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Thread: OpenChrome: There's Apparently Not Much Left

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    in front of my box :p
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    Muhah. Sorry Sir.
    But every five years somebody, who claims (!) to be from VIA, shows up and tells the world that VIA still exists, but far better, that they still "are looking into things" related to Linux.

    Seriously, if you are from VIA, then you should know by now (unless you were just freshly employed) that there is barely anything VIA does in regards of Linux (or BSD). Besides cheap promises, maybe.

    I have followed that for about 12 years now (since the introduction of the CLE266, and using KT133a before on my Socket A) and nothing really happened. Besides cheap promises. The hardware itself may fit the purpose but without decent drivers it is useless.
    It would not even be a horror if VIA had no Linux expertise. There had (!) been enough enthusiasts out there wanting to write drivers. But I guess they were scared off by the lack of documentation and communication.
    From the user perspective we now had 3 or more generations of drivers. The last one, openchrome slowly starts to rot in its repository. There was never ever 3d, power management seemed to be unknown (does the HW have features for that anyway?) and 2d was of varying quality. MPEG acceleration would or would not work or with artifacts. Not all outputs were supported, so this was a killer for the use in notebooks when you wanted to attach it to a beamer for a presentation. Had to fall back to vesa.
    So from the user perspective it isn't any better.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Linuxland
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    5,332

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    If the Via people are reading this, get a grip over Wondermedia and if not start upstreaming, at least release working kernel source for each chip.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    26

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    embedded hardware must run on linux or bsd!

  4. #14
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    Jun 2014
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    Taipei, Taiwan
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    Very valid criticism. I have joined VIA recently, and one of my aims is to increase our open source contribution. I'm on the ARM side of things, so more familiar with those hardware. Many (but indeed not all yet) of our ARM SoCs have their code opened up more. E.g. the VAB-600 Springboard's kernel and bootloader is up on Github, as does code for the APC series. Others I'm still hunting down. We are talking to the kernel developers to get some "mainline quality" code written and submitted upstream. It's a process, but it is going on.

    As for OpenChrome, I looked at the git repo and tried to find those from VIA who contributed code before to ask about the project. So far I haven't found one who still works within the company, but I'll keep looking.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    26

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    Quote Originally Posted by imrehg View Post
    Very valid criticism. I have joined VIA recently, and one of my aims is to increase our open source contribution. I'm on the ARM side of things, so more familiar with those hardware. Many (but indeed not all yet) of our ARM SoCs have their code opened up more. E.g. the VAB-600 Springboard's kernel and bootloader is up on Github, as does code for the APC series. Others I'm still hunting down. We are talking to the kernel developers to get some "mainline quality" code written and submitted upstream. It's a process, but it is going on.

    As for OpenChrome, I looked at the git repo and tried to find those from VIA who contributed code before to ask about the project. So far I haven't found one who still works within the company, but I'll keep looking.


    is that people are working at via able / have the skills to work on openchrome?

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Taipei, Taiwan
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    Quote Originally Posted by lepetit View Post
    is that people are working at via able / have the skills to work on openchrome?
    I think the developer skills are there. As I see the lack of developer time is more of the problem. I changes in attitudes within regarding open source software and contribution, have to push it more to turn it into actions. Graphics is tricky, probably the most ip-encumbered part of hardware development, sadly. Often there are several steps upstream (in ip holders) to ask permissions and access to do more open support. At this point probably the best that can happen is starting to work on the low(er) hanging fruit (e.g. kernel, non-graphics device drivers) and based on the successes there push for openness across the board. I'll keep looking where are the developers who worked on OpenChrome, though, to see what's their take on it. I don't like such regression on effort at all.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    26

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    yep thanks for your effort
    i'm having also probleme with activation for via padlock
    and i'm search now for use with bitcoin mining.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    4

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    Dear imrehg,
    did you have any success finding people in VIA capable of and interesting in continuing the openchrome development?

    I've 'inherited' administration of my SO's Lenovo IdeaPad S12 with the VIA Nano + Chrome 9 HC3 chipset. The SO decided the netbook should go to the most important customer's hands, my father-in-law(-to-be).
    Since it was running a borked/unlicensed W7 install I thought I could give Fedora 20 x86_64 live system (with Gnome 3.12) a try.

    I must say I'm impressed (kudos to all developers, testers, packagers), everything worked from the start, including sound output/input, webcam, Ethernet interface, battery status...
    I only I had to download the proprietary (?) driver for the Broadcom Wifi chip from dd-wrt site and extract the correct firmware (could have been made slightly easier by showing this as a message/warning in the user interface instead of letting the user google around and try some random solutions).

    The only real problem is that the performance of the openchrome driver with the current X11/Gnome is very poor. I guess proper OpenGL/3D acceleration support would be necessary for good user experience. Or I could switch to some less-3D-accel-demanding desktop environment, losing all the perfect system integration Fedora/Gnome developers have done.

    Frankly, instead of spending money on a new Windows license, I'd rather sponsor some FOSS development.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    4

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    Dear imrehg,
    did you have any success finding people in VIA capable of and interesting in continuing the openchrome development?

    I've 'inherited' administration of my SO's Lenovo IdeaPad S12 with the VIA Nano + Chrome 9 HC3 chipset. The SO decided the netbook should go to the most important customer's hands, my father-in-law(-to-be).
    Since it was running a borked/unlicensed W7 install I thought I could give Fedora 20 x86_64 live system (with Gnome 3.12) a try.

    I must say I'm impressed (kudos to all developers, testers, packagers), everything worked from the start, including sound output/input, webcam, Ethernet interface, battery status...
    I only I had to download the proprietary (?) driver for the Broadcom Wifi chip from dd-wrt site and extract the correct firmware (could have been made slightly easier by showing this as a message/warning in the user interface instead of letting the user google around and try some random solutions).

    The only real problem is that the overall user experience with the openchrome driver is very poor (choppy webcam video in Cheese - presumably also in Skype, choppy video playback in Firefox etc.). I guess proper OpenGL/3D acceleration support would be necessary for good user experience in Gnome. Or I could switch to some less-3D-accel-demanding desktop environment, losing all the perfect system integration Fedora/Gnome developers have done.

    Frankly, instead of spending money on a new Windows license, I'd rather sponsor some FOSS development.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    4

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    I apologize for the double-post. I didn't realize the posts were waiting for approval.

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