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Intel Builds On Top of Android, But Hedges On Open-Sourcing Improvements

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the mixed-motivations dept.

Android 156

Barence writes with this news as carried by PC Pro: "Intel claims it is making significant improvements to the multicore performance of Android — but isn't sure if it's willing to share them with the open-source community. Speaking to journalists in London, Intel's mobile chief Mike Bell said that Intel's engineers were making significant improvements to Android's scheduler to improve its multicore performance. 'Android doesn't make as effective use of multicore as it could,' he said. However, when pressed by PC Pro on whether those improvements would be shared with the open-source community and Intel's competitors, Bell remained non-committal. 'Where we are required to give back to open source, we do,' said Bell. 'In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it. I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,' said Bell, before adding that 'in general, our philosophy is to give things back.'"

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Altruism vs profit. (4, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40246869)

'Where we are required to give back to open source, we do... In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it. I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,"

I'm glad to see that altruism is still alive and well, when it's required and only based off other people's work.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40246913)

Also, anybody still wondering why the "viral" clauses of the GPL that require changes to be GPLed are important?

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40246979)

Not me.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247131)

Yes. MIT, BSD and Apache and many more licenses do perfectly well without them.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40247235)

Yes. MIT, BSD and Apache and many more licenses do perfectly well without them.

Haven't you been listening to Stalman? Those licenses only work now because the corporate interests want them to appear as viable alternatives. Once GPL is pushed out of the market, the fatcats will stop providing any support for open source and have any open source advocates sent to Guantanamo!

Re:Altruism vs profit. (4, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248425)

Didn't you read the comment? The Intel spokesman simply said it is their policy not to release improvements if other people using the project don't usually do it. i.e. if Android was under a copyleft license Intel would release the changes. Intel contributes to a number of GPLed projects including the Linux kernel and they release the source for that.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248173)

They do well without them because, although on the letter the licenses are different, the people around these non-GPL projects behave in exactly the same way as if they used GPL - great majority of changes is shared back. The moment some big enough asshole shows up and starts following BSD type licenses to the letter by grabbing other people work, making money from it and destroying the very companies writing the original code in the process, it will fall apart.

Evolution long ago figured out that these types of community projects can work only when the work is shared, and it's deeply embedded into human psyche.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (3, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248439)

It's what happened with Wine. They switched to GPL as a response.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248819)

You mean when Intel could (with MIT, BSD, Apache) just revoke everything and say "tough luck"?

Yes, your concept is nice, your reality is not.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248917)

Well, they couldn't revoke what was already out there. They could, however, close the source for all future revisions regardless of who (if anyone) contributed. The same is possible with GPL licensed projects, given copyright assignment.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (-1, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40249041)

Suppose your neighbour did homebrew beer. And for a few years he's invited you round for drinks every time a new batch is ready.

Obviously he can't take back any beer he's already given you.

Should your neighbour be:
1) bound to give you access to all future brews too?
2) free to share or not share every time he makes a new batch?

1 = GPL
2 = MIT, BSD, Apache.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40247193)

More like, anybody still pretending the GPL means everything gets open-sourced?

Re:Altruism vs profit. (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247273)

I don't think anyone questioned why they were there. The issue is, there are people who will refuse to build off of or contribute to GPL projects because they're somehow afraid of being compelled to contribute something they might not want to. So the question then becomes, are the contributions that are compelled by the license going to be greater than the contributions lost due to fear of being compelled?

I'm not taking a side here. I don't have any idea what the answer is, but I suspect it's different for different projects and different communities.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247397)

I don't think anyone questioned why they were there. The issue is, there are people who will refuse to build off of or contribute to GPL projects because they're somehow afraid of being compelled to contribute something they might not want to. So the question then becomes, are the contributions that are compelled by the license going to be greater than the contributions lost due to fear of being compelled?

I'm not taking a side here. I don't have any idea what the answer is, but I suspect it's different for different projects and different communities.

I think it's a question that cannot be answered since the latter are only theoretical contributions. It's one of those questions like "Why are we here?".

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40247995)

It's one of those questions like "Why are we here?".

Because a lot of people throughout history liked having sex.

