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Open Graphics Project Looking For Funding

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the what-a-strange-project dept.

Graphics 266

An anonymous reader writes "The Open Graphics Project was formed last year to create a free and open source friendly graphics card. According to this article on KernelTrap, the project lost their company backing a couple of months ago, but has decided to go forward with the effort with money from the developer's own pockets. The team plans to release a prototype card to the public in November, at which time they'll need to find $1 million dollars for the effort to continue." I continue to wonder about the Open Hardware projects but call me skeptical- people contribute to Open Source because it typically costs little more than time.

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266 comments

FREE (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431285)

They want to make a free graphics card? No wonder they need funding!

Re:FREE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431393)

Yeah, free as in beer, free as in, I have yet to see my free beer.

Re:FREE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431451)

oh believe me I tried to get that free beer.

And I actually Succeeded a couple of times ...
Believe it or not!

Re:FREE (1)

julie-h (530222) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431525)

Who talks about free?

OPG is an Open Source graphicscard with probably Open Source firmware/BIOS and Open Source drivers.

Open Hardware doesnt work (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431292)

The fabrication costs for one run of these cards can be huge. Even going with 130 nm technology (which is already "outdated") can cost a million dollars just for the masks. Yield, packaging, and other issues can easily push up the costs to several times that.

Re:Open Hardware doesnt work (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431329)

Works just fine:

Based on their current work plan, an FPGA-based project board will be available in November "that serves as the development platform for a much less expensive ASIC-based solution (second quarter of 2006), contingent on available funding."

I don't know if they've been paying any attention (I presume they have), but FPGAs have gotten extremely cheap [avnet.com] as of late. AVNet lists the Xilinx XC3S200-4VQ100C with the following rates:

1 - $14.7950
25 - $12.8700
100+ - $11.2200

While I don't like assuming, in this case it's fairly safe to say that the price would be even lower for quantities of 1000 or more. I see little difficulty with them being able to mass produce an FPGA card for ~$50 US. (Something of a sweet spot price point in computer the computer industry.) The only real reason I could see for going to ASICs is to reduce the cost of very large runs, and/or increasing the performance of the onboard chip.

Do you have any idea how complex a GPU is? (4, Insightful)

Theovon (109752) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431400)

You're quoting prices for very SMALL FPGAs. What makes you think we could fit something as complex as a GPU into a 3S200?

Re:Do you have any idea how complex a GPU is? (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431518)

Do you have any idea how complex a GPU is?

Actually, they're not to bad on complexity. Most of the chip complexity comes from constantly pushing the boundaries of performance. Even then, a majority of the tricky work is actually done in the software drivers.

You're quoting prices for very SMALL FPGAs. What makes you think we could fit something as complex as a GPU into a 3S200?

A 3S200 is not that small of a chip. Fairly good sized processors can be written on it, often with quite a bit of space left over. Even if they do need a larger chip (e.g. a Virtex III) they should still check the prices. Xilinx has been making sure that their chips are extremely affordable in large quantities.

In quantites smaller than 1000? Well, it's difficult to get a good price out of ASICs as well.

Re:Do you have any idea how complex a GPU is? (3, Interesting)

SilicaiMan (856076) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431779)

Actually, they're not to bad on complexity. Most of the chip complexity comes from constantly pushing the boundaries of performance. Even then, a majority of the tricky work is actually done in the software drivers.

GPUs are not complex? Then why do we only have a very small number of companies making them? And, what tricky work is done in software? Shading? Bump mapping? All of the big functions are performed in hardware.

A 3S200 is not that small of a chip.

It is a small chip when you're talking about GPUs. Xilinx [xilinx.com] states that it contains 200,000 system gates. If you have ever worked with FPGAs, you'll know that typically only a max of 75% of the resources can be used if you would like to be able to route your FPGA and still maintain decent clock speeds. This leaves around 150,000 gates. At an average of 4 transistors/gate, this is equivalent to ~600,000 transistors. Compare this with the latest offering from NVidia and ATI, which are pushing the 300 million transistor mark. So, you need 500 FPGAs to get the equivalent resources (at a reduced horse power).

GPUs can NOT be programmed onto FPGAs. At least, not in an economically feasible fashion.

Re:Do you have any idea how complex a GPU is? (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431912)

And, what tricky work is done in software? Shading? Bump mapping?

Yes. Shaders, bump mappers, and other effects are micro programs that run on the GPU. This design became so common that it evolved into complete GPU languages such as CG.

At an average of 4 transistors/gate, this is equivalent to ~600,000 transistors. Compare this with the latest offering from NVidia and ATI, which are pushing the 300 million transistor mark. So, you need 500 FPGAs to get the equivalent resources (at a reduced horse power).

1. They're not trying to reach the same levels of performance as NVidia. (Yet, anyway.)

2. A single pipeline isn't so bad. It gets messy when we're talking multiple pipelines, texturing units, etc. I assume for now they're targetting a single pipeline chip with only one or two texturing units.

If you have ever worked with FPGAs, you'll know that typically only a max of 75% of the resources can be used if you would like to be able to route your FPGA and still maintain decent clock speeds

Generally, yes. But there's still ways to cheat like hell to up that utilization a bit. :-)

Re:Open Hardware doesnt work (1)

TEMM (731243) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431520)

While the chips that you quoted are WAY too small (420 CLB's) to hold any kind of modern graphics architecture, some of the more expensive chips should be able to hold a decent graphics core. The only problem i can see with these open core graphics cards is the clock speed of FPGA chips. It is incredibly hard to optomize a designed targetted to an fpga, especially a larger design, to the point where it will run at a clock speed that is comparable to a modern video card. That being said I hope that this project works out because I would enjoy seeing more succesful research in my field of study.

Re:Open Hardware doesnt work (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431839)

In a rather funny coincidence, I and another student happened to program a GPU onto the exact FPGA you're talking about for a graduate seminar at UNC.

