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Imagination Announces "Catapult" RISC-V CPU Family

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  • #11
    Originally posted by lyamc View Post
    Not sure why so many people are complaining, this looks great!
    The reason is because Imagination is known for making the PowerVR line of GPUs that are usually in certain SoCs, and those have absolutely no open-source support.
    Remember the Poulsbo (GMA 500) era? That was a hard time for us Linux users as we were forced to use closed-source blobs and eventually things broke to the point it was simply impossible to use Linux with a PowerVR chip.

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    • #12
      Originally posted by tildearrow View Post

      The reason is because Imagination is known for making the PowerVR line of GPUs that are usually in certain SoCs, and those have absolutely no open-source support.
      Remember the Poulsbo (GMA 500) era? That was a hard time for us Linux users as we were forced to use closed-source blobs and eventually things broke to the point it was simply impossible to use Linux with a PowerVR chip.
      To the point where some vendors who use a variety of graphics IPs like Allwinner have an OSS community which shows little interest in supporting the chips with PowerVR GPUs as no one in the OSS community will touch them. Who go through the effort to support them when noone will make an SBC based off of them? Maybe if you want to make it headless and pay unnecessary royalties.

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      • #13
        Originally posted by willmore View Post
        To the point where some vendors who use a variety of graphics IPs like Allwinner have an OSS community which shows little interest in supporting the chips with PowerVR GPUs as no one in the OSS community will touch them. Who go through the effort to support them when noone will make an SBC based off of them? Maybe if you want to make it headless and pay unnecessary royalties.
        ARM gained traction because in the community someone started to develop for it, also ARM optimized a lot the gnu toolchains, and such..
        You go to the ARM download section and you find there the GNU toolchains for everything, they also have some open-source projects..but they were never open-source friendly..
        But the project that really advanced ARM was the launch of RaspBerryPi..

        Imagination could very well have had what ARM has now, they had very good archs with mipsr5 and above, and also good Graphics, but they lacked the support, they seemed that were not committed to linux at all..
        Also they could very well, when RaspberryPI launched the RPi1, they could have launched a good SBC board, but they launched a old arch design(mipsr2), and at very high prices..with barely no Linux support, and no real way for a lot of people to buy one( Distribution problem.. ), was a disaster.

        ARM was never good to opensource, but at least some crucial things happened at the correct time..when RPi1 was released it was released with the processor present on 1st Iphone, that was a big win on their side.. a complete operating system, with updates and such, in a platform that was present in the iphone, at lower prices it was a big win.

        Remember that at the time ARM didn't had yet NEON simd, I believe mips also didn't had SMA simd at the time, both versions had floating point unit, and mips one was better than the ARM floating point unit, taking asside Vectorization code..


        On the paper CI20 was superior in almost all aspects to any RaspberryPí, but its CPU were never in a iphone, also its price was very high, and people in Linux reacted wildly about it having a power-vr graphics..because no support( but the ARM boards had also no support for Mali graphics.. ), people were burned in the past by power-vr no linux support..

        ARM used blobs for graphics too, but RaspBerryPi launched a dedicated website, were you can buy a device, with a lot of Documentation.. several distributors, .. in other words.. they created the Hype needed for it to become a success..and other projects started to emulate what RaspBerryPi had done( but all of them with ARM.. )..

        Now Imagination are trying to emulate the business type ARM has, with RISCV licensing IP, but probably they will forget about all the support that is needed in the process, and one thing without another doesn't work..ARM grew and expanded, taking Linux as the base kernel..

        Imagination had a Idea of launching the PicoRio Board, but things in Imagination time... takes a lot of time in human time..and time is critical for humans..
        Also, they will again not use Linux on it, but a Frankenstein thing based on JavaScript, something like that..amazing..!!


        Summarizing it,
        The lack of support for PowerVr for linux, made linux users scared of it.It was like a *no touch* project..
        Maybe now they realized that after all, Linux is the big option, but with the market lost, is difficult to gain it again..if not impossible.
        They put so many money in the wrong horse( Microsoft/Apple ), and they lost.

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        • #14
          Originally posted by tildearrow View Post
          The reason is because Imagination is known for making the PowerVR line of GPUs that are usually in certain SoCs, and those have absolutely no open-source support.
          Yea I'm hoping that they're that rumored new open source GPU driver that's in development because I'd really love if their GPUs had more of a market. I'm a big fan of TBDR.