Oh, you mean the more philosophical version of the question.
Rum.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (2)

englishknnigits (1568303) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247815)

The fear isn't that they might have to contribute, they have to contribute everything that so much as looks, smells, or hears anything related to a single line of GPL code. If I want to use a GPL library that (for example) has nice string parsing I have to publish the code to my entire multi-million dollar software project because of that one small component that I could write in a few days. That is completely ridiculous. The LGPL is a much better compromise in that you have to publish changes to the relevant code or module. If I use a nice string parsing LGPL module and add a few improvements, it isn't a big deal to share those improvements. I prefer the BSD license but at least LGPL is reasonable.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248329)

If I want to use a GPL library that (for example) has nice string parsing I have to publish the code to my entire multi-million dollar software project because of that one small component that I could write in a few days.

Then write it. I fail to see what you're bitching about, other than to bitch that you can't jack someone else's code.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248787)

That's what we (professional company paid develops) do. And as a result the GPL code has 2 contributors and once they finish college or get a girlfriend they abandon it.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248933)

That's what we (professional company paid develops) do.

Bitch incessantly and post as Anonymous Cowards on Slashdot?

Re:Altruism vs profit. (5, Informative)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248603)

Well, if you're working on a huge multi-million dollar project you probably don't have much incentive to use GPL components, do you? The price is too high. Either do the work yourself or go buy a license to something proprietary. Or as you point out, use something with a more permissive open source license.

Different licenses have different goals. If you're looking to make money you use a proprietary license and sell usage rights. If you're looking to create a standard of some sort (platform, file format, whatever) then BSD, MIT, or full-on public domain is the way to go, because your goal is to get the software in as widespread use as possible and any restrictions will hinder that. If you're looking to build a free library of useful code, something like the LGPL may be better because your goal is to maximize the development speed of the library, letting folks improve on it but keep those improvements to themselves is counterproductive.

The GPL was intentionally designed to create an expanding ecosystem of Free software. Not a toolset, not a standard, an ecosystem. To create software at all comparable to the well-funded proprietary alternatives you need some sort of edge. The GPL edge is take anything you want, from any project you want (from within the ecosystem of course), use it however you want, but your project MUST remain a part of the ecosystem. It's done a great job too - the ecosystem is thriving and there is a truly staggering amount of code out there that plenty of projects would love to use but can't because they aren't willing to join the ecosystem. That's fine.

The GPL is an openly idealistic license, and that's not always be the most effective stance to take for all purposes, but if you use any open-source software or libraries at all it's rather hypocritical to call out the idealists for being extremists. Everything exists on a spectrum, if the GPL vanished tomorrow the the LGPL would be the "extremists", keep knocking out the "extremists" and pretty soon the public-domain projects that simply make a non-binding request for acknowledgment will be the "extremists". Having idealists as the extremists, much less idealists that have proven that it is still possible to turn a decent profit, gives a good reference point for everyone else. Personally I suspect we'd have a much poorer ecosystem of non-GPL open source software if the GPL folks weren't around to prove that even a hard-line stance is viable.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248199)

Some of us took the view that contributions not given under the terms of the GPL are not contributions but invitations to treat and after long and repeated exposure to the downside of project to which we contribute are mind share wondering off into the distance we chose to free the code, not the programmer.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (2, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247309)

Also, anybody still wondering why the "viral" clauses of the GPL that require changes to be GPLed are important?

No. The GPL is irrelevant in this situation. If they don't distribute the binary they are under no obligation to distribute the source. If Android was BSD instead it would make no difference here.

Why is everyone bashing Intel? They are releasing everything they are required to. They have also released TONS of code that they were NOT required to release. I use OpenCV [wikipedia.org] everyday, and it is a wonderful library, open sourced by Intel. This is just one example of many.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#40249113)

Also, anybody still wondering why the "viral" clauses of the GPL that require changes to be GPLed are important?

No. The GPL is irrelevant in this situation. If they don't distribute the binary they are under no obligation to distribute the source. If Android was BSD instead it would make no difference here.

Yes, because I'm sure that Intel is going to rewrite a bunch of code and then not use it anywhere.

Of course, if it's not a Linux-related component, they wouldn't have to release the source. As Google has already shown us with the Honeycomb debacle, the Apache 2.0 license doesn't actually require you to release the source even with the binaries.

If it did, the Apache foundation could sue Google for licensing violations over Apache Harmoney.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

Excelsior (164338) | more than 2 years ago | (#40249135)

The problem with intel, and why people are "bashing" them has little to do with what is required of them. It is because Intel is clearly seeking to make money off of Android which was built by others contributions, and being selfish pricks in the process. Android has hundreds of millions (maybe billions?) of dollars worth of investment and contributions in it by people and companies not named Intel. Intel is making some minor changes, running around telling everyone how great those changes are, and then saying they aren't willing to contribute those changes back. At best, that's deserving of some amount of criticism.