We got a very simple rasterizer and framebuffer, and that's it. We spent weeks optimizing to get it to fit on there and run at 50 Mhz. Had we added hardware division so that you didn't have to send actual plane equations, or crazy complicated things like matrix transforms, we would have had to have a whole 'nother chip.

Small Xilinxes are great for prototyping little designs or small modules but they're useless even as a full prototype chip and certainly aren't production chips by any means.

(P.S. Graphics chips are the second most complicated beast in your computer, after the processor (and if you've got an older processor and a newer graphics chip, it's probably not even second).)

Re:Open Hardware doesnt work (2, Interesting)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431509)

The fabrication costs for one run of these cards can be huge. Even going with 130 nm technology (which is already "outdated") can cost a million dollars just for the masks. Yield, packaging, and other issues can easily push up the costs to several times that.

I think the already-mentioned FPGAs have shown that it's possible to build hardware that, while not as cheap as a fully mass-produced thing, can still prove fairly cost-effective.

I used to have an Atari ST [wikipedia.org] (actually, still do - except it's only booted up on special occasions). In the dying days of that platform, various enthusiasts took it upon themselves to design their own ultra-fast [milan-computer.de] Atari clones [imperial.co.uk], using a mix of off-the-shelf components and custom designs on FPGAs.

Something tells me that if it's possible for someone to design a whole new machine without millions of dollars to spare, it'll also be possible to design a basic graphics card for running on an FPGA.

But then, why not use some off-the-shelf graphics chip as the heart of the system, and use any profit on the sales of that to help fund the development of a newer design? Or am I just being silly?

I have trouble seeing... (4, Interesting)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431303)

...how this whole thing will work out.

Hardware is quite a bit different then software, being a physical tangible item that isn't easily copied/manufactured.

While I do wish them well, I still have trouble seeing how this will really make headway.

I do know that if what they come up with is capable and affordable, as in the hardware won't cost me more then my current PC cost to build, I will give their resulting product a go.

Re:I have trouble seeing... (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431379)

Hardware is quite a bit different then software, being a physical tangible item that isn't easily copied/manufactured.

Tell that to Pad2Pad [pad2pad.com]. I can send them a computer file, and they can send me back a complete board (or run of boards).

In fact, hardware has become closer to software than you think. Thanks to languages such as VHDL [wikipedia.org] and Verilog [wikipedia.org], you can *code* a chip and test it without ever pressing a piece of hardware. And if you use an FPGA, you can litterally download the chip design into the processor and have a working model of your design.

If you ever hear about "chip IP", they're referring to the practice of developing a chip design and then selling the design to hardware manufacturers. ARM is a particularly well known exmaple of this.

Re:I have trouble seeing... (1)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431695)

I do know of such one-off or short run circuit board manufacturers.

However, I understand that there is a difference between cranking out one board and cranking out a graphics processing chip and then attaching that to a board.

Do you use only existing transistors and processing chips, or do you design your own and then have them fabricate a run of those chip designs before having those installed in your board designs?

That's why I am having difficulty in seeing how all of this will end up working.

Re:I have trouble seeing... (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431831)

Do you use only existing transistors and processing chips, or do you design your own and then have them fabricate a run of those chip designs before having those installed in your board designs?

Actually, you just use an FPGA [wikipedia.org]. They're completely programmable processors that are very similar in design to static RAM. They can be reprogrammed on the fly, and can represent any chip desired. (Limited only by the number of logic units.) They used to be used only for prototyping due to high cost and low speed, but today they are very competitive on the market. Many a manufacturer has taken to shipping the FPGA instead of paying for the manufacture of a custom chip (usually an ASIC [wikipedia.org]).

You should go purchase an FPGA board [xilinx.com] and see all of the [opencores.org] fun stuff [fpgaarcade.com] you can program it to do! :-)

Re:I have trouble seeing... (2, Interesting)

xenotrout (680453) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431438)

The real reason for open hardware (some would say) is for interoperability with open software. Full specs and probably an open-source driver will be released with the card, so that others can write/modify drivers that take full advantage of the card*. IIRC, this card will also use an FPGA, which might be available to the kernel, allowing drivers/users to "reprogram" the card's hardware layout as they wish.

*currently, drivers for video cards tend to be binary-only or reverse-engineered and not fully implementing 3d accelleration, etc.

Re:I have trouble seeing... (1)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431645)

From what I recall reading in an article about Nvidia's design process, isn't FPGA much slower then the finished product would be?

In the article, they had a seperate system that was the 'graphics' card, which consisted of a compact high performance conceptualizing system. Very neat stuff, but very expensive and not as fast as the finished product would be.

Perhaps that is only if someone is attempting to take advantage of as yet undiscovered or undeveloped features, such as prior to full Anti-Aliasing, Fog Effects and other 'new' 3D features, being part of construction of the graphics chip.

You're Skeptical! (3, Insightful)

theGreater (596196) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431310)

I continue to wonder about the Open Hardware projects but call me skeptical- people contribute to Open Source because it typically costs little more than time.

People also contribute to FOSS out of a sense of duty, or of pride, or because of the perception of a superior product, or because all the cool kids are doing it, or to pad their resume, or to save money in the long run, or out of sheer necessity, or to scratch an itch, or because they are bored... et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

-theGreater Counterexample.

Re:You're Skeptical! (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431362)

But of course as the submitter said, contributing to FOSS costs little more than time. Hardware involves real and significant material costs. Big difference.

Re:You're Skeptical! (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431456)

Hardware involves real and significant material costs. Big difference.

Really? Silly me, all I thought I needed was a testing board [xilinx.com] and some hardware descriptions [opencores.org].

Thanks to FPGAs, complete hardware designs can be written (in source code no less!), downloaded directly to the chip, tested, and then sold for a profit without ever speaking to a chip fab or hardware factory. And places like Pad2Pad [pad2pad.com] allow for custom test boards to be built for a VERY low cost.

If the Open Graphics Hardware project needs a million smackers, then they better damn well have a shippable product on their hands.

Re:You're Skeptical! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431469)

FOSS = Free Open Source Software?

