB isn't quite fast/flexible enough. That basically means just digital camcorders, and a handful of studio equipment...

Re:1394 For Life (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806173)

Thing is...your examples are easily served by USB 1, without even taking us into area of USB 2. Which is usefull basically only when dealing with large storage and video devices, and those areas are very well covered by eSATA and Firewire.

So...with USB 3 we have a case of extending USB into areas which it wasn't really meant to serve...and which already are served very well.

Re:1394 For Life (2, Insightful)

Televiper2000 (1145415) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806435)

Not to mention that USB1 is really just a user friendly replacement for the old reliable RS232, and PS/2.

Re:1394 For Life (2, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806775)

Not to mention that USB1 is really just a user friendly replacement for the old reliable RS232, and PS/2.
..and IEEE 1284 (Parallel ports), and SCSI-1 (see: Pre-USB scanners, CD Burners, HDDs), and PCMCIA (see WiFi, Flash, Floppies, Zip drives, etc.), and...

Re:1394 For Life (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806789)

So...with USB 3 we have a case of extending USB into areas which it wasn't really meant to serve...and which already are served very well.

That's exactly what we had with USB 2.0... and it wasn't exactly a flaming failure.

Re:1394 For Life (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806413)

Firewire is not designed to run peripherals. It's designed for high speed, efficient transfer of data. The closest it gets to peripherals is high end scanners. Mice, printers, keyboards, basically anything human interface is more appropriate for USB. Universal Serial Bus. Firewire is not universal. The overhead created by being universal makes even the high speed USB (480) transfer data slower than Firewire 400. Then there's Firewire 800 which leaves USB in the dust nicely on file transfers.

Also firewire IO is done on the card/chip, whereas USB is done to a large degree by the CPU. This is why we saw recent threads about the 'security risk' associated with jacking into the firewire port of a computer - you have direct access to system memory on most systems. Try a file copy with USB 2, and again with firewire, watch your processor. BIG difference. This is important when you are processing video, you can't have your video IO making your video processing lag and skip frames. That's one of the reasons firewire remains dominant on video.

The only aspect of this I find puzzling is the scarcity and cost of firewire flash drives. kanguru makes them but they cost 3-4x as much as comparable USB thumb drives. Best guess here is thumb drives started their boon before most PCs had firewire ports, so they were just trying to hit the largest market, which lacked firewire, and so now we're stuck with it.

Re:1394 For Life (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806511)

> The only aspect of this I find puzzling is the scarcity and cost of firewire flash drives.

Flash drives (and iPods) don't come close to saturating USB2, so what would be the point of using firewire?

Re:1394 For Life (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806743)

The cost issue is why we have tons of USB ports and maybe one or two firewire ports on a machine. eSATA is better now for storage and I expect Firewire/DV will fall to HDD/flash recording video cameras in not that long. Since they're random access devices unlike tape, there's no dropped frames and no minimum throughput requirement. Realisticly, my machine is doing fine doing heavy IO to my internal disks, it should handle an external one just as easily. I don't see what the future of firewire is.

Re:1394 For Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806283)

Ever the more reason to never give up Firewire until they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
You realize that the phrase, "cold, dead fingers," no longer has the same impact now that Heston is gone...

Re:1394 For Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806407)

Huh? What does military headgear [dla.mil] have to do with anything?

So... (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23805963)

So will this mean in the end we will have 2 competing USB standards? USB-Intel and USB-AMD? I can only hope that one will get picked over the other before it appears in most products because after the whole HD-DVD and Blu-Ray thing it would be an absolute pain to get a computer with USB-Intel in it when all the products will be USB-AMD.

Re:So... (0, Redundant)

armanox (826486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23805969)

Yes, but, IEEE 1394 is clearly superior

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806131)

It's too bad that's irrelevant.

Re:So... (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806475)

I don't feel that it is. I hope that such a war takes place so that IEEE 1394 comes out on top, especially since it's the better option.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806177)

Hmm 3.2Gbs USB3 versus 800Mbs Firewire.

oh forgot that 1394 has a vaporware 3.2Gbs version, have fun waiting however many years it takes for Apple to ship it.

