CELF conference feedback

Phil Endecott spam_from_qihw at chezphil.org
Mon Nov 1 14:04:37 EDT 2010

Sebastien Bourdeauducq wrote:
> Le Mon, 01 Nov 2010 16:11:22 +0000,
> "Phil Endecott" <spam_from_qihw at chezphil.org> a ecrit :
>> There was a certain amount of buzz about
>> the OMAP4 chip and the new Panda Board (successor to the OMAP3 Beagle
>> Board); to me the interesting aspect is that it's one of the first
>> non-x86 systems with video outputs that can drive desktop monitor
>> resolutions; previously I've had to use things like pico-ITX VIA
>> boards for that.
> Then please return the "no free CPU" troll to those people, since
> Beagleboard is run by TI which, contrary to Qi Hardware, has today
> almost every* resource to make their chips open but does not make the
> slightest effort in this direction. There are even BINARY BLOBS in some
> Beagleboard drivers, which is plain ridiculous.

The buzz about the OMAP4 was not related to its openness, or lack of 
it, but rather to its functionality and availability (on dev boards and 
soon in e.g. phones) and low cost.  As the OpenMoko has demonstrated 
more successfully than anything else to-date, functionality trumps 
everything else.

FYI I did ask the standard 3D graphics question at the end of the OMAP4 
presentation and got a few claps from the audience when I did so.

I don't believe that any of these companies has any consideration 
whatever to open in the "GPL RTL" sense any of their designs whatever - 
the absolute limit of the free-ness is open documentation and driver code.

> They obviously benefit a lot from having hackers interested in their SoC
> architecture, just have, for example, a look at how hard and
> time-sinking it is to get GCC, Linux, Qt and other big software to work
> properly on LM32 (the CPU core used in Milkymist) and how clean and
> up-to-date ARM ports are by comparison. Not to mention the countless
> cases when GNU/Autocrap blows up in your face saying "I don't know your
> CPU".

You may have heard of Linaro, who I should perhaps have mentioned 
before as having a significant presence at the event.    They are 
paying people to do this sort of "clean and up-to-date" work because 
even on that platform, stuff isn't as smooth as it could be.

Regards,  Phil.

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