They may be well within their rights, but they have to expect some criticism as a result.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (5, Interesting)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40246991)

They're abiding by the terms of the GPL and considering giving more than is required. It's a company, not a charity.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247089)

Hence why I think that the subset of BSD proponents who argue that the GPL is unnecessary, because many companies will give back just to be "good citizens" without legal requirements, are a bit too optimistic, in most cases.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247633)

the subset of BSD proponents who argue that the GPL is unnecessary, because many companies will give back just to be "good citizens" without legal requirements

I haven't ever seen argue that. It's blatantly obvious that when there is no legal requirement to open code, fewer companies will do so (some still will where it benefits them, but obviously it's going to be an orders of magnitude difference).

BSD proponents rather tend to argue that when companies don't give back, that's perfectly fine, too, since the original code is still freely available, and a derived product with improvements - even if closed source - is better than no improvements at all.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248711)

I haven't ever seen argue that. It's blatantly obvious that when there is no legal requirement to open code, fewer companies will do so (some still will where it benefits them, but obviously it's going to be an orders of magnitude difference).

Not exactly. It is obvious that where there is a legal requirement to give back then everyone who modifies the software and distributes it will give back changes. It is obvious that where there is no legal requirement, some people who modify and distribute the software will not give back. It is also obvious that, where there is no legal requirement to give back, more people will modify and distribute the code. Finally, it's also obvious that some companies will give back modifications that they don't distribute (and therefore are not legally obliged to share in either case) because it reduces their burden.

The question is whether it's better to have everyone in a smaller set or a subset of a larger set giving back. We've seen a number of high-profile companies, such as Apple, Yahoo, and Netflix, give back code when there was no legal obligation to do so (for example, we've just had a load of improvements to the networking code land in FreeBSD from Netflix because they're using it in their new deployments and really care about performance). We've had code contributions from both large and small companies who won't touch GPL'd code because of the uncertainty over what they'd be required to release: they're 90% sure it's fine, but don't want to risk the 10% when they don't have to. This is especially common for software that is developed in-house with a possibility of spinning out into a separate product later. Most of it stays in house, so the GPL wouldn't require releasing any code either.

Finally, we've seen another category, which is companies using both BSDL and GPL code in house, but only contributing back changes to the BSDL parts because they are afraid of legal liability if they admit to using the GPL'd stuff.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (4, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247861)

Android is a perfect example of this - While the userspace Android stack is open source, the Apache license allows vendors to close the source and not release any modifications.

Pretty much all of them do, except for those working on Google's reference devices (the Nexus series).

Now I can understand closing up your "special sauce" modifications like custom UI skins and additional applications - but these companies close down their HALs and frequently change their HAL interfaces so they differ from the Android standards, making it difficult for those who want to run pure AOSP on a non-Nexus device to do so. There is no benefit to doing this - it only pisses people off if they are unhappy with your skin but are unable to change it.

Samsung is especially bad in this regard - they will find every excuse they can to avoid providing source. For example:
The wifi drivers for the ath6k chip in the Tab 7.0 Plus and Tab 7.7 are apparently dual-licensed (BSD/GPL) by Atheros. Samsung chose BSD - so as a result owners of those devices are stuck with shitty wifi that doesn't work well and can't be fixed.
AT&T released an OTA update to Gingerbread for the Samsung Infuse. Two weeks later, Samsung still had not provided kernel source in compliance with the GPL. At this point, AT&T stopped providing the update due to issues with the touchscreen drivers. A week later, Samsung claimed they did not need to provide source for that release because the update was no longer being provided. This is in conflict with the GPL - Samsung DID provide binaries officially to many users, and they are legally obligated to provide source to those users.