Re:So... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806627)

And what exactly do you have that can transfer data that fast?

Re:So... (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806677)

And what exactly do you have that can transfer data that fast?

Are you seriously making the argument that "800Mbps should be enough for anybody"?

Re:So... (1)

fremean (1189177) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806711)

How much of your CPU will be used to provide 3.2Gbs?

USB and firewire are two whole different ballgames tho - it's very close to comparing apples and oranges... or at the very least, apples and pears...

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806043)

At least with a computer you could just install a $20 PCI card, little bit harder with a DVD player.

Mod parent troll... (1)

professional_troll (1178701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806083)

Who invited Twitter?

Re:Mod parent troll... (1, Insightful)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806211)

I couldn't possibly be Twitter - I wasn't replying to myself.

Re:So... (2, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806069)

I think we can be fairly confident if there were USB-AMD and USB-Intel, that:

All other things being equal (no major bugs in one of the specs), USB-Intel would be the clear winner if the two standards came out about the same time, due to Intel's influence, name recognition, prestige, etc. The 5000 pound gorilla flattens the 200 pound monkey with 1 step.

USB-ADM could win, but only if it came out far enough in advance, for products to start being designed using it.

There's a limited market for devices of speeds even higher than USB 2.0, that's unlikely to support two standards like DVD+R and -R.

Naturally, if both standards survived, it would be due to devices including support for both variants of USB 3.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806145)

I'm sorry but I disagree with just about everything you said:

- all things being equal, USB-Intel would lose, look at the companies opposing it, you have AMD, Intel's biggest rival in chipsets, you have nVidia, the biggest gfx company, you have VIA and SiS - who handle pretty much every other chip in your computer.

In short, every chip in your computer except your intel chip would be specced to the disputing standard, what would Intel do to counter that? Personally try to take over the gfx market, the VIA market (I say that because it pretty much is VIA's monopoly)?

Don't get me wrong, Intel is powerful - but they haven't been the 5000 pound gorilla in a couple decades. I mean, Microsoft rose against Intel - that was decades ago. If you talk to most casual gamers nowadays I'd say they're more likely to recognize nVidia than Intel.

It's pretty much impossible for Intel to pull what you suggest off, if nVidia and AMD/ATi oppose them together that would kill off Intel in pretty much any non-linux computer. I mean, granted Intel does like linux, but I don't think they're willing to suicide their MS market over a USB standard.

Also, saying there is no significant use for speeds above 2.0 is retarded, I'm sorry because I don't want to resort to personal attacks - but seriously - 2.0 isn't very fast in all honesty, to think that 2.0 is where tech is going to level off is (again) retarded.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806599)

Intel has about 70% chipset marketshare, so your analysis is daft. Also this has nothing do with linux.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806489)

All other things being equal (no major bugs in one of the specs), USB-Intel would be the clear winner if the two standards came out about the same time, due to Intel's influence, name recognition, prestige, etc. The 5000 pound gorilla flattens the 200 pound monkey with 1 step.

Oh, you mean like Intel won over AMD with their attempt at a 64 bit processor instruction set?

(In case you don't know: They did absolutely not. Intel had to scrap their 64 bit processor because nobody wanted it, and today's Intel 64 bit processors uses AMD's instruction set.)

Re:So... (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806707)

The mistake Intel made was doing such a big jump with their Itanium line, with no 32 bit x86 compatibility. AMD extended the 32 bit x86 with 64 bit instructions, so people could continue running 32 bit code without issue.

IMHO, The Itanium architecture is way far better than the AMD64, with 128 registers for integers, and 128 registers for floating point, but because it couldn't run 32 bit x86 code natively, it has not obtained much marketshare other than for enterprise servers, where x86 compatibility doesn't matter. In this niche, it mainly competes with Solaris and AIX machines, most likely running either Windows Server 2008, or RedHat Enterprise.

Betamax theory of CE (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806089)

Once again, we'll have the VHS version and the Betamax version.

One will win. Avoid whichever one Sony gets behind.

