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OpenGL Floating Point Textures No Longer Encumbered By Patents, Enabled In Mesa

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  • OpenGL Floating Point Textures No Longer Encumbered By Patents, Enabled In Mesa

    Phoronix: OpenGL Floating Point Textures No Longer Encumbered By Patents, Enabled In Mesa

    Back in 2012 when talking with Gabe Newell of Valve about open-source/Linux challenges one of the topics he was awed about was patents encumbering the open-source graphics driver progress. Six years later, Timothy Arceri working on the Valve Linux graphics driver team has freed Mesa's ARB_texture_float support from being built conditionally due to these patent fears...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...re-Float-Freed

  • #2
    Nice! Every little helps and is a small step closer to open source independence. Now if only software patents would die and go away altogether!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ptyerman View Post
      Now if only software patents would die and go away altogether!
      I am sure that they have their place, but 20 years is probably a bit too long. Maybe they should have a applicant selectable time period where 1 year costs the least, and a max of 5 years which costs the most.

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      • #4
        Awesome! Now I would like to see floating-point visual support (like AMDGPU-PRO) or 40-bit (30-bit with 10-bit alpha) (KWin is kinda buggy on 30-bit) soon.

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        • #5
          Have their place where? Software is mathematics and algorithms, neither of which is patentable. We already have copyright which covers any attempts to copy someone's work/source code.
          Software patents do nothing but stifle innovation and are a product of greedy monopolistic corporations that have certain politicians in pocket!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ptyerman View Post
            Have their place where? Software is mathematics and algorithms, neither of which is patentable. We already have copyright which covers any attempts to copy someone's work/source code.
            Software patents do nothing but stifle innovation and are a product of greedy monopolistic corporations that have certain politicians in pocket!
            well, patents were devised for the purpose of doing exactly the opposite of what they do now. they were an optional way for an idea to be released to the public, so that eventually new things could be derived from it. The incentive to do that would be a *temporary* monopoly of such idea (<10 years) so that it would be profitable for the patent owner. Also, the important part was that, it was always the company's decision to patent it or, if they found it was a bad deal, they could maintain it as a trade secret instead. apparently now. because of cronyism and simple corruption, the benefits of patenting something have increased so much, that it has become an arm race scenario. it's just sad, because the original idea was worth exploring.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by euler271 View Post

              well, patents were devised for the purpose of doing exactly the opposite of what they do now. they were an optional way for an idea to be released to the public, so that eventually new things could be derived from it. The incentive to do that would be a *temporary* monopoly of such idea (<10 years) so that it would be profitable for the patent owner. Also, the important part was that, it was always the company's decision to patent it or, if they found it was a bad deal, they could maintain it as a trade secret instead. apparently now. because of cronyism and simple corruption, the benefits of patenting something have increased so much, that it has become an arm race scenario. it's just sad, because the original idea was worth exploring.
              You can't really keep things trade secrets in software industry unless you keep it locked up in an inaccessible server. Everything gets reverse engineered sooner or later

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              • #8
                Originally posted by euler271 View Post

                well, patents were devised for the purpose of doing exactly the opposite of what they do now. they were an optional way for an idea to be released to the public, so that eventually new things could be derived from it. The incentive to do that would be a *temporary* monopoly of such idea (<10 years) so that it would be profitable for the patent owner. Also, the important part was that, it was always the company's decision to patent it or, if they found it was a bad deal, they could maintain it as a trade secret instead. apparently now. because of cronyism and simple corruption, the benefits of patenting something have increased so much, that it has become an arm race scenario. it's just sad, because the original idea was worth exploring.
                But, again, it was explicitly intended that mathematics and "sequence of steps" instructions (ie. algorithms) not be patentable.

                Patents on software came about by "boiling the frog" through "machine which implements algorithm X" patents.

                ...similar to how U.S. copyright was originally only intended to apply to "books and maps" because the U.S. constitution granted permission to establish copyright to further the progress of "science and the useful arts". Music got lawyered in because "If a book of sheet music is copyrightable, then surely a phonorecording of that sheet music should be too".

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ssokolow View Post

                  But, again, it was explicitly intended that mathematics and "sequence of steps" instructions (ie. algorithms) not be patentable.

                  Patents on software came about by "boiling the frog" through "machine which implements algorithm X" patents.

                  ...similar to how U.S. copyright was originally only intended to apply to "books and maps" because the U.S. constitution granted permission to establish copyright to further the progress of "science and the useful arts". Music got lawyered in because "If a book of sheet music is copyrightable, then surely a phonorecording of that sheet music should be too".
                  Well, currently the best we can hope for is that patent terms become shorter. The industry won't tolerate the total absence of patents. 10 years sounds a lot better than 20. 20 years not only gives you a competitive edge, but totally eliminates open source competition until the tech is totally obsolete.

                  Same could be said about the copyright terms. Life + 70 years (+ 75/80 years in some countries) is way too long. The (C) wasn't designed to support your great-grandchildren.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by euler271 View Post
                    they were an optional way for an idea to be released to the public, so that eventually new things could be derived from it.
                    They were also meant as a way to not lose knowledge because the "owners" were afraid to make it public but then lose access to it themselves (for example because the inventor dies). So I also sympathies with the idea, the problems is that the laws are pretty screwed up (same for copyrights, thanks to Disney, we will soon have a indefinite time for copyrights)

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