In a manner HIGHLY atypical for them given their corporate history, Sony seems to be the only company in the Android ecosystem that isn't paying lip service to open source. They provided ICS alphas and betas (INCLUDING kernel source) to the community, have provided technical documentation and assistance to the Cyanogenmod team that has been greatly instrumental in bringup of Cyanogenmod on Sony devices, have open-sourced their sensor HAL even when they didn't have to, and actually have a developer relations guy (Karl-Johan Dahlström) that does his job. (As opposed to Samsung's developer relations guy, who just cross-posts to XDA teasing of "awesome things to come" and completely failing to deliver, and tweeting source code release announcements for source code releases that have already been out for a week or more.) It's enough that there's a good chance my next phone will be a Sony despite a historical hatred of them for their past bad behavior in other business areas.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248297)

Android is a perfect example of this - While the userspace Android stack is open source, the Apache license allows vendors to close the source and not release any modifications.

Pretty much all of them do, except for those working on Google's reference devices (the Nexus series).

Now I can understand closing up your "special sauce" modifications like custom UI skins and additional applications - but these companies close down their HALs and frequently change their HAL interfaces so they differ from the Android standards, making it difficult for those who want to run pure AOSP on a non-Nexus device to do so. There is no benefit to doing this - it only pisses people off if they are unhappy with your skin but are unable to change it.

I think that's the point. You see, if everyone ran the same plain vanilla Android, there would be very little to differentiate a Samsung Galaxy IV SuperDuperPhone from an LG/Sony/Motorola/HTC Android phone. And manufacturers hate that with a passion. So they start out with skins and such to make users prefer their devices over the competitions.

As for plain AOSP - they don't care - they'd prefer you don't and wouldn't mind keeping the bootloader locked. The only reason they're unlocking it is to attract the few extra people to their camp, hoping that the display of "openness" keeps them buying their phones and not the competition.

Android is Apache because otherwise the companies really wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole - ignoring GPLv3 issues, the cellphone marketplace is really quite competitive and a change that makes your phone "better" is in high demand. The other alternative is they just plop some version of Android there, release the code, and let the Android experience suck because they won't want to commit to the R&D that helps competitors. (GPLv3 is enough of a scare to companies that use of GPLv3 software internally is restricted, and use of GPLv3 code is outright banned).

That's the nature of the beast. Google is in competition with the iPhone (setting the overall look and feel of Android), but the Android manufacturers are in competition with each other and they want t make sure customers want to stay with them than switch. Having users switch to AOSP is not their desire, nor is having users remove the skins, custom ROMs, etc.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248383)

I think you'll see that the atypical behavior of Sony in this are is due to the former 'Ericsson' element...

Re:Altruism vs profit. (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247187)

They're abiding by the terms of the GPL and considering giving more than is required. It's a company, not a charity.

Yet companies seem happy to take other people's charity in the form of BSD code. The GPL is more of a barter with "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine" but I'll take that over giving gifts and getting little or none in return any day.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248333)

That's only part of the equation. You have to determine if that company produces something beneficial to consumers that is "better" than what existed previously. If the BSD license enables such things to occur, and there are clear examples of this, then it's clearly working. It doesn't guarantee that this is the case, however, and that's why I'm glad there are other types of licenses out there. Regardless of which side of the isle you're on, I think that we can all agree that having competition in any space is a good thing as it provides more choices and keeps anyone from resting on their laurels.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247223)

Abiding by the terms, but are they abiding by the spirit of GPL? I'm genuinely interested in opinions on this, especially those who follow licensing more closely than I do.

From the GPL preamble: "Therefore, you have certain responsibilities... if you modify it: responsibilities to respect the freedom of others." Is Intel's statement good enough? Alternatively, am I misinterpreting the spirit of GPL?

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247233)

They're abiding by the terms of the GPL and considering giving more than is required. It's a company, not a charity.

Absolutely, I though the response was totally appropriate. When Jerry's Kids develop some kernel upgrades, I'll expect them to divulge everything they find and make the results FOSS. Until then, this sounds good to me.

Some folks seem to think it's unethical to try and run an IT related business these days based on the comments.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (4, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247485)

Android is not GPL, it's Apache:

http://source.android.com/source/licenses.html [android.com]

The linux Kernel is a different matter but this is an Android code change, not a Linux one. Intel doesn't have to release anything, ever.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248185)

If they are talking about a scheduler change, that is very likely a kernel modification.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248835)

It's failing to realize that if they give back to the community, they get back. It goes both ways.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

Aaron England (681534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247043)

Intel is a public company. They have a fiduciary duty to be profitable not charitable.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247245)

And yet they use an open source product to promote their products.....so what Microsoft not working out for you Intel.......

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247259)

And they've contributed immensely to the open source community. What's your point?

