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Would A Kickstarter Open-Source GPU Work?

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  • lejeczek
    replied
    Michael Larabel, of course it should

    open source is about sharing and thus every news of any body wanting to join in should be welcomed with a big smile and arms wide opened.
    In particular if such a body is more or less commercially defined institution we should only encourage those responsible for these decisions, we should cheer up even more for them.
    It does not matter that Intel a longer while ago and AMD only recently have started waking up to the open source world, don't mind NVIDIA we don't need them, but! don't mind any of these three. Graphics and images are for us humans to feed our one out of five (or more) senses but it's not only PC but, not newly born anymore but still relatively new whole world of all the "attached-to-person" devices too. Now, would it not be great if open source had an open hardware sibling? Or child or however called, here in this case probably most important part of the cybernetic organism.
    And then software and hardware being as one. Tease your imagination? No legal restrictions no patents, no judicial threads no diabolic layers and likewise trolls. Software programmers and circuit engineers working together by the same "desk", sure it works this way now, but!! here imagine on the planetary scale! everywhere open source can reach!
    Would it not be nice? hmm.. author/owner of this website said no!? I'm all up for it!!

    ps. horribly hot here in Cambridge

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  • silix
    replied
    Originally posted by timothyja View Post
    You miss my main point there are always going to be people like you that say "Hell No" thats why Kickstarter is the perfect platform for something like this because people can fund what ever they want it doesnt matter what you or any bank think.
    People being happy with wasting money on a delusional project doesnt, in itself, make it a non - waste...
    "It's taking something we have on the shelf, from a half dozen companies, and reinventing it" Um, well that would be both development of an idea and outside the box thinking wouldnt it.
    no, this is more about "jumping on the bandwagon" than anything...

    the "idea" to be developed is all but new;

    the chip to be designed is not some new exotic architecture, rather something that is able to DECENTLY run EXISTING graphic API's - and that, in order to do so, will inevitably and necessarily employ a design not too dissimilar (wrt the structure and organizazion of the functional units) from its very competitors (*);

    and, implementing a gpu in an FPGA instead of an asic, is not "thinking out of the box", it squarely falls into the definition of "prototyping" as it's precisely what is done before manufacturing a custom chip (implementing the same logic but allowing for lower costs, higher economies of scale and, often, higher clockspeeds - fpga's are usually clock limited, except very costly ones)

    (*) moreover: what nobody has thought of until now, is PATENTS
    this is no more a free/ open source sw project for an important yet commoditized component as in the case of your beloved unix like kernel and OS - protected by sw patents not being enforceable everywhere, and by prior art and portfolios on the part of Oracle (formerly Sun), IBM and others
    this is about hardware, a physical product that is built and sold, for which you cannot say patents dont apply and keep a straight face
    especially given who are he ones who hold related patents
    unless you're deliberately building something that will assure not to infringe on patents AMD or NVidia or the likes (who you can be sure will screw you till forever if you do) hold, by NOT being competitive on feature, performance, or both
    but then, what was the point of it again?

    everything that is required to implement any state of the art architectural or feature is patented by one or another, so a chip that is competitive ends up infringing one or more patents that would have to be negotiated and paid royalties for, there's no escape...
    moreover, with nvidia not even publishing their own specifications to avoid implementation details leaking out, if an open source hw design happened to have coinciding details, do you really think nvidia wouldnt crush it immediately?
    Last edited by silix; 07-17-2013, 10:13 AM.

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  • phireis
    replied
    Awesome. Openness is evolution.

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  • DeepDayze
    replied
    Originally posted by necro-lover View Post
    http://phoronix.com/forums/showthrea...rietary-driver

    Nvidia also do have a plan to opensource there drivers. So we better support this kickstarter projekt.
    Nvidia could go this route to gauge the interest in an open GPU by setting up some shell company and then under this shell company's name put out a design for a GPU along with specs (certainly not in any way related to their current line of GPU's)

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  • timothyja
    replied
    I found an interesting thesis paper that describes implementing 3D Graphics Accelerator for FPGA that is capable of running Quake 3. See: http://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/get...FULLTEXT01.pdf

    With seemingly multiple student projects having implemented something alone these lines (although seemingly incomplete) I'm surprised there isnt already some open source work out there somewhere.

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  • plonoma
    replied
    Sounds very interesting.

