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NVIDIA Loses Huge GPU Order Due To Linux Blob

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  • Originally posted by hal2k1 View Post
    Err ... yes, you do.
    Nope, you don't. You have the right to use the product which implements the patent, but you get not a license to that patent. Obtaining a license for a patent is usually done to build a product which in some form implements the patent to distribute it further. You don't get that right just from buying a product.

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    • Originally posted by hal2k1 View Post
      The hardware manufacturer only pays licence fees for IP that is embedded in the card. If S3TC is implemented in the software driver, it isn't embedded in the card, and the manufacturer of the card does not pay the patent holder for patents he has not used.

      When an end user buys the card, he has only (indirectly) paid for IP embedded in the card. If S3TC is implemented in the software driver for the card, the end user has not yet paid for a licence via his purchase of the card.
      So on Windows I'm using the patent illegaly because I haven't paid separately for the driver (I downloaded it for free) and therefore I don't get a license for the software part of the patent? That doesn't make sense. And that's my point. By buying the card I have paid for every part of the patent - the patent holder will have made sure of that when they made the deal with the chip manufacturer (at least I assume it's the chip manufacturer, not the card manufacturer). And since they cannot really know who is using the manufacturer's driver and who isn't I am certain that the agreement is a license fee per unit. Otherwise the Windows driver wouldn't be free or I should be able to get a refund for not using the patent.

      I'm not trolling. I understand that when the patent is impemented in an open source driver it's a different implementation and may not be covered by the license granted to the original manufacturer. But I nevertheless maintain that this situation is double dipping bacuase I have already paid for using the patent - both the hardware and the software part (as per my argument in the previous paragraph). Maybe this particluar sitation is not tested in court. Or maybe it is and I don't know about it. But I think the situation is not as clear cut as you present it.

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      • Originally posted by kobblestown View Post
        So on Windows I'm using the patent illegaly because I haven't paid separately for the driver (I downloaded it for free) and therefore I don't get a license for the software part of the patent? That doesn't make sense. And that's my point. By buying the card I have paid for every part of the patent - the patent holder will have made sure of that when they made the deal with the chip manufacturer (at least I assume it's the chip manufacturer, not the card manufacturer). And since they cannot really know who is using the manufacturer's driver and who isn't I am certain that the agreement is a license fee per unit. Otherwise the Windows driver wouldn't be free or I should be able to get a refund for not using the patent.

        I'm not trolling. I understand that when the patent is impemented in an open source driver it's a different implementation and may not be covered by the license granted to the original manufacturer. But I nevertheless maintain that this situation is double dipping bacuase I have already paid for using the patent - both the hardware and the software part (as per my argument in the previous paragraph). Maybe this particluar sitation is not tested in court. Or maybe it is and I don't know about it. But I think the situation is not as clear cut as you present it.
        Not at all. There are literally thousands of patents that are licensed royalty free and implemented in zero-cost software.

        Here is a list of companies which cross-license each other for zero cost in order to make it possible to download Linux at zero cost yet include patented technologies:
        http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/licensees.php

        This is quite a long list.

        However, there is another mechanism that can apply to proprietary closed systems such as Windows. The pay-off for patent holders may not come from actual sales of software, but merely from the fact that the company offers users a high-performance zero cost driver for Windows, leading to many hardware sales for that company.

        Having a patent means that one can require that users of the software get a valid license for the software. This gives one cotrol over what users can, and cannot do with the software and the hardware. One can control that non-supported operating systems, standards, platforms and architectures do not gain significant market share over supported ones. Alternatively, one can implement features in the software that are not in the best interests of the owner of the hardware. These are called anti-features, and DRM is an excellent example.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damaged_good#Anti-features

        Fancy spending money buying something and yet not being in control of it! Who in their right mind would do that?

        But anyway ... back to the point ... through having proprietary closed software, there are myriad ways patent holders can extract value from software other than actually charging users money to obtain that software.

        The opposite side of this coin is the observation that there are large numbers of patents held which are purely defensive. The patent holders are not interested in extracting royalties for the "patented invention" *cough*, they are merely interested in holding patents of their own as a form of defense against other parties attacking them with patent claims.

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        • Originally posted by TobiSGD View Post
          Nope, you don't. You have the right to use the product which implements the patent, but you get not a license to that patent. Obtaining a license for a patent is usually done to build a product which in some form implements the patent to distribute it further. You don't get that right just from buying a product.
          Yes, you do.

          You clearly don't understand what is meant by the term "license". A license is merely a grant of permission to do something that one would not normally be allowed to do. A driver's license is a grant of permission for a person to drive a vehicle on a public road. A fishing license is a grant of permission to fish. And so on.