Re:You're Skeptical! (1)

Psiren (6145) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431404)

Yes, but most of them don't involve parting with money. If you ignore the "time is money" thing, FOSS costs very little. Hardware development however, is not anywhere near as cheap. Unless they're able to shift lots of these things, you'll be paying more money, for less product. Maybe if you're one who sticks to his/her principles you'll consider that a good tradeoff. I doubt most people will though.

Re:You're Skeptical! (1)

fsterman (519061) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431903)

Open source does cost money. I have been trying for years to get a free computer that will just run a linux distro and not crash n' burn or require weeks of tech help. I finally just plucked down the $300 and picked it up from the UPS store this morning. Finally I can start hacking without it being interuppted every 10 minutes with hardware problems cuased by these POS Dell, HP, and other "name brand" computers.

And why didn't I use my main computer? Can't it cost me my job becuase I was testing too much stuff on it and it crashed on a VERY bad day with a VERY pissy client.

Some may say I need to just flex more geek nuts, I say I need to be able to devote all that time and energy getting things to work hardware wise to just learning the software stuff.

You're Skeptical!-Rub an itch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431893)

"People also contribute to FOSS out of a sense of duty, or of pride, or because of the perception of a superior product, or because all the cool kids are doing it, or to pad their resume, or to save money in the long run, or out of sheer necessity, or to scratch an itch, or because they are bored... et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum."

Obviously not to get laid.

From what I understand... (3, Insightful)

InterruptDescriptorT (531083) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431311)

Previous articles on this effort have made it clear that the graphics card was not going to have very many 'modern' features at all. Not, of course, that that's a bad thing--I mean, this effort is clearly targetted at hobbyists and other people who like to get 'close to the metal'. But it begs the question why any company would get behind an effort that is only meant to appeal to a very small subset of the consumer base? I'm saddened by the fact that they lost their company backing, but from a pure cost/benefit standpoint, it (sadly) makes sense.

Re:From what I understand... (2, Informative)

Theovon (109752) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431436)

Actually, the product is targeted at the mass market. This includes Linux desktops, heavy workstations, and embedded systems. Being open architecture, it can be supported on all other platforms as well. Certainly, this market isn't as large as, say, the Windows market, but lacking another product as OPEN as this one, open source users are likely to prefer this, because the device will be fully supported by open source drivers, and it won't be a stability concern.

Also, a memory bandwidth of 6.4 GB/sec isn't all that slow.

The OGP is NOT a hobbyist project.

Re:From what I understand... (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431701)

So presumably it's going to have better performance than the existing graphics cards which are fully supported by open source drivers, such as the Savage found on VIA M10000 Mini-ITX systems?

Re:From what I understand... (1)

jest3r (458429) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431517)

The article quotes ... "A 3D rendering engine, on the other hand, is a beast, and our performance will be less than stellar" Haven't some commercial video card companies already opensourced their 2D video drivers? XGI, VIA, and Matrox come to mind, all with average 2D performance and less than stellar 3D performance. Also ATi has released the specs for its older cards as well.

The million dollars might be better spent getting ATi to open up one or two of their high-end 3D cards? Especially if KDE and Gnome move to 3D rendering the desktop ala Quartz Extreme, which would make an OpenSource video card obsolete pretty quickly.

Re:From what I understand... (1)

WarPresident (754535) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431620)

The million dollars might be better spent getting ATi to open up one or two of their high-end 3D cards?

Or hire some talented engineers to reverse engineer ATI's cards/drivers?

Re:From what I understand... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431821)

Could O'Reilly's Make magazine be a possible sponsor?

I'll buy one (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431318)

Many others would too. I don't think they'll have any trouble recouping their investment.

Re:I'll buy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431481)

No you won't. You'll say you will, but really,
I don't think so. Send the guy a check right now for $50 and then I'll believe you.

Re:I'll buy one (2, Interesting)

isotropique (635117) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431490)

The promise of a well designed graphic card which is thightly integrated into the kernel is the reason why I am ready to put money on this project. A lot of people are paying high price to get a few more FPS on their favorite games. I feel paying a high price for an openly designed product is more important.

Re:I'll buy one (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431860)

Definately.

They aren't just looking for funding from the 'regular guy' they are looking for funding to people that want to be partners.

The main reason that they would like to make it ASIC isn't just to reduce the end-user style consumer card's prices, but to make it acceptable to be used for embedded platforms.

There a HELL of a bigger market for embedded platforms. For every desktop there is a probably a dozen dozen embedded machines. And more and more will be wanting relativley advanced graphics.

It may have a low-spec setup for the desktop, but how about a Open-spec, low-power, chip that you can freely use in whatever device you want with no more royalties then the cost of the actual chip? Openly documented with plenty of code for you to work with?

It's prospect isn't as bad as people think.

Even if less then one percent of one percent of Desktop users pick up on this device, then it still can easily be profitable.

And their goal isn't even to realy be profitable. It's to basicly break even. And if that happens then they will be able to get more money to build cards and be able to build something that may actually end up being usefull for gaming.

No money? (-1, Troll)

myukew (823565) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431326)

Hom can someone believe that giving away for free something as valueable as a graphics card can be a profitable buisness?
I wouldn't give them a single cent! They should better put their effort in reverse engineering the drivers for already in use hardware.

Re:No money? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431372)

YOU ARE DENSE

Re:No money? (2, Informative)

GozzoMan (808286) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431377)

Hom can someone believe that giving away for free something as valueable as a graphics card can be a profitable buisness? I wouldn't give them a single cent! They should better put their effort in reverse engineering the drivers for already in use hardware.
If I understand the model properly, what is free (as in freedom and beer) in Open Source Hardware in general is not the manufactured hardware itself, but its project.

Re:No money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431415)

Rather than reverse engineering the drivers, why not encourage current video card companies to open source their drivers.

Re:No money? (4, Interesting)

Theovon (109752) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431457)

Merely open-sourcing the drivers isn't enough. XGI and VIA have done that. In order to make open source drivers truly valiable, hackers have to be able to FIX them when there are bugs. That's very difficulty when the vendor doesn't release full specs on their hardware.

