Linux and Open Source

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Joe Davis 2 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #31779

    fantomid
    Member

    Hello Community,

    Member of the OpenPandora community with devices using TI SoC (OMAP 3 and in a near future OMAP 5),
    I believe that working on Open Source drivers for the SGX could be a good idea.

    Are there works ?
    Could it be works ?
    What are the Imagination feelings on that point ?

    #38906

    Joe Davis
    Member

    Hi,

    Apologies for the delayed response. I’ve spoken to our Marketing team to clarify the company’s position on this topic. Here is the response I received from them. Hope this helps.

    1. There is significant IP within our reference drivers and, as a company selling IP, it represents significant value to our organisation. By completely opening up these drivers as open source it would have a negative impact on our revenue stream.
    2. IMG only provides reference drivers to its licensees. Product drivers require customisation to the platform our IP has been integrated in. This integration requires customer confidential work and hence even if we wanted to we are unable to deliver open source drivers based on our IP.
    3. Modified reference driver kernel source code may be released under a GPL licence by our licensees. It is their choice to do this.
    4. Our driver support is in line with market requirements and other players in this space (we refer to other IP licensing companies and not silicon companies who can make their own decisions about the opening up of IP) – we continue to evaluate market requests versus commercial implications.

    Regards,
    Joe

    #38907

    daviddever
    Member

    With all due respect, Joe, your remarks regarding market requirements are incorrect at best, if not (unfortunately) badly disconnected from the market itself.

    I work as an embedded developer and, while I do understand the commercial nature of proprietary driver code (and its competitive advantages within the power consumption-sensitive mobile space), I feel that my workflow is made significantly more complicated as a consequence of your approach to direct driver support within the market.

    With the acquisition of MIPS’ intellectual property and your attempts to stave off ARM in the embedded space, how can the embedded community (both hardware AND software developers) take IMGTEC seriously as a vendor partner when you are unable to fully support (in conjunction with your partners) the existing IP hardware cores in the market?

    I own an Intel Atom N2800-based laptop, which I purchased to benchmark an Intel-platform implemented application for an industrial client–but I am hamstrung on operating system support (no Windows XP support, no mainstream Linux support), which directly instigated a move to an AMD embedded solution as a consequence.

    As an ARM platform developer, how should I respond when a client’s engineering team is reviewing options for display support, if it implies specific constraints (in the TI case) of supported kernel version? Why would I not steer them toward a ARM Mali or Vivante GC-series solution instead? (Or Intel / AMD / Qualcomm Adreno / nVIDIA, for that matter?)

    While I also understand that IMGTEC may not (presently) believe that the embedded space is important (relative to the high-volume mobile market, including Apple and Qualcomm), I do hope that you reconsider this carefully–specifically:

    1. mainstream Linux binary blob support (Intel Atom) for popular distributions such as Ubuntu
    2. better build and testing integration with embedded licensees (e.g., TI)
    3. direct engagement with the developer (and maker) community with a PowerVR Rogue-based experimenter board, which will provide IMGTEC with the necessary market interaction required to earn (back) embedded developer goodwill

    …or you may ignore any of this, at your own peril (given Apple’s less-than-secret efforts to refine their own graphics IP technologies in-house). In either case, it has been incredibly disappointing over the last five years dealing with support for IMGTEC IP cores across a variety of developer platforms, and I do hope that you take this to heart.

    #38908

    Joe Davis
    Member

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the feedback. I have forwarded it to relevant parties within Imagination for their consideration.

    Regards,
    Joe

    #38909

    john3909
    Member

    I too would like to add my support for open source drivers for SGX. There are thousands of developers in the BeagleBoard community and all are hampered by the lack of support for SGX for new processors. IMGTEC is the source of much ridicule on the BeagleBoard mailing list because of your lack of support for the open source community. Turning you back on the open source community means that you may miss the next mega product which will probably be dreamed up by someone from this very large community.

    #38910

    muniza
    Member

    I am also adding in my support for open source drivers for SGX. Many open source communities want to utilize hardware to its max potential. In GNU Radio for instance, we have an entire working group dedicated to coprocessors where we take different boards (wandboard, keystone2, beagleboard, jetson) in order to speed up digital signal processing functions to achieve things in software that would normally require very specialized hardware (turbo decoding, LTE, channel sounding, etc). If the driver were open, we would be able to use the sgx as an accelerator and further development of new ideas. With open source drivers, IMGTEC would reach out to new markets and because we are all vying for our own self interests, would get free development on the driver into those new markets. It’s a tough decision but the developers are already here using the boards wanting to utilize the hardware to its potential. With the trend to open source that major hardware companies are taking, they will be more willing to integrate open source graphics as opposed to a closed source ones. Just look at the new Sitara AM572x and how they integrated a Vivante GC320 2D GPU.

    #38911

    piranha32
    Member

    All I can say is that I fully support what daviddever wrote. Probably the best example of importance of support of open-source software for embedded devices is Nvidia. After years of ignoring requests from community, only after releasing K1 they decided to start contributing to open-source Nouveau driver. It’s still not fully-featured driver, but it is important that they not only acknowledged the existence of the project, but started to officially support it by contributing code.
    Another good example is Broadcom, who released full documentation for the graphics core of the GPU used in Raspberry Pi, along with complete source code of the graphics stack.
    I really hope that Imgtec will follow the steps of the industry leaders and will change their stance towards open-source community.

    #38912

    fantomid
    Member

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the feedback. I have forwarded it to relevant parties within Imagination for their consideration.

    Regards,
    Joe

    What is the state of this question concerning official documentation and official support from ImgTec for Open Source drivers ? In a near future or in a dream ?

    #38913

    Joe Davis
    Member

    Our management team are reviewing our open source strategy to ensure it is in line with other IP suppliers. Unfortunately, we have nothing to announce at this time. Your feedback is important to us and we will send it to the relevant people involved in our open source activities.

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