          With a patented invention, the patent holder has the right to grant or withold permission for everyone else to either USE that invention or to PRODUCE that invention. Everyone needs permission form the patent holder to do either ... one needs a license (a grant of permission from the patent holder) to make a product incorporating that invention, and one ALSO needs a license (a grant of permission from the patent holder) to merely use that resulting product.

          So yes, you DO get an implied license (to USE the product) for any embedded patents when you purchase a physical item. Everyone who buys the item gets such a license. Anyone wishing to run hardware accelerated video decoding, for example, will have had to buy a graphics card ... so they do already have a license to use the hardware accelerated video decoding features physically on the card (even if they run Linux).

          But you are right, they don't get a license to make cards. So? Who ever claimed that they did?
          Last edited by hal2k1; 06-28-2012, 07:31 AM.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by kobblestown View Post
            So on Windows I'm using the patent illegaly because I haven't paid separately for the driver (I downloaded it for free) and therefore I don't get a license for the software part of the patent?
            Whether you pay for the driver or not is immaterial. NVidia paid the license fees to use the patent in their software driver. The fact that they give that to you for free doesn't change the fact that they paid for it.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by smitty3268 View Post
              Whether you pay for the driver or not is immaterial. NVidia paid the license fees to use the patent in their software driver. The fact that they give that to you for free doesn't change the fact that they paid for it.
              Fair enough. But my point is that *I* paid for it. Or you think nVidia got the money from somewhere else? I paid for it when I bought the card. I am certain, and no one here has disputed this, that the patents used for a graphics chip are licensed per unit and cover the whole patents regardless of what part of it is implemented in hardware and what in software and that this license cost is passed down the chain. So the patent holders got their money! I don't see anyone disputing that either. So why should I be forbidden to use something I have paid for? After all, patents protect ideas, not particular implementations. If I have paid for the idea by paying for a particular implementation why can't I use the idea with implementation of my choosing.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by kobblestown View Post
                Fair enough. But my point is that *I* paid for it. Or you think nVidia got the money from somewhere else? I paid for it when I bought the card. I am certain, and no one here has disputed this, that the patents used for a graphics chip are licensed per unit and cover the whole patents regardless of what part of it is implemented in hardware and what in software and that this license cost is passed down the chain. So the patent holders got their money! I don't see anyone disputing that either. So why should I be forbidden to use something I have paid for? After all, patents protect ideas, not particular implementations. If I have paid for the idea by paying for a particular implementation why can't I use the idea with implementation of my choosing.
                You gave the money to Nvidia, at which point it became their money, so it's misleading to say that you paid for that license. Similarly, the company that pays me didn't buy me a beer last night, even though the money used to buy it originally came from them, and I can't tell anybody that I employ Mr. Bridgman just because I buy AMD hardware.

                I think that if you buy Nvidia hardware then a license to use the patented algorithms *with their binary driver*.

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                • Originally posted by archibald View Post
                  I think that if you buy Nvidia hardware then a license to use the patented algorithms *with their binary driver*.
                  Nope. You buy permission to USE the hardware you purchased. If there is any IP embedded in that hardware (nvidia IP or otherwise), then you buy permission to USE it. Ergo, you have a license to use that IP.

                  What you do with the hardware is up to you. It is now yours after all. If you want to use a driver other than nvidia's, fill your boots. Go right ahead.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by hal2k1 View Post
                    Nope. You buy permission to USE the hardware you purchased. If there is any IP embedded in that hardware (nvidia IP or otherwise), then you buy permission to USE it. Ergo, you have a license to use that IP.

                    What you do with the hardware is up to you. It is now yours after all. If you want to use a driver other than nvidia's, fill your boots. Go right ahead.
                    If only that was true.

                    Yes, you have permission to use the hardware. But you don't have permission to create new software which infringes on software-patents that just happen to also hook into that hardware.

                    Look, i'm not trying to defend the patent system. It's stupid. But that's the way it works, and why features like that aren't in Mesa. You can stick your head in the sand and pretend otherwise if you want, but it won't change anything.

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                    • SPARC/Solaris/Illumos Nvidia driver also not available

                      SPARC architecture is opened with GPL licence in UltraSPARC T2 CPU,
                      but Nvidia does not make Solaris/Illumos SPARC drivers available at all (nov even closed blob for SPARC).

                      Also I would need to point out that Illlumos needs KMS (Kernel mode settings) implementation , found in Solaris11 to gain newer graphics drivers.

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