The OGP is based around open specs.

How is this different from open standards? (2, Interesting)

coupland (160334) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431341)

I don't understand how this is any different than having an open standard with open-source drivers? It seems to me this is roughly the same thing, but without the big companies, years of experience, corporate support, or breadth of input. Does someone want to enlighten me on the fundamental difference I'm missing?

Re:How is this different from open standards? (1)

drew (2081) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431410)

maybe because there is no open standard with open source drivers? yes, for most people, this would meet the same goal. my guess is the people behind the project have the talent (or access to the talent) to design a card themselves, and feel, as many other people do, that the chance that the various commercial vendors to agree upon and implement such a standard is slim to none.

Re:How is this different from open standards? (2, Insightful)

IPFreely (47576) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431946)

It's not different from open standards. If we had open standards, we wouldn't need this. The problem is that there is no open standard that the existing manufacturers are using.

But really, it is less about standards. It's more about open. None of the existing manufacturers publish their hardware specs enough to allow open drivers. The alternatives are to reverse engineer it (very difficult), convence the manufacturere to publish specs (not likely) or make your own damn card (expensive).

Actually, if some third teir card maker were to jump on the bandwagon and offer to publish specs and help the project, they would probably get a lot of publicity, along with a lot of open source customers. It might be a big boost for the likes of Matrox or S3.

Open Source Friendly ! (-1, Redundant)

AT-SkyWalker (610033) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431342)

What's an Open Source Friendly Video Card !!

I thought NVidia is pretty open source friendly... And those guys have no chance of competeing with NVidia, so I'm not really sure what they are trying to prove ?

Re:Open Source Friendly ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431373)

Nvidia open sourced their drivers? When did this happen, why wasn't I informed!

Re:Open Source Friendly ! (0)

AT-SkyWalker (610033) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431435)

I'm not saying they did.. I'm just saying that and NVidia card has drivers that are friendly to opensource.
you can get it working pretty easily.
They show a level of commitment to users of opensource OSes such as Linux and *BSD.

That's pretty friendly in my books..

Re:Open Source Friendly ! (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431472)

nVidia aren't actively hostile to FOSS, but many people believe that it's unacceptable to use binary drivers.

Re:Open Source Friendly ! (1)

AT-SkyWalker (610033) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431648)

I agree with you there. But this is much better than a lot of other companies. Take Canon for example, no binaries, no code, nothing.

At least nVidia acknowledges our existence :-)

Re:Open Source Friendly ! (3, Insightful)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431475)

They are not trying to compete with nvidia , They are trying to produce an open source graphics board.Everything , every last little bit will be open to us to tweak and examin .
Most people wont be able to do much with it , but if the project takes flight and i hope it does . Then we could all be able to get a lovely cheap open piece of hardware that by its very being will be fully supported in the OSS world.

It will be a great learning tool aswell

Which in all means for those of us without great need for much 3d procesing in our workstation computer or server computer..
A reliable, cheap ,open graphics adaptor for 2d that is 100% supported in all operating systems ( givin enough time ).

Where do I sign up ?! (1)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431344)

I would like to volunteer to be a tester for this graphics card. An unfunded project done in a few engineer's spare time sounds like something that I want to be a part of! Go ahead and burn my house down... I'm insured! If I can finally get better driver support for my Red Hat installation, it will be worth it.

But seriously, I don't see much need for this. Can someone explain it better than Timothy Miller? Although I was impressed with the fancy Gantt chart [gitk.com]

Naysayers rejoice (4, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431365)

I'm going to say all the bad things I can think of so we don't have to waste time rereading them all day.

1. The hardware will be underpowered because this group has little experience (if any) designing bleeding edge graphics hardware

2. The card will be overpriced because this group doesn't have the manufacturing clout of NVidia or ATI

3. The drivers will suck because nobody's going to buy this card and nobody will develop for it.

4. The drivers will suck MORE because of all the trans-gamers out there who dual boot, they won't get the card because it won't be supported in Windows (or just very weakly).

5. The company has no financial backing, so they will crash and burn early on and we will be stuck with abandoned hardware.

6. This time, effort and money would be better spent harassing the existing graphics card manufacturers into opening up their drivers, as least the non-trade-secret parts so we can do our magic on it.

7. (asbestos ON) I still don't think any Linux Distro in its current state should even be considered for desktop or gaming. But that's me being an elitist prick. Come up with a cleaner development model, make it "just work", and redo the whole windowing system into something that is NOT X, and maybe then we can start talking. The reason OSX works so well is because it does fifty backflips to almost completely hide the underlying Unix layer. It's not because I know Linux that I want to put up with its PMS all the time, sometimes it's nice to just click things with your brain switched off.

Re:Naysayers rejoice (1)

MankyD (567984) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431514)

2. The card will be overpriced because this group doesn't have the manufacturing clout of NVidia or ATI
Consider that, as a piece of open hardware, NVidia, ATI, etc. are free to begin manufacturing it themselves, so long as they stick to whatever license it has. It might even make for a good base for them to add their own tweaks and customizations - marketing it as their own card.

Re:Naysayers rejoice (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431613)

In a parallel dream universe, maybe. In reality, the big guys have their own R&D portfolio that they certainly won't just abandon in favor of this new amateur project and its geek cool. They wouldn't even consider it for a budget card, because it would undermine the sales of their existing budget lines which are really just a way to liquidate older and sub-spec GPUs. Remember the Celeron ? It used to be a Pentium-3 with bad cache mem. Cheaper Radeons are the same, a 9500 was really a 9700 with half its pixel pipes broken, but instead of throwing it in the garbage, they salvage the chip and sell it for $60 less.

So um, NO. Unless this somehow becomes a true mega OSS project where thousands of people contribute to the chip design, and I don't know how that could work unless we pull this thing onto FPGA's and deal with zillions of idiots on forums who can't fit the chip into their SD reader... welllll.. you get the picture. Open Source is a nice idea, but it has its place in society and this isn't it.