Re:Betamax theory of CE (4, Funny)

sznupi (719324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806189)

Sooo...you're still waiting for HD-DVD to win?

Re:Betamax theory of CE (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806401)

Until DVD is considered dead or dieing, in the same way VHS is now considered dead, they have BOTH failed.

Re:Betamax theory of CE (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806415)

The exception that proves the rule. Sony got behind the one that was worse for the consumer and finally won one.

I think Sony must have sent some of their upper management to the Microsoft/Big Oil/Ma Bell School of Ungodly Profit... conventional wisdom says that pissing off paying customers and then charging them extra for the "privilege" will lead to failure, but the SoUP teaches that such a tactic will, in fact, lead to otherwise impossible success.

Of course, if they want their doctorates in screwing people over they'll still have to go to the Steve Jobs School of Making People Think Your Overpriced Crap Will Actually Make Them Cool.

Re:Betamax theory of CE (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806731)

Same exception as compact disc and 3,5 inch floppy?

Re:Betamax theory of CE (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806501)

Sooo...you're still waiting for HD-DVD to win?

This one's not over yet. Apparently online distribution was a third contender waiting in the wings. We shall see. Sony bought out HD-DVD. They can't buy out online distribution. In the meantime BD players and discs have gone up in price not down. That was a critical mistake.

Sony has some of the most brilliant engineers on earth. They're chained to the marketing team from hell. They always try to exploit their market share before it's time. A shame, really. They do a host other things wrong too. If it weren't so their supercomputer class gaming console [wired.com] would not be coming in third to the XBox and the Wii. They could use a consultant to come in and tell them how retarded their marketing team is, but they have too much pride to win. Surely I'm not the only one who sees this.

Re:Betamax theory of CE (1)

burgundysizzle (1192593) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806723)

YES!

Re:Betamax theory of CE (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806601)

My suggestion would be not to back what Microsoft backs on this one.

*cough* Lets offer a HD-DVD addon for the X-Box *cough*

Sony seems to have done pretty damned well actually. *cough* PS3 will have a Blu-Ray DVD in the unit *cough*

Re:Betamax theory of CE (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806803)

My suggestion would be not to back what Microsoft backs on this one.

Regular slashdotters will know I'm not one to endorse Microsoft's stuff. The very notion is abhorrent.

But even a stopped clock is right twice a day. This one's not over yet and Microsoft may still win this one with online distribution before market penetration of HD video is enough to lock the market.

I could probably help Sony win this one. They won't listen to me. Their loss.

Not competing standard, competing hardware designs (4, Informative)

Phong (38038) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806279)

This isn't about competing USB 3 standards -- the spec is being designed by a group, and there is only one. This is about the design of the hardware used to implement a host controller that can comply with the spec. This is something that any company can develop if they want to, but since Intel is going to license their design of the host controller for free, most companies will just wait for that design and use it to implement USB 3.

Re:So... (1)

spotter (5662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806421)

no.

currently, one has to write 1 driver for usb. no matter what chip is used, 1 driver should support it.

In linux you'll see "uhci" and "ehci" modules.

All this means is that one will have to write 2 drivers to support all usb 3 chips.

its a mountain out of a moehill.

Re:So... (4, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806671)

So will this mean in the end we will have 2 competing USB standards? USB-Intel and USB-AMD?
I think this is about host controller specs not wire protocols. So it will be like with USB 1.0 where there was OHCI and UHCI. Universal Host Controller Interface was Intel and Vias controller standard and OHCI was everyone else's. Including Microsoft. OHCI was supposed to be do more in hardware, though I don't think it made much difference in practice. But both controllers were compatible on the wire - you could easily make devices that worked with both. IIRC there were cases where the OHCI controller, because it had more informatation about the protocol could respond to information from a device inside the same frame. UHCI controllers were basically dumb and needed intervention from software on the host, so they'd respond to some device condition during the next frame, after the host stack had had a chance to think.

But according to the USB spec both behaviours are correct since the device can't make any assumptions about what overheads exist on the host.