    Please do post some information of what it is capable off.
    What OpenGL versions, EGL and stuff.

    There is the OpenCores project http://opencores.org/
    To bad they called their CPU instruction set the OpenRISC instruction set.

    And by the way, the code release is a starting point for open source development, not an end.
    It would be really interesting though if OpenGL (ES) 2 was supported.

    Do need the licence rights carried over to an organization, maybe OpenCores is the best place for doing that.

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  • timothyja
    replied
    Originally posted by c117152 View Post
    This open GPU idea isn't "development of ideas or outside the box thinking". It's taking something we have on the shelf, from a half dozen companies, and reinventing it.
    If this was an initiative to buy the patent rights of an established and successful GPU, and then release them under a copyleft* open hardware public license, I would be all for it. This way manufacturers would keep using it since it's already a success, but would also contribute improvements over time while keeping the tech accessible and affordable.
    And still, the amount of money necessary to pull something like this off is quite substantial. AMD sold their own to Qualcomm for 64M (http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/20/a...lcomm-for-64m/) and it was considered a bargain at the time.
    So, I stick to my previous statement, and add, "Hell No".

    *With hardware there's no difficulty in taking and not giving back since you're not wasting time on maintaining a code base on your own, so a designe released under a permissive license would have no hope of seeing upstream contributions.
    You miss my main point there are always going to be people like you that say "Hell No" thats why Kickstarter is the perfect platform for something like this because people can fund what ever they want it doesnt matter what you or any bank think.

    "It's taking something we have on the shelf, from a half dozen companies, and reinventing it" Um, well that would be both development of an idea and outside the box thinking wouldnt it. "Reinventing it" as apposed to reimplementing it.

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  • yuumei
    replied
    I would back it just to attempt to persuade the other GPU companies to open source their drivers.

    Would I be correct in thinking that once you got the fpga source you would be able to scale the performance of the gpu to the fpga it is running on. I.e if you had a larger fpga you would be able to fit more cores on it? That would be quite interesting as you could create low to high end gpu boards. Maybe that could be the tiers on kickstarter.

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  • c117152
    replied
    Originally posted by timothyja View Post
    Well thats exactly why crowdfunding has become so successful. Banks, Game Publishers, etc have no interest in development of ideas or outside the box thinking to the point of ignoring anything other than what fits their preconcived notion of what will make them money. The success of Kickstarter is a testament to the idea that people are willing to support ideas traditional financers are not. So I guess you are saying they are taking the right approach by considering Kickstarter.
    This open GPU idea isn't "development of ideas or outside the box thinking". It's taking something we have on the shelf, from a half dozen companies, and reinventing it.
    If this was an initiative to buy the patent rights of an established and successful GPU, and then release them under a copyleft* open hardware public license, I would be all for it. This way manufacturers would keep using it since it's already a success, but would also contribute improvements over time while keeping the tech accessible and affordable.
    And still, the amount of money necessary to pull something like this off is quite substantial. AMD sold their own to Qualcomm for 64M (http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/20/a...lcomm-for-64m/) and it was considered a bargain at the time.
    So, I stick to my previous statement, and add, "Hell No".

    *With hardware there's no difficulty in taking and not giving back since you're not wasting time on maintaining a code base on your own, so a designe released under a permissive license would have no hope of seeing upstream contributions.
    Last edited by c117152; 07-17-2013, 07:25 AM. Reason: proofing

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  • timothyja
    replied
    Ok so I did so did some quick googling.

    1 .For those (me) that dont fully understand what a FPGA is see: http://www.fpga4fun.com/FPGAinfo1.html
    So the cool thing is they can be reprogrammed over and over meaning improvements in the design in theory would mean performance improvements without physical hardware upgrades (of course performance is still limited by the FPGA itself but still pretty cool.)

    2. The only company I could find that made an OpenGL Graphics Accelerator was here: http://www.logicbricks.com/Product/D...&sifraCvor=409
    Not saying this is the only one but its the only one I could find. They have a video demoing the technology here: http://www.logicbricks.com/logicBRIC...ideo-Clip.aspx

    3. I found an interesting pdf from the Iowa State University a class where students implement OpenGL on a FPGA in order to run Quake. I wish this had been offered at my University back in the day.
    See: http://home.engineering.iastate.edu/.../SteJon11A.pdf
    Last edited by timothyja; 07-17-2013, 07:10 AM.

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