Re:Naysayers rejoice (5, Insightful)

Theovon (109752) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431567)

I'm going to say all the bad things I can think of so we don't have to waste time rereading them all day.

Thank you for commenting.

1. The hardware will be underpowered because this group has little experience (if any) designing bleeding edge graphics hardware

Is 6.4 GB/sec memory bandwidth "underpowered"? Perhaps compared to bleeding-edge Windows cards, but not compared to the latest cards FULLY supported by open source drivers. Your typical Linux server board sports a Rage XL. Furthermore, this group has a long history of experience with extremely high-end graphics cards used in air traffic control and medical systems, driving multiple high-res displays at resolutions like 2560x2048 and 3840x2400.

2. The card will be overpriced because this group doesn't have the manufacturing clout of NVidia or ATI

The initial product isn't really a graphics card. It's an FPGA project board that's a quarter the price of the next comparable product. The OGP ASIC-based product will be competitively priced. It will be on par (or better) in performance and price with other embedded solutions, and it will be affordable as a graphics card.

3. The drivers will suck because nobody's going to buy this card and nobody will develop for it.

There are already a good number of driver developers involved in the project, some of whom have gotten funding from their employers to work on it.

4. The drivers will suck MORE because of all the trans-gamers out there who dual boot, they won't get the card because it won't be supported in Windows (or just very weakly).

We fully intend to have the maximum Windows support possible. While the card isn't intended for games, the specs make are sufficient for Quake 3.

5. The company has no financial backing, so they will crash and burn early on and we will be stuck with abandoned hardware.

We've come up with a project plan that doesn't require financial backing, other than a few thousand dollars out of our own pockets. What more could you ask for?

6. This time, effort and money would be better spent harassing the existing graphics card manufacturers into opening up their drivers, as least the non-trade-secret parts so we can do our magic on it.

Harrassing only makes companies mad. Who are you anyhow? You're a Linux user, representing maybe 5% of the graphics market. If ATI or nVidia were to dedicate proper resources to Linux support, it would cost them more money than it makes them. Plus, ATI has a FAQ that states that they CANNOT open source their drivers due to IP licensing issues.

7. (asbestos ON) I still don't think any Linux Distro in its current state should even be considered for desktop or gaming. But that's me being an elitist prick. Come up with a cleaner development model, make it "just work", and redo the whole windowing system into something that is NOT X, and maybe then we can start talking. The reason OSX works so well is because it does fifty backflips to almost completely hide the underlying Unix layer. It's not because I know Linux that I want to put up with its PMS all the time, sometimes it's nice to just click things with your brain switched off.

This is a WHOLE other topic, but in large part, I agree with you.

Color-blind rejoice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431920)

"Furthermore, this group has a long history of experience with extremely high-end graphics cards used in air traffic control and medical systems, driving multiple high-res displays at resolutions like 2560x2048 and 3840x2400."

Now move to color, and see what happens.

Re:Naysayers rejoice (1, Informative)

NotoriousQ (457789) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431617)

I am not involved with the project, but I would like to offer counterpoints.

1. The hardware will be underpowered because this group has little experience (if any) designing bleeding edge graphics hardware

It is designed to be underpowered. It is not going to support a billion triangles per second. It is designed to provide many basic features of the video card, and provide them well, in an opensource way.

2. The card will be overpriced because this group doesn't have the manufacturing clout of NVidia or ATI

The card is planned to be overpriced. They believe that the openness of the video card is valuable enough that people will pay for it.

3. The drivers will suck because nobody's going to buy this card and nobody will develop for it.

The openness of this video card means that if there is one kernel dev, and one X11 dev will have this card with time on their hands, it will be 100% supported.

4. The drivers will suck MORE because of all the trans-gamers out there who dual boot, they won't get the card because it won't be supported in Windows (or just very weakly).

The card is not aimed at gamers who play the latest games. It will not have the 3d performance necessary. It will probably have enough to run Tux Racer though

5. The company has no financial backing, so they will crash and burn early on and we will be stuck with abandoned hardware.

No the case, as the entire card spec is open. Even if all the original developers vanish, we will still have the specs for the card.

6. This time, effort and money would be better spent harassing the existing graphics card manufacturers into opening up their drivers, as least the non-trade-secret parts so we can do our magic on it.

It has been tried. A few came close: See Matrox around year 2000. The trend is that although linux is getting more support, more and more of the video card becomes closed an non-reverse engineered. We are currently lucky that nvidia keeps updating their drivers for the older video-cards, as the nv drivers (which are mostly reverse engineered / developed from tiny amounts of nvidia released specifications) suck badly. We are talking mach64 sucking less than nv. Sadly matrox g200 is probably still the most supported and reliable video card in linux. Yes it is better than nvidia, as nvidia drivers are quite famous for freezing X or kernel for no apparent reason.

(RenderAccel being the main culprit, but it happend with it turned off as well. Also without RenderAccel, 2d performance sucks)

7. (asbestos ON) I still don't think any Linux Distro in its current state should even be considered for desktop or gaming. But that's me being an elitist prick. Come up with a cleaner development model, make it "just work", and redo the whole windowing system into something that is NOT X, and maybe then we can start talking. The reason OSX works so well is because it does fifty backflips to almost completely hide the underlying Unix layer. It's not because I know Linux that I want to put up with its PMS all the time, sometimes it's nice to just click things with your brain switched off.

Now this is not a flame, it is just stupid.
Linux gaming is possible. Nvidia drivers provide a fast enough direct gl interface, that is adequate for pretty much anything.

Come up with a cleaner development model, make it "just work"
GL development already just works. Direct3D is not an inherently better system.

and redo the whole windowing system into something that is NOT X
X has very little to do with gaming, as most games use direct rendering or GL layers, and thus bypass X rendering anyway.

The reason OSX works so well is because it does fifty backflips to almost completely hide the underlying Unix layer.
The unix layer has absolutely nothing to do with graphics. All it needs is a basic terminal, and the darwins kernel just simulates the framebuffer for it, just like any other kernel can. x86 has text modes, so framebuffer is not required, but that really does not make much difference.