I can't find the reference to device visible differences between UHCI and OHIC and in any case it was a very rare case. I did find this presentation by Intel that shows OHCI and UHCI performing almost identically despite the fact that OHCI controllers basically do the USB protocol in software and UHCI is just a bus master DMA engine attached to a serial interface with the protocol is done in software.

http://www.usb.org/developers/presentations/pres0598/bulkperf.ppt [usb.org]

With USB 2.0 there was a push to a unified host controller spec called EHCI. From what I can tell this spat means that there will possibly be two rival host controller specs because Intel haven't published their spec in time for other people to implement it. But I don't think that will fork the wire protocol, I think it just means that OSs will need to have two new host controller like USB 1.0 drivers rather than one like USB 2.0.

You could argue that UHCI was a good thing since it uses less hardware and performs about the same.

Incidentally Wikipedia writes this up based on the "Good open standards vs vile proprietary standards" meme, which seems a bit unfair. Both OHCI and UHCI are based on published specifications which are freely available. I don't know if you need to pay a license fee to implement either or both of them - I actually think you don't since USB was successful because you didn't need to pay a per port fee when it was introduced, unlike Firewire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OHCI [wikipedia.org]

The difference seems to me more like a software engineer view (Microsoft want to do it all in hardware like OHCI) of the world vs a hardware engineer view of the world (Intel say do it all in software with UHCI)

Non-scewed article how? (2, Insightful)

Phlegethon_River (1136619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806017)

How is this article, published online by an employee of a company supported by Intel, not biased in its analysis of the situation?

Re:Non-skewed article how? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806071)

How is this article, published online by an employee of a company supported by Intel, not biased in its analysis of the situation?

The fine article doesn't have to be bias free. We'll cover every conceivable side of the issues in the slashdot comments, and much irrelevance also.

My personal opinion: USB3.0 is cool, but give me external PCIe v2.0 x16 for the win. And Natalie Portman slathered in hot grits, of course.

Re:Non-skewed article how? (3, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806257)

I agree... the battle just heating up, how can you be biased? Not until there are two definitive sides can you get behind one or the other.

This does point out one thing, there is a lot to be said for open standards ... even if some of them have been OOXML'd lately. (that's not even valid in Roman Numerals)

No matter which version is better technically, if there is one that is not backwards compatible they will have an uphill slog trying to sell it. Yeah, I know, CDs were not backwards compatible with floppy drives, but this is a bit different. If the connector is the same, it MUST be compatible or my aunt nelly will kill someone.

Re:Non-skewed article how? (3, Interesting)

Phlegethon_River (1136619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806543)

The two sides I see here are not Specification A and Specification B but not producing an open standard and producing an open standard.

"there is a lot to be said for open standards"... Yes, Something indeed. Who lead the CD revolution? Sony. Who developed the standard? Sony (and Phillips). They released the standard after they had working products to sell. The "standard" still then cost a lot of money to even look at. (See the wikipedia article on the Red Book standard).

My Point (finally?): Giving the excuse of "we don't want to release it early because then there will be incompatibility issues" (paraphrase) is complete bunk. No company in their right mind would implement a pre-standardized hardware specification (and sink mucho dinero into the manufacturing costs of just the parts to make the parts). And if they do, they aren't AMD/nVidia or Intel. [1]

It would only help in that the other parties would be able to help improve the standard before it is released. Oh, and have equal footing with Intel too, since they would be sharing equal responsibility to creating it.

[1] Counter argument: HD-DVD and BluRay. Nope, that case is an argument FOR what I am saying, not against. If they both would have worked together to produce an open standard, instead of trying to beat each other completely, they both would have had the right product and we, the consumers, would be able to have real competition in the hardware sector.

That is all.

Re:Non-skewed article how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806735)

No company in their right mind would implement a pre-standardized hardware specification
802.11n.

(I mostly agree with the rest of it though)

Re:Non-skewed article how? (3, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806769)

Interestingly (or not) you demonstrate a logical understanding of the technology marketplace. To paraphrase you, if I may, Intel and AMD are fighting about who gets to piss on the idea of competition creates value for the consumer. Any space where AMD and Intel are competing is full of this, and not inconsequentially, lawsuits. Intel has been partnered with MS for a long time, and they worked hard to be the hardware version of what MS was to software.

