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Patents May Cause Issues For OpenGL 3 In Mesa

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  • #31
    Yet again the rest of the world has to make concessions to US patent law.

    Boo sucks.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by hubick View Post
      For the OGG lovin Freetards like me who don't want any proprietary crap, can you elaborate on what impact the lack of said features will have on my desktop? Is it safe to assume we are just talking about losing a chunk of performance here, and that major features like Gallium3D, Clutter, and all that stuff will still work?
      S3TC's been iffy for a while. Floating-point textures are required for certain computational apps.

      You lose a couple esoteric features. No performance loss; these features are largely for improving rendering quality, sometimes at the cost of speed (floating-point buffers are four times the size of normal 32-bit buffers.)

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      • #33
        I'm getting sick and tired of all the useless and immature complaining about software patents. Yes, they totally suck, we have all known this for quite some time now. But they exist, and don't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon - you can't just ignore them or stick your head in the sand and hope they go away. We don't need another SCO situation but where this time Evil Co. comes up with the patent goods to back up their lawsuit, and is awarded an order for Canonical/RedHat to stop shipping Linux, they spread more FUD, etc, etc. So, given that situation, how should the community deal with the situation within the confines of the law? This is why MESA is (smartly) adding compile time flags, and why Free formats like OGG were created, great. I would just like to see a more serious impact assessment - what needs to be worked around, and what problems will this actually cause us. Any?

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        • #34
          Originally posted by MostAwesomeDude View Post
          S3TC's been iffy for a while. Floating-point textures are required for certain computational apps.

          You lose a couple esoteric features. No performance loss; these features are largely for improving rendering quality, sometimes at the cost of speed (floating-point buffers are four times the size of normal 32-bit buffers.)
          Thank you very much for letting us know what the actual situation here is. It sounds like we don't have too too much to worry about then.

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          • #35
            I guess almost every today's game out there requires floating-point textures (e.g. for advanced shadow mapping and HDR postprocessing), so do not expect them to run or be watchable. Then put S3TC out, which might increase your videomemory consumption up to 8x (the compression ratio of DXT1), and you can really forget about doing some serious computer graphics with open source drivers. Thank god I don't live in US and never will.

            Most of the other GL3.x functionality can be exposed through extensions, except the ClearBuffer API.

            Originally posted by MostAwesomeDude View Post
            OpenCL stacks may be exposed to the same issues as OpenGL 3.x stacks.
            Does this mean that OpenCL will be disabled by default in most distros?

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            • #36
              Look at it this way. Patents haven't prevented anybody determined from getting patented audio or video support.

              If you'd like to continue panicking and raging and running around like beheaded poultry, you can of course do so to your heart's content.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by MostAwesomeDude View Post
                If you'd like to continue panicking and raging and running around like beheaded poultry, you can of course do so to your heart's content.
                ahaha i love that, epic sentence. The man needs a beer for that 1.

                Beheaded poultry XD.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by hubick View Post
                  Thank you very much for letting us know what the actual situation here is. It sounds like we don't have too too much to worry about then.
                  Actually...the problem lies in getting studios to sign off on something less than this stuff. They WANT this sort of stuff because it makes it easier to do their "art" with "less effort". Not that I blame them, mind- but trying to get games on Linux, well, it'll be a smidge harder to sell people on it if we don't have OGL 3.0 or ES 2.0 in hand in their entirety in a form that many, if not most, can use largely out of box with.

                  S3TC is a problem.
                  Lack of having the "good" render targets is a problem.

                  The thing that concerns me is that we're getting told that a data structure (that's all a render target is within the API) is covered by patent(s). S3TC is "covered" in the sense of not easily or readily being able to use it- not because of the data, but because you need to use the algorithm that IS patented to provide these textures. Now, you can merely provide the compressed textures directly to the card, but since you have to be able to support providing a raw texture and then compressing it to the specified compressed format, they opt (and rightly so) to not support any aspect of it currently (though it sounds like that's changing... ). I find it disturbing that they're having to side-step floating point rendering/texture targets for "patent reasons".