It's not because I know Linux that I want to put up with its PMS all the time, sometimes it's nice to just click things with your brain switched off.
Your brain switched off when you were writing this sentence, as I still can not figure out what it means, and what your complaint is.

Re:Naysayers rejoice (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431784)

We are currently lucky that nvidia keeps updating their drivers for the older video-cards, as the nv drivers (which are mostly reverse engineered / developed from tiny amounts of nvidia released specifications) suck badly.

Putting 3D support aside for the moment, it's worth noting that NVidia produces one of the best VESA BIOSes on the market today. As such, their cards tend to be very easy to support and work far better than any competitor.

The real issue is that most people want 3D support so they can play video games or (*gasp*) do engineering work. Once you're in the 3D arena, only a vendor supported driver is going to have a chance in hell of competing. Not just because of the issues with the hardware interfaces being secret, but because of the massive amounts of performance IP that's stored in the driver source code. (Sorry, you probably knew that, but I had to reiterate it for others.) :-)

Re:Naysayers rejoice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431801)

1. The hardware will be underpowered because this group has little experience (if any) designing bleeding edge graphics hardware

Let me put it this way: I'm currently using a Riva TNT 2 card. I've been putting off upgrading because I don't have the time to investigate which cards on the market are open enough to bother with (I use Linux 99% of the time and would rather not deal with proprietary drivers). Unless this card is something out of the 90s, performance is not an issue to me.

2. The card will be overpriced because this group doesn't have the manufacturing clout of NVidia or ATI

No. They may cost more than they would if NVidia or ATI took over from here, but that is not the same as being overpriced.

3. The drivers will suck because nobody's going to buy this card and nobody will develop for it.

Why is nobody going to buy this card?

4. The drivers will suck MORE because of all the trans-gamers out there who dual boot, they won't get the card because it won't be supported in Windows (or just very weakly).

Why do you think that Windows support will be lacking? Windows support is already a stated requirement.

5. The company has no financial backing, so they will crash and burn early on and we will be stuck with abandoned hardware.

So what? It's open hardware - we don't need a company to supply drivers.

6. This time, effort and money would be better spent harassing the existing graphics card manufacturers into opening up their drivers, as least the non-trade-secret parts so we can do our magic on it.

This is an impossibility due to third-party patents, copyrights, etc.

Funding Efforts (1)

wcdw (179126) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431368)

I think the fundraising efforts to support e.g. legal efforts by various sites and/or projects put paid to the theory that people only support such things because they are free, at any rate.

Open ARCHITECTURE (4, Informative)

Theovon (109752) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431378)

Just to make it clear:

(1) The OGP product is OPEN ARCHITECTURE. It's intended to be compatible with open source SOFTWARE.

(2) There is a specific plan to make the "blueprints" to the hardware also available under GPL and LGPL at various points. ALL of the IP and schematics for the first product (the prototype board) will be open source.

(3) Hardware always costs money.

(4) This is a real product, being designed by experienced hardware engineers who have all the expertise necessary to do it. To the hardware designers it is not a "hobby".

Re:Open ARCHITECTURE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431398)

word.

from:http://wiki.duskglow.com/index.php/AboutOpe nG raphics:

(note, there may or may not be a market for open graphics hardware also, but that is completely beyond the scope of this project)

Re:Open ARCHITECTURE (1)

spiderworm (830684) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431720)

Wow. Talk about an opportunity for the open source community to really tweak performance out of a video card like never before! Personally, if I had money, I'd send some to this.

How badly do you want it? (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431766)

You do have some money. Send some to this.

How badly do you want there to be open hardware?

10 cents worth? 10 dollars worth? Not badly enough to be bothered to put in into monetary terms?

No sweat if you don't, but if you do want open hardware, how badly?

Sam

free != free (4, Informative)

cecille (583022) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431389)

yeah, but, just like open source, you can still change for the boards and open up the source, or in this case, building specs, programming code etc.
It would definately be interesting to have an fpga based board with the board programming code source available and the hardware specs available. That way, you could fiddle with your board and get it to do what you want, just like open source. It could be a viable business if they were charging for the boards themselves, but letting people play with the internal components a bit more than with proprietary. I can see lots of hardware geeks / hobbyists buying them just for the experience of playing.

think low-end (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431394)

I think the idea here is that barebones 2d graphics controllers would be highly desired by barebones-system makers. So the tack is totally backwards from ATI and Nvidia, who lead from the high-end: an open good-enough option might make it in the low-end.

Maybe an interesting start (1)

not-quite-rite (232445) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431401)

If they can produce one of these things, and exhibit that they aren't all talk, then it would be interesting to see if they can continue to contribute open hardware DESIGNS.

TO try and fabricate these devices, seems like a waste of money, when you could just licence the designs, and let individual hardware companies produce them.

OR they could concentrate on producing hardware that can be updated through software, and let coders concentrate on producing better code for the hardware. Like Open cores.

But this is just me thinking out loud....

open source hardware..? (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431402)

shouldnt we wait until we have desktop fabricators.... and defabricators?

Re:open source hardware..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431541)

We already have desktop defabricators...they're called hammers...or explosives if you want a bit more defabricating power.

Will their card be any better? (2, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431406)

Then the commercial cards with open-source drivers?

It seems, the sophistication of the commercial offerings is rather substantial. True, Xorg/XFree86 are usually unable to take full advantage of it.

But will the new cards not be hardware-limited to what the commercial ones can already do even with the incomplete drivers?

Re:Will their card be any better? (2, Interesting)

billcopc (196330) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431532)

Exactly. That's like trying to build an open-source car. Yeah it'll work, but you don't benefit from billions of R&D investment like the other big names have. You have to go through the motions of trial and error and start from square one. In this day and age, I don't think I have the heart to go through that babysitting phase with another product.

Why not try and identify what's holding back ATI/NVidia from releasing open-source drivers, and targetting those niggles to make our system palatable to their driver teams ? These guys have years of experience doing nothing but graphics dev, they have insider info on current game projects so that when Doom 7 comes out, your Radeon32768 will be able to run it flawlessly.