We can detail the lawsuits ad nausea, but my point is that anyone that was a healthy partner with MS has done to their industry what MS did to software. Like that or not, it is true. In the end, we have Mr Gates to thank for this, no matter how philanthropic he may try to be these days. I wonder sometimes how far exactly he has set the human race back from what will eventually, and necessarily be.

Though that is sort of scifi philosophy, it is true. In the name of riches, the advancement of technology has been slowed, deliberately, and with malicious intent against the betterment of mankind. In this way, I find his generosity a bit pale these days.

Open standards are indeed the ONLY way to create technology and advancement that will last and actually advance mankind in a direction that betters all of us. Despite the socialist sounding tone of that, it is true. We are all better for the sharing of technology from the space race. Technology, and specifically computing/networks are still in the hands of those that would derail it's benefits if there is profit in it. There are those that are trying to change this situation, but it is slow going. Even hardware manufacturers are hobbled by things like the DMCA and it's ilk around the world. Sometimes I'm sad to say I'm American.

Fighting against the 'right thing to do' for the sake of money is not in the best interests of the community, and in the end, it hurts your business. Customer is king, so they say, and when you put hurdles in the way of a complete and exemplary experience by the end user, you harm your business in some way, if not in big ways. It's unfortunate that not enough people will understand that the competitions in the technology markets have hurt them, and they will not understand how to express their frustration that older USB devices won't work with new USB hosts. It will be just one more black magic thing they don't understand about technology type things. They will go to PCs R Us and buy whatever the best they can get happens to be, hoping that it works for a couple of years, not unlike car buyers. So for profits, businesses promote the throw-away society. When there is something new, throw the old away, don't upgrade, don't re-use. How is this helpful to the human race?

Well, just some late night thoughts about this whole thing, and the absolutely ignorant waste it makes of the world.

BTW, there is hardware space competition.... if you are willing to build your own and not buy what the idiot^H^H^H^H^H salesman tells you at worstbuy.

sigh

Re:Non-scewed article how? (2, Insightful)

Josue.Boyd (1007859) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806591)

The fact that an employee of a company who is supported by Intel wrote this article does not make it biased. If it were written by an actual employee of Intel, or even Mr. Intel himself, that wouldn't even make the article biased. Is the article biased? perhaps.

Bastard companies (3, Insightful)

mark_hill97 (897586) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806039)

As we have seen with wireless networking gear in the past companies are all too eager to screw the consumer with incompatibilities because of pre-spec products being released. If Intel was doing this I would say good for them, its rare a company would actively try to protect the consumer from these vultures.

This is only a concern to driver writers (5, Informative)

spinkham (56603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806061)

This is a replay of the OHCI/UHCI host controller interface standards of original USB.
This does NOT at all effect users, only driver writers.
What is being forked is the USB driver interface, and does not effect device compatibility at all.
As mentioned above, there were two driver interfaces for the original USB standard, and the only people who knew were driver writers and nerds compiling their own custom kernel.
This is blown way out of proportion, and doesn't effect 99.999% of us. Nothing to see here, move along....

Re:This is only a concern to driver writers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806273)

This is blown way out of proportion, and doesn't effect 99.999% of us. Nothing to see here, move along...
Right on.

Re:This is only a concern to driver writers (2, Insightful)

T3Tech (1306739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806301)

Unless users actually want to utilize the full capabilities of USB 3.0, which would require proper cabling [reghardware.co.uk] . Then it may affect a higher percentage when it comes time to blow up that bridge, but otherwise right now I think you're right.

Though I'm sure Denon will be the first to come out with a super USB 3.0 optical cable for the bargain price of $750 as an upgrade to their $500 Ethernet cable [slashdot.org] which seems to have an issue with clearly transmitting the frequencies that dogs hear.
So hopefully in a year or two Fido can enjoy every nuance of crashing cymbals in music and the always interesting noises that didn't get filtered out in the studio, even if I can't.