                  To the best of my knowlege, no algorithms needed. Just a data structure to pull from or put into since it's NOT compressed.
                  Last edited by Svartalf; 10-01-2009, 10:46 PM.

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                  • #39
                    Um shouldn't it be that the hardware implementation of floating point compression is patented?

                    I mean you can reimplement that same compression with different hardware at least that is how patents are supposed to work. Afaik basic computer components are not patentable although archetecutral designs are. ie MIPS ARM ALPHA x86 etc... patents on registers or and gates would just be stupid specific kinds of and gates and registers however are patentable I suppose

                    Patents are to protect the exact method for doing something not every method for doing it under teh sun

                    When did all this stuff get stupid (when money came into the picture I suppose) its like saying you own a copyright on hardback books or something.

                    Perhaps the S3TC texture compression could be fought on the basis that it is the defacto standard for floating point compression? Or that any proprietary implementation can't be stolen and used but can be reimplemented in a different way.
                    Last edited by cb88; 10-01-2009, 11:00 PM.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by MostAwesomeDude View Post
                      Look at it this way. Patents haven't prevented anybody determined from getting patented audio or video support.
                      That's nice, but patents are actually preventing everybody from getting S3TC in Mesa, regardless of the country. Hopefully this one will change soon...

                      Originally posted by MostAwesomeDude View Post
                      If you'd like to continue panicking
                      I was just saying back there what is obvious to a 3D graphics application developer. Not gonna continue from there.
                      Last edited by marek; 10-01-2009, 11:45 PM.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                        The thing that concerns me is that we're getting told that a data structure (that's all a render target is within the API) is covered by patent(s).
                        Indeed. Specialized compressed texture formats at least probably embody some cleverness, which may conceivably be eligible for a patent, but completely obvious and straight-forward extensions of older concepts like floating-point textures or render targets should not be patentable, regardless of whether you support software patents or not.

                        If they indeed are patented, it seems likely to be due to the usual cluelessness on the part of the patent office when it comes to software issues, and so should be a good candidate for being overturned.

                        [There should really be a penalties against the patent examiner granting sufficiently idiotic patents -- and against the applicant for requesting them. The only way this crap will stop is if there's some reason for them to care...]

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Ant P. View Post
                          My opinion has always been "screw 'em, they can't sue us all".

                          Whose fault are these patents, and do they have any products we can boycott?
                          Fully agreed. Basically, laws that are not by the majority are BS, everyone knows that companies are the only ones pushing these and that the U.S. is controlled by corporate interests. Possibly the best way the public can rebel against BS like this when the government doesn't want to listen to them is by ignoring the law.

                          Fight against patents by treading on them, IMO. That's the only way to get the issue noticed, is when some company tries throwing a fit over it.

                          Sure, several OSS-related companies don't want to be the ones to stand up against patents, but it has to happen sometime and someone has to do it.

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                          • #43
                            You guys are delusional.

                            No company wants to go up and fight software patents all the way to the supreme court.

                            Why? Becuase there is a decent chance that the supreme court will upheld the software patent and we would be stuck with it for centuries!!

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by drag View Post
                              You guys are delusional.

                              No company wants to go up and fight software patents all the way to the supreme court.

                              Why? Becuase there is a decent chance that the supreme court will upheld the software patent and we would be stuck with it for centuries!!
                              Laws are created by citizens and with enough force common sense can eventually get pushed through. It's not like the Supreme Court are a bunch of gods or something.

                              Regardless, the key is you can't stop the sharing of information and collaboration, so patents, copyrights, and all other forms of attempts to block idea sharing will always fail. It's only a matter of the corporations finally being put in their places after enough resistance takes place.

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                              • #45
                                Let's all calm down...

                                First step: Identify the actual patents
                                Would Mesa actually be infringing patents if it was to follow the OpenGL3 reference?

                                Next step: If mesa would be infringing, can we work around it?
                                Is this going to hurt performance? If so is this acceptable yes or no?

                                Third step: Do what must be done
                                Contact the FSF.

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