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          • #15
            Originally posted by tildearrow View Post
            The reason is because Imagination is known for making the PowerVR line of GPUs that are usually in certain SoCs, and those have absolutely no open-source support.
            Remember the Poulsbo (GMA 500) era? That was a hard time for us Linux users as we were forced to use closed-source blobs and eventually things broke to the point it was simply impossible to use Linux with a PowerVR chip.
            The problem is not Imagination doesn't have open-source drivers..

            Nvidia exists and even today they don't have open-source drivers, are closed blobs and are the most widely used graphics cards worldwide..
            The real problem is the lack of support for Linux, no drivers at all, or junk code that doesn't work, because nobody wanted to take the effort to make it work decently..

            Linux was never a priority to Imagination, if it was real, then you would be able to use Poulsbo (GMA 500) decently on Linux, and you can't..they never considered Linux kernel as a priority( That is the problem ).

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            • #16
              Originally posted by tuxd3v View Post
              Linux was never a priority to Imagination, if it was real, then you would be able to use Poulsbo (GMA 500) decently on Linux, and you can't..they never considered Linux kernel as a priority( That is the problem ).
              Well, there's some cause for hope:


              Not for that old, old hardware, mind you. I mean going forward.

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              • #17
                Originally posted by tuxd3v View Post
                ARM gained traction because in the community someone started to develop for it, also ARM optimized a lot the gnu toolchains, and such..
                You go to the ARM download section and you find there the GNU toolchains for everything, they also have some open-source projects..but they were never open-source friendly..
                But the project that really advanced ARM was the launch of RaspBerryPi..
                hummm… the project that skyrocketed ARM was an unknown product call the iPhone, not the raspberry pi.

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                • #18
                  Originally posted by rmfx View Post
                  hummm… the project that skyrocketed ARM was an unknown product call the iPhone, not the raspberry pi.
                  Yeah, and other phones before it. Before that, didn't some MP3 players use it? Maybe even some iPods?

                  However, I think tuxd3v was concerned mainly with the point where the open source community got energized around ARM. There's no denying that Pi had a huge impact on open source interest in ARM, but for Pi to even happen, Debian's ARM support already had to be in fairly decent shape.

                  Looking back to the pre-Pi era, I think some other notable milestones were Gumstix, the open source router firmwares, Maemo, and countless other embedded SBCs. Even ODROID had ARM-based SBCs before Pi came along and drew mass-attention to the space.
                  Last edited by coder; 07 December 2021, 03:03 PM.

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                  • #19
                    Originally posted by coder View Post
                    Well, there's some cause for hope:
                    Not for that old, old hardware, mind you. I mean going forward.
                    Yeah I had a Asus eepc with Poulsbo (GMA 500), and it was a mess..
                    I bought the machine because it advertised, at the time a GMA500, and I thought ..well its a intel graphics card so we have support...err no

                    That seems to be good news, if its real what they are talking about more commitment to the Linux kernel..
                    Hope that this time, they bring support for their SoCs and Graphics..
                    They need to start by some place, hiring Linux developers is a good start..

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                    • #20
                      Originally posted by rmfx View Post
                      hummm… the project that skyrocketed ARM was an unknown product call the iPhone, not the raspberry pi.
                      The mobile phones were appearing with ARM already Iphones or Androids, but the community didn't had hardware to play with,
                      At beginning was the fever of installing new ROMs on android devices, also the sbc world come by storm, started by RaspBerryPi,
                      I still own my first edition rpi v1.1, 256MB Ram

                      coder is right, Gumstix, Openmoko phone,toradex, and a lot of other boards existed already..
                      Existed also the routers boards, were people were playing with wrt linux..

                      But at the time majority of board on the market were Reference designs from the manufactures which costed thousands and thousands of euros, and they only provided a BSP kernel package, no mainline support, and full of blobs..

                      Currently vendors still provide a Reference design board, which costs thousands and thousands, but we already have lots of more entry level hardware to play with. Nowadays only for very serious projects, you will need to base on the reference designs, sometimes you doesn't even need them....
                      Last edited by tuxd3v; 07 December 2021, 05:43 PM.

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