Re:This is only a concern to driver writers (2, Informative)

tjrw (22407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806535)

... and people who ran into all sorts of nasty incompatibilities in the more scary corner-areas of the spec (isochronous transfers, etc.). Microsoft remember this fun which is why they are not happy about this. I remember various issues with USB depending on whether you had and OHCI or UHCI controller.

It is not in the interests of the consumer nor of the standard to have multiple host-controller interfaces. You may care to muse on why it might be in Intel's interests to the detriment of all others.

USB needs to die. Really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806585)

USB is an ugly hack upon hack upon hack. It never really does work right because alot of devices are deviant and/or require special purpose BIOS support (*cough* Toshiba). You can buy USB compliance analyzers only to discover that devices still don't work.

The software support is ugly as heck---remember how many years it took the Linux kernel to get it right? And even then it's a bloody nightmare of random device-specific drivers. (How many protocols do you need to get bits in, out, or through a device anyway?)

USB 3 will only make life worse. Can't we just throw it away already and move on to something cleaner, without any legacy cruft?

OHCI vs UHCI Part II: History repeats itself (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806077)

Sounds like the whole OHCI vs UHCI battle of days past is about to repeat itself, this time with a slightly different cast of characters. What a hassle for OS vendors...

Re:OHCI vs UHCI Part II: History repeats itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806225)

IIRC when I was at the early USB 1.0 developer conferences Microsoft let it be known that they would not support any other Host Controller Interfaces besides OHCI and UHCI.

mod 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806115)

bl;oc in o8der to

Am I the only one.... (1)

Nero Nimbus (1104415) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806183)

Who thought of this movie [imdb.com] upon reading the headline?

Re:Am I the only one.... (2, Informative)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806287)

That is generally the purpose of a pop culture reference.

Feedayeen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23806197)

So much for the 'U' in USB.

Re:Feedayeen (0, Troll)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806687)

Fedayeen? Mod parent down, -1 Terrorist.

unfinished spec (1)

niteice (793961) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806559)

... won't release ... unfinished ... until it's ready
Hey! You can't just copy Microsoft like that!

In a nut shell... or not? (1)

VocationalZero (1306233) | more than 6 years ago | (#23806755)

From TFA

Rivals allege that Intel is unfairly asking the committee members to withhold data about the host controller until Intel gets its own chip sets with the technology into the market. They allege, therefore, that Intel is illegally restraining trade to give itself a lead in the market. Intel says that its design for the host controller isn't done yet and it would be irresponsible to release the design early.
Well which is it, irresponsible to release it early, or an unfair advantage to not? It seems the two are mutually exclusive, and from what I gather, withholding a standard spec. so you can be the sole manufacturer for said standard upon market release seems, well, scumbag-ish. I could be wrong, but I think that's the technical term.

But, based on interviews with industry sources, it's clear that Nvidia isn't mollified by Intel's explanation of its behavior. It has now gotten together with Advanced Micro Devices, SiS, and Via Technologies to come up with a rival standard.
Two standards means twice the development cost which means we lose. Hooray for Intel [gag].

Intel contends that it has no interest in withholding data from its competitors. For one, it's against the law in some cases. For another, Intel would risk hurting itself. It might gain a temporary advantage in selling the $10 to $20 chip sets for computers if it holds back the host controller design from rivals. However, it would run the risk of not having enough chip sets to supply the entire market. If that happened, then Intel would have trouble selling its $100 to $1,500 microprocessors. It would, essentially, shoot itself in the foot.
Which is not what they're doing right now? Well, based on that, why wouldn't they just release it?

Intel says it has put a "gazillion" hours of its own engineering work into the host controller design and is under no obligation to release that early.
Gazillion, another technical term, I suppose. But wait, there's more.

Sources say that the group of rivals can come up with their own design proposal within a month.
I honestly don't know what to say.

Nvidia, however, could wind up being a year late with its own chip set if it doesn't get timely access to the USB 3.0 host controller data.
Intel vs. Intel vs. everyone else. We all lose, but its still hilarious. Sort of.
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