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

fredprado (2569351) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247333)

His point, which is a valid one is that if the license didn't force them too they most likely wouldn't, and therefore there is a very good motive for GPL licenses to exist.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247381)

And a lack of motive for commercial entities to contribute to GPL software, unless they originated it.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

fredprado (2569351) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248831)

Well, if they won't contribute because they don't want to be forced to share, I highly doubt they will do it in any meaningful way from good will when they are not. So let those who don't want to share develop their proprietary solutions themselves with their own resources without making use of the combined efforts of those who are willing to share. That is fair and in this case they should and are entitled to do whatever they want with the results of their efforts.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248841)

And how does the GPL act as a disincentive to contribution? A disincentive to use it as the basis for their own projects, sure. But it's really hard to argue that any company might like to make a contribution, but decided not to because the project was GPLed, it's not like they lose any rights to their code just because they licensed it to others under the GPL.

As for "unless they originated it", how do you figure? The beauty of the GPL license is that it doesn't actually matter whether code originated with you or someone else unless you're planning on changing licenses down the road - in which case you need to either avoid taking contributions from anyone else, or insist on copyright assignment or other special treatment from contributors, either of which (generally) limits contributions and undermines the whole point of making it open source in the first place.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247341)

'In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it. I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,'

That's the point. Who are the "competitors" that aren't contributing.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247665)

AMD, among others. Intel wrote a compiler that heavily optimized for Intel's products. They spent a lot of money on this work. It also helped their competitors. So they disabled it on competitors. Then they got in trouble for that because AMD whined that the money and time Intel spent developing something should also help them.

So it makes total sense. Why would you spend your money on something that ends up not being a fucking competitive advantage because your competitors will get the same benefit?

Shit like the GPL makes it a zero sum game in scenarios like this (but not all scenarios). Sure, it helps me but it equally helps my competitors so why even spend the money - I won't get any additional sales. In fact if my competitor sells a cheaper, shittier product it might make theirs "good enough" now, thanks to _MY_ work, that they sell more.

fuck that.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248169)

An x86 compiler that doesn't work on all x86 processors because OMG it doesn't just run on Intel x86 cpus is a rather bad example. Intel makes compilers, AMD does not. Why should AMD have to make an x86 compiler just for their cpus? If Intel wanted to make an Intel specific compiler they maybe should not brand it as an x86 compiler first?

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40249075)

It did work on all x86 processors. What now?

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248269)

Apparently my reading is that cpu provide a means to detect what features a given chip supports and this can be used to conditionaly execute different code paths based upon support for a feature like special instruction sets that are standard and present on both amd and intel chips. This is necessary even with intel chips as newer chips have additional features that older ones lack.

Rather than use the built in checks to decide which path to execute intel deliberately sabatoged their compiler by having it check additionally for competitors products and choose deliberately suboptimal paths.

I don't think anyone would expect them neccesarily optimize their product for amd chips however avoiding deliberate sabatoge would be nice.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248347)

Rewrite history much? Google the facts and you will see...

When Intel "tweaked" their compiler it was totally on purpose. They literally went out of their way to detect non-Intel chips and run software emulation of hardware functions even when the CPU indicated it supported the functions in hardware. And even when the CPU indicated it supported the functions in hardware in exactly the manner that Intel specified.

Not only did Intel hose AMD with their underhanded dealings, they also hosed developers that use AMD devices. Intel promoted their compiler to all developers as a fast, modern, optimizing x86 compiler, but didn't mention that they had fiddled with it so that it would not generate optimum code for anything but Intel devices. That's why, as a developer, I don't trust Intel. Steal money and time from me once, you don't get to fool me again. It wasn't just AMD that got screwed over. That's my main bitch about Intel and their compiler debacle.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40249141)

I didn't rewrite shit. I said they disabled it [some optimizations] on competitors. Which you just long-windedly restated. Congratulations.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247343)

Intel is a public company. They have a fiduciary duty to be profitable.

FTFY. Public companies are allowed to look to the future and recognize how good citizenship can maintain and grow market share. In fact, giving up greater long term profits in exchange for short term gains can very easily be argued to be against their fiduciary duty.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (2, Insightful)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247067)

I'm glad to see that altruism is still alive and well, when it's required and only based off other people's work.