Why should we be duplicating effort at all, just to satisfy the vanity of this OSS "community" ? We have two strong manufacturers that are constantly pushing the envelope and actively driving new related products like high-speed RAM and funky cooling solutions. Let's back them with our purchasing dollars and see how far these geeks can go.

Know your market! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431416)

The market for this card is geeks, hackers and open source die hards.
Most will already have the latest kickass graphics card in a machine, so will NOT be interested in a lower performing graphics card simply because they can get all the hardware specs for it.

What they will be interested in is if it has something cool or kinky about it.
Such things would be... do the whole lot on reprogrammable fpga so people can really customise... provide some interesting DSP like four AL3101 chips or a sharc so it can do audio processing too.... make a low power version for tiny/embedded computers (put it on a gumstix board!).... put a xscale on the card so it's a computer.... provide interesting buffered IO so you can use it as a video signal generator...

It has to have a unique selling point over and above being open source!

Re:Know your market! (1)

quarkscat (697644) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431627)

The biggest problem with commercial video card manufacturers is their reluctance to (1) either provide full programming details, or (2) open source their drivers. By hiding details behind NDA agreements and/or restrictive licensing of their SDKs, they hope to conceal how they have "gamed" the benchmark suites, as well as to limit their competition. Problems arise when commecial vendors release a binary driver intended for a specific OS version, and are slow to adapt drivers in a fast moving software environment. Providing stellar support for only one OS (eg. Windows) will limit their product's acceptance in the marketplace. This trend will only accelerate as F/OSS adoption increases world-wide. Market pressures would be inclinded to dictate whether a commercial hardware vendor finally adopts the open source paradgm, but that progress is far too slow.

A digital divide is about to be crossed, with the advent of an increasing number of either (1) open source hardware, or (2) open source drivers for commercial hardware. Projects such as this must exist in order to help level the playing field between closed commercial OSes and F/OSS OSes like linux or bsd. Personally, I like the idea of having hardware that I can customize (if needed), rather than the other extreme of DRM-enabled (MSFT "Palladium") hardware that restricts my rights as a hardware (and software) owner.

Re:Know your market! (0)

crivens (112213) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431659)

Know your facts - not all geeks, hackers and open source die hards have or need kickass graphics cards. You don't need a kickass graphics card if you're developing say an open source text editor.

Re:Know your market! (3, Insightful)

MartinG (52587) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431700)

The market for this card is geeks, hackers and open source die hards.
Most will already have the latest kickass graphics card in a machine


I am a geek and an open source die hard.

I absolutely do not have the lasest kickass card precicely because there is no open source support for those newer cards. Currently I have an ATI9200se which is the best card I could find that has fully functional open source xorg drivers that do 2d and 3d accelleration. It cost me about 25UKP. Hardly the latest kick ass card.

I am willing to pay around 100UKP for a better card if is fully supported with open source drivers.

I am not really interested in a reprogrammable fpga but I would support a company that provided it because I can see that others would be interested.

For me, being fully supportive of open source _is_ the unique selling point.

Re:Know your market! (1)

justins (80659) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431875)

I absolutely do not have the lasest kickass card precicely because there is no open source support for those newer cards. Currently I have an ATI9200se which is the best card I could find that has fully functional open source xorg drivers that do 2d and 3d accelleration. It cost me about 25UKP. Hardly the latest kick ass card.

I am willing to pay around 100UKP for a better card if is fully supported with open source drivers.

The "open source" card being discussed will not be even remotely comparable to the one you have now in terms of performance. Just an FYI.

The first thing that happens when a new video card comes out, even before its general availability, is the benchmarks on various websites. The benchmarks for this card will be... embarassing.

Killer App for this: MPEG decompression in HW (4, Interesting)

KMitchell (223623) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431832)

While I agree there's no way for this board to beat the big boys in 3-D, I'd suggest that building the "reference card for MythTV" should be an early goal.


Nvidia and ATI have yet to really address the MythTV crowd with a passively cooled, inexpensive (who cares about 3D specs for their myth box?) AGP card that can do all the heavy lifting of decoding HD MPEGs.


pchdtv.com amd mythtv.org are pretty much the only places you'd need to "advertise".


You've got a community of enthusiasts that understand the point of open specs, are willing to experiment with hardware to "get it right" and aren't being well served by the incumbents. Sounds like a match to me...

this is great (1)

sydres (656690) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431452)

even if it fails as a gpu being its an fpga should allow us the ability to reprogram it to perform other functions so i say buy the pci version since its not like going to be any faster than a rage128 or the like then reprogram the core as a a encryption engine or as anything yould like

Re:this is great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431511)

You realize, of course, that you can buy a PCI card with an FPGA on it right now, right?

Of course, for a large FPGA that can run at a
decent speed (decent being anything even
approaching 1/10th the speed of a modern
processor), you'll pay out the nose for it.

It is highly unlikely that you'll be able to
program an FPGA to do something faster than a
modern computer can do.

Re:this is great (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431614)

It is highly unlikely that you'll be able to
program an FPGA to do something faster than a
modern computer can do.


Now that's just nonsense. This is the thinking of "More MHz is better". The truth is that a custom chip design targetted at a specific task can easily out-perform a more generic chip. For example, the SaarCor [saarcor.de] can render a raytraced scene many times faster than a Pentium IV, using nothing more than off-the-shelf FPGA hardware running at 1/300th the MHz.

That being said, it's doubtful that the OGP will outperform someone like NVidia or ATI who already build custom chips. But it might be able to give them a decent run for their money.

embeded graphics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431466)

this might be good for embeded projects.

How to make this project work (5, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431488)

The only way to fund this project is to find a company or group of companies who spend significantly more than $1m per year on commodity graphics technology, and who would be happy to switch to an open standard where they can share the costs and offload R&D work to a wider community.

I'd say, motherboard producers, who today pay royalties for on-board graphics cards.

Forget about asking the "community" to put up the money, it's not going to happen.