If they decide not to actually use their research why should they help their competitors? The GPL does not require them to publish until they distribute and I have no qualms with this.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (2)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247449)

Why are people constantly quoting the GPL? Android is NOT GPL, it uses the Apache license [android.com] . The linux Kernel is GPL, of course, but this isn't about a linux improvement, it's about an Android improvement. Android code means Intel doesn't have to release anything, ever.

Considering that Intel is very much the underdog when it comes to Android (So far there's been one Intel powered Android phone on the market and it's very much a budget offering - a good one, but it's not going to take on the legions of ARM devices any time soon), pushing code that gives their competitors an advantage doesn't make a lot of business sense, at least not until they've established a good foothold.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247803)

Well I'm not entirely convinced at this point whether or not their improvements on on Android or in Linux. If it is indeed Android only they have even *less* obligation to contribute upstream, and even less reason for people to bitch about Intel's stance here. If someone is following the license people have no right to cry foul. Blame the license not the entity following it.

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248107)

I worked for Mike Bell at Palm. He was the company's number 1 obstacle to open sourcing code. Also, he was responsible for the hardware and everyone else knows how much that sucked

Re:Altruism vs profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248901)

Other people didn't have to do the work. You're a fool for expecting to get something back if you lay it out there for the taking. This is true in most if not all cultures.

Soooo they keep the ideas to themselves? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40246875)

In essence I guess that's what they are saying: Intel will develop improved multicore handling for Android, but keep the ideas they develop in house. Nothing wrong with that I guess.

Re:Soooo they keep the ideas to themselves? (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247085)

No, that is not what they are saying. What they are saying is they are researching it, but will not be publishing their research until such a time as they decide they want it used (either by them shipping it or by committing upstream to get others to ship it). This is the fundamental nature of how the GPL works, so no, nothing wrong with that.

Re:Soooo they keep the ideas to themselves? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247277)

Here's the quote:

'In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it. I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,'

He's saying that other don't do R&D. Which is curious, considering the amount of R&D that went into Android and how little Android needs Intel.

Re:Soooo they keep the ideas to themselves? (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247459)

He's saying that other don't do R&D.

That's quite the misunderstanding you've got there.

.. if they're not going to contribute ...

Note how it says "contribute" rather than "do R&D"? That might mean something, like Intel doesn't believe its competitors are contributing, not that it believes its competitors aren't doing R&D.

Re:Soooo they keep the ideas to themselves? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247479)

Reading comprehension fail.

How the Hell did you get from "I don't like doing R&D for competitors" to "other[sic] don't do R&D"?

Re:Soooo they keep the ideas to themselves? (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247607)

Could they license the ideas/methods to phone manufacturers directly, so that they could ship their phones with a specially patched version of Android?

Believe it when I see it (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247037)

The whole article reeks of PR and marketspeak. "Of course we can do better than everyone else", "no way is ARM going to beat us, our single core is better than their dual-core!"

My response to Intel is to put up or shut up. Or be ignored, since I know they won't do the latter (they didn't get to be a 100+ billion dollar company by not marketing the hell out of their product).

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247177)

Intel marketing is not why they are top of the heap. They make a better product by almost any metric.

Re:Believe it when I see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40247267)

That, and they play dirty - illegally keeping their competitors down, when they may have been in a position to improve their competitive situation (i.e. more profit == more R&D & cap. ex.)

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247289)

In the cell phone market? I think not.

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247535)

yes, in the cell phone market. Intel is a Semi-conductor company. They don't just make CPUs.
That's why they did so well in 2011.

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

fredprado (2569351) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247361)

Sure they do have the best technology in some areas, like processor manufacturing, there is no point in arguing that. But they do not have the lead in other areas, like software development, which is the relevant area for this discussion.

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247455)

What? They have the best optimizing C++ compiler, and a slate of very high performance computational libraries.

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247729)

As long as you are ok never running the resulting binaries on non-intel hardware.

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247557)

They make great software tools. Who has a bigger lead in software development at the chip level then Intel?

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247285)

They've already put up. You seem to be taking the side that opposes history. They've put up enough times that history is littered with people who said they wouldn't be able to do something.

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247317)

Not in the smartphone market, where Intel is irrelevant.

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247629)

Are you really that clueless? seriously? do you think Intel only makes CPUs?
Intel did better then every other semiconductor company in 2011. Do you know why? because of the mobile market.

I guess if a company isn't constantly littering you with what it does, you figure they do nothing.

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247697)

Hubris. Laughable hubris. You sound like ARM, and the field of corpses behind Intel.