Idea for this project (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431499)

Why not "sell" this project for teaching hardware design at the local universities? Isn't that one of the goals of open source? Get the graphics giants to fund it and produce talented students from the course!

I'll get one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431500)

For what a single customer can count, I'd happily give twice the price of a mid speed Nvidia or ATI card for an equivalent free (as in speech card). The benefits of having such a beast are huge.
Don't forget that fast graphics is one of the main reasons why most people is still stuck to the x86 platform. A free chipset (don't think of it as a card) will have great potential in developing low cost tablets, panel home computers, low cost laptops etc. All of them with full specs available to developers!

Re:I'll get one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431530)

sorry for the long bold part, I closed it using a wrong tag. My fault...

"it typically costs little more than time" (1)

Senor_Programmer (876714) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431526)

comment regarding OS-SW.
well time=$ and this remark is hogcleanser

perhaps a good bit of the cost could be subordinated by piggybacking with a commercial LSI developer from a different market. They will have the fab accounts and maybe be willing to contribute room on prototype wafers. I'm not really familiar with this sort of work, so this may be totally off in wonderland, but how much space is left over on a wafer when these guys are running prototypes?

I'm having trouble with this (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431564)

I love the idealism. I'm very very behind it and plan to buy a few of these things when they are available whether I actually use them or not.

But from reading their site, one of the first issues that popped into my head was "what hardware maker would want to put themselves through all of those requirements?!" Okay, so they save a lot of money on the R&D side of things but is it worth it to them? I guess we'll wait and see but from the outset, I see a lot of asian manufacturers picking up the plans on these things and cranking out the cards quick and potentially flooding the market with these things. I hope they are damned good.

But another thing that makes me wonder is their solicitation for "3D experts." My first thought was these experts who might wish to participate are probably employed by some company that owns everything they think. So I can see a lot of potential problems with someone attempting to volunteer for this project only to find that some company wanting to claim rights to the project because it was done by their employee.

I suppose OSS projects are potentially vulnerable to that situation and I know it has been discussed all over the place. But I think this problem would be ever more present with hardware makers.

Here's another thing I'd like to find out about. I didn't see this information available (but I could have missed it) and I'd kind of like to know what hardware they are planning to support. PC only? Will it be friendly to laptops? What is their plan to get computer makers to adopt these things? In my mind, the only PC makers who will use these things will be the cheap no-name generic PC stuff associated with low-reliability and poor manufacturing standards. This doesn't aid in credibility at all.

I'd like nothing more than to be able to run a Linux laptop with OSS hardware inside. I think it'd be cool as hell and especially if the performance was as good as commercial and proprietary hardware out there.

In summary, I love the idea. Hope it goes far. Can't imagine how it will all work out though.

Customizable, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431568)

Being the un-hardwared knowledgable guy I am, maybe they could make it so I could pop in my old SD-RAM, and have a 256mg video card...

IBM to adopt the project? (2, Interesting)

julie-h (530222) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431596)

Why doesn't IBM adopt the project? They have once produced graphics cards!

Monetary flow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431660)

One dollar? a million dollars? which is it?

Online TV (-1, Offtopic)

gino8283 (881328) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431663)

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Advantage? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431729)

Not that it isn't an interesting concept, but I hav troubles seeing the advantage of this project. OK, so you have a board for which the source is open, but which lacks many of the features of modern video cards. Alternately, you can have a more modern video card, but barring using the proprietary drivers perhaps you can't use the modern features.

If this project took off I could see it becoming something impressive, but at the moment open-source-but-outdated isn't much better than a card with a card that has reverse-engineered drivers and is newer-but-driver-outdated.

Serge & Larry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431741)

I listended to Larry's speech the other day - nobody ever gets in touch with the guy for backing, or at least to bounce ideas off. Sounds like he's feeling left out, (not so) poor guy.

Maybe you should contact him, dropping a million on a project like this is a weeks interest on his investments. No big deal.

Give him a try, he's an engineer after all.

Just give the money to a manufacturer (0, Troll)

OlivierB (709839) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431756)

Call me naive, but wouldn't all this money not be best invested in an agreement with a manufacturer to release for say half of his line-up in the next five years, open-source drivers?
If no manufacturer joins in, why not put up a bounty for people to write these open source drivers?
As much as I adhere to open source software, hardware open source just sounds like communism in my mind; hardware needs money. And investors kinda like a yield on their cash.

Obstacles ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12431769)

will appear when vendors start partially opening their hardware specifications/drivers just like evapoware. i.e. by claiming to be open they will try to weaken the Open Graphics Project.

Open graphic's card and alternative use's (1)

diablus (881331) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431864)

I remember reading an article on slashdot last year, about a software group who had developed software that used graphics cards to proccess other information other than graphics data. In particular i remember someone used a graphics card to do the proccessing for a neural network. Since the group talked about hardware limits involved in designing software for ordinary graphics cards, surely a opensource graphics card could have these features builtin and the two groups could work together?. Just wondering if anyone remebers the article and could post a link to the website, can't find it...it's been at least a year since the article was published.

Donations? Pre-order? (2, Interesting)

NotoriousQ (457789) | more than 8 years ago | (#12431866)

Seeing how this is a very important effort, I would like to see this project/experiment succeed, even if what it produces is not quite what I / others need.

Is there a way that I could give $20-$50 dollars donation unconditionally (I know this is not a charitable donation), and then guarantee that I will purchase the card if it costs less than $200?

Perhaps the developers could offer incentives for people who do this. I do not know hardware, but I assume that FPGA card is the same as ASIC, except that it can be reprogrammed. In that case an incentive could be the card, which then does not have to be repurchased once revisions are made in hardware. (the donation then could be the difference between the FPGA cost and the ASIC cost, and then the donation is not donation, but partial-preorder).

Basically, I am a bit uncomfortable with parting with too much money with no guarantees, but I am willing to part with some. More, if there are more incentives. But idea of pure pre-order will not work, as there is no guarantee that the card will be finished, and $200 is more than I am willing to just throw away.
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