They aren't very relevant now, but what if they have a 14nm, 2 core Atom chip running at less power and with twice the performance than a 4 core 22nm ARM chip in a few years?

Re:Believe it when I see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248087)

What if cows fly?

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40249131)

Impossible, at least self powered. What kind of numb-nuts thinks what I described is impossible or even improbable based on precedent and all available current information?

Me: What if the stock market dips by 50 points by the end of the year?

You: Durr, uhh, what if cows fly, durrrr?

Re:Believe it when I see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248615)

Atom is an anemic platform. I've never understood the hype behind those chips... they're like modern-day Celerons.

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40249109)

Don't be an idiot. The hype is they are very low power. If they're like modern-day celerons, ARM chips are like modern day...slower..Celerons.

Ya because Intel's comiler is shit! (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248187)

Oh wait, no, the other one, I mean it is THE shit. The ICC produces the most optimized code out there. It's amazing when you see a test of compilers there is some back and forth among tests, with newer compilers generally being faster than older ones (like Visual Studio 6 is pathetically bad VS 10 is pretty good). Then, above them all, is the ICC. On every test.

So know what? I'm going to say Intel knows something about optimization, perhaps more than anyone else in the world. They may well have some good optimizations.

Also your perception of Intel as just some marketing company is rather stupid. Intel does tons of R&D, real groundbreaking R&D, they throw billions at it where other companies whine abut the cost. Know who has the ONLY commercial 22nm lithography process in the world currently? Intel. They have better tech because they threw tons of money and man hours at it.

They market their shit of course, but acting like what they do is marketing and that they don't do tons of R&D and deliver some amazing products is stupid.

if (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40247071)

If this sort of thing bothers you, then use the GPL. This is the kind of thing it was designed for.

Google has implicitly said they don't care, based on the license they have chose. So they are fine with Intel's actions. That's ok, a lot of people don't mind that. They'd prefer to see their software used more, rather than have people give back.

Linux or Android? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40247157)

Android is built upon the Linux kernel and userland.You would think that the performance he was talking about would be in the kernel itself, not the Android stack. Unless he was talking about how badly Android (and by extension, Java) operated on a multi-core or hyper-threaded processor., but otherwise, wouldn't the improvements would be given back to the Linux kernel as processor improvements, something that Intel has always done in the past

This couldn't happen if Android was GPL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40247163)

Google seam to have gone to great length to avoid the GPL so they had the option of not giving us the source. Which sure enough they tested out to see how we would respond.

Now Intel use the fact it's not GPL to avoid giving improvements to the community.

Don't be evil my ass. Not only did they give themselves the option of doing evil, which is evil in itself (and a pain in the bum because Android is a very non-standard Unix distro let alone Linux distro), but as then used the option of being evil to be evil "just this one time". Now others are using the evil option. Google, I like you less and less. You are less and less better than Apple or Microsoft.

Re:This couldn't happen if Android was GPL (-1, Flamebait)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247411)

A lot of things would not have happened if Android was GPL. For instance, its success.

Re:This couldn't happen if Android was GPL (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40248459)

How is it flamebait? Android adoption among handset makers has been built on their ability to customize as needed without having to share those with others. With GPL: Not so much.

Re:This couldn't happen if Android was GPL (-1, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247529)

Having the option to do evil is evil?

You are one fucked up individual.

Besides, not releasing source is not and never will be evil. Please go drink some sulfuric acid. You'll feel much better.

He's talking about software that isn't shipping (3, Informative)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247291)

Mike Bell is talking about something he says Intel is"working on, not something that Intel is shipping or even something that he claims is totally functional and free of bugs. There's a big distinction between "we're greedy bastards" and "we're not releasing source to beta versions of undistributed software." I think the summary could reflect better.

Re:He's talking about software that isn't shipping (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247325)

'In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it. I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,'

The summary was correct. Read it again.

Re:He's talking about software that isn't shipping (1)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247847)

The summary isn't wrong, but it seems like a lot of people who are reading it (and commenting) are getting the impression that Intel has already made improvements and is using them on shipping devices without knowing if it's going to give them back.

Someone needs to tell him the story of stone soup (2)

cybervegan (1440999) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247293)

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_soup [wikipedia.org] Intel of all comnpanies should know how this works.

um...ok...whatever. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40247337)

"I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,' said Bell, before adding that 'in general, our philosophy is to give things back.'" ...but...Mr. Bell, that OS that you are making improvements to is, itself, a contribution. That's how open source works. Google has already "given back" by creating it. Now it's your turn...IF that's truly your philosophy. If it's not, that's fine...your improvements are indeed your intellectual property...but don't try to justify charging for it by making it seem that you are doing something a competitor isn't.

When slashdot wasn't for the dead... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40247617)

...people would be discussing possible areas where Android could be improved. But since slashdot is dead, and mainly targets the brain dead, what we get is a bunch of garbage out the merits of various licenses which is only indirectly related to the topic at hand.

Damn slashdot sucks these days.

Huh? Does Intel have any Arm+Android products? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40247705)

Or was this just a lab experiment to see how their product would compete against Arm/Android in the case where their competitor actually improved their product?

Fair enough (1)

sousoux (945907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40247925)

How many Chinese ARM OEMs are giving back to the Open Source community? In China Android is forked and Google completely cut out and I haven't seen any of the Chinese "innovations" donated. If they follow the GPL but still manage to produce new innovations that they can protect then good on them.

Nice try but not really their software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248317)

So they will ship underclocked x86 cpu's just to compare on the power consumption, and therefore optimize the software exclusively on intel, despite it perfectly usable on other systems.
Long term, their work will have to be updated and follow whatever Google does in official Android, and I bet people will try to disassemble it and understand how it works.

Smoke and mirrors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40248463)

Sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo to me...

"Uh, yeah, we made a whole lot of improvements to your code... which we cannot show you... because licensing... and stuff."

Let's see the metrics. Put up or shut up.

NDA Encumberment? Bigger picture issues? (3, Interesting)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40249021)

I wonder if some of the issue is actually Intel vetting approval from their legal department. A lot of people like to point at Intel engineering and point and say look at all the cool stuff they holding back and only offering as binary blobs. The reality is that their middle management business to business side keeps letting 3rd parties write horrific terms into contracts.

I know with Atom CPU development that the GPU is extremely encumbered by NDAs with PowerVR which prevent Intel from releasing any decent drivers for Linux or Android. There was even one support technician who commented on the fact that he compiled working Android x86 graphics drivers for GMA 500/600 based hardware only to find out from his boss that they could not be released because parts of the code tree where contaminated by bits of PowerVR code. The technician in question goes by "pinebud77" on YouTube and just "PineBud" on pocketables.com. At the time, about 2 years ago, Intel then and up through now, has had to completely rewrite their drivers for GMA graphics on both Windows and *nix platforms due to bad legal agreements. They've had to go so far as to reverse engineer drivers they had already paid for. It has even been questioned how much this killed Meego development in early stages.

I suspect there might be similar bad deals with partners hurting Intel here. The gist I have gotten is that they don't want to withhold drivers or technology, but even when they back up a Brinks truck of cash, they get screwed on contract terms by 3rd parties. The management folks don't have any clue why they might need rights to code they buy from Imagination Technology, Tungsten, or others.

I know the article is related to multi-threading CPU processes, which Intel definitely has a lot of their own engineering invested, but I wouldn't take the "I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves," as the sole reason. Further, seriously consider the current x86 vs ARM environment. If you look at the article comments and forums at many other tech news sites (namely arstechnica.com and theverge.com) there are a LOT of relatively ignorant people who seem to think various ARM architectures are vastly superior in computing power to x86 and trying to turn it into some kind of architecture holy war on the scale of AMD vs. Intel vs. Cyrix debates of years past. People who actually think that ARM has equivalent processing power to low end i5 CPUs, when top end quad core ARM CPU's can't even match the FPU performance of 4 year old ATOM single cores. It's even harder to explain to those crowds the massive issues ARM has with scaling and multitasking due to huge bandwidth to IO busses bottlenecks. All of these factors give Intel very good reasons not to share their undertakings with competitors who have brainwashed enough masses to no longer need to compete on merits. I'll give various ARM implementations the performance to battery use crown all day, it's a great CPU for something like a smartphone. When I hear derpity derp about ARM for high utilization clusters though, I vomit a bit in my throat.

pure marketing bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40249097)

Dear mobile-in-chief @ Intel swinging that hideous incompatible-ridden android on x86:

pics or it didn't happen, why not try your same tactics that your company used against AMD in the past? ...what? Oh! really? they don't apply because your desire to push unfit architecture for the platform of choice is still stronger than reality?

why color me impressed.

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