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Thread: Part 2 Of Nouveau Saga: The Microcode

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  1. #1
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    Default Part 2 Of Nouveau Saga: The Microcode

    Phoronix: Part 2 Of Nouveau Saga: The Microcode

    Following a feature-packed DRM pull request this morning for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, Linus Torvalds became frustrated that the Nouveau driver for supporting NVIDIA hardware was still not to be found in this most recent pull request. Linus wants Nouveau in the mainline kernel especially as Red Hat has already been shipping this free software driver in Fedora for two releases. Only a few hours have passed since that second news article, but more messages surrounding the Nouveau status have been sent on the kernel mailing list and dri-devel...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=Nzc5Mg

  2. #2

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    I thought the whole point of reverse engineering this ting from the ground up was so that we wouldn't have to deal with issues like this...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rotarychainsaw View Post
    I thought the whole point of reverse engineering this ting from the ground up was so that we wouldn't have to deal with issues like this...
    Reverse engineering does not protect you as far as possible patent restrictions. If nvidia for example has a patent on a process and that the reversed engineered firmware duplicates obtained in a clean room environment, from scratch or copying knowingly or not, it may very well infringe on patents made by nvidia or partners they license from. A simplified example:

    Two guys are inventors, they both are developing mouse traps. Guy A has a piece of wood, a spring, and some stiff wire and comes up with the spring trap and patents it. Guy B with the same materials without even knowing it has already been patented comes up with a design looking very similar in looks and functionality and uses the same principals. Guy B is in patent infringement if he tries to market it (price really isn't a issue here, could be a freebie or charging for it).

    Bottom line is patent infringement, no matter if it is ignorant of the patent or not, is still illegal in the eyes of patent law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    Reverse engineering does not protect you as far as possible patent restrictions. If nvidia for example has a patent on a process and that the reversed engineered firmware duplicates obtained in a clean room environment, from scratch or copying knowingly or not, it may very well infringe on patents made by nvidia or partners they license from. A simplified example:

    Two guys are inventors, they both are developing mouse traps. Guy A has a piece of wood, a spring, and some stiff wire and comes up with the spring trap and patents it. Guy B with the same materials without even knowing it has already been patented comes up with a design looking very similar in looks and functionality and uses the same principals. Guy B is in patent infringement if he tries to market it (price really isn't a issue here, could be a freebie or charging for it).

    Bottom line is patent infringement, no matter if it is ignorant of the patent or not, is still illegal in the eyes of patent law.
    Good point. Just what I meant in my earlier post. Nvidia should say something about this issue as well. If there's IP in the microcode they want to protect, whether theirs or the 3rd parties, they need to say something so the developers are aware of the patent implications

    I would suggest that the firmware be at least nonfree and restricted...and kept in a separate package or at least be made available for download from appropriate locations
    Last edited by DeepDayze; 12-11-2009 at 02:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeepDayze View Post
    Good point. Just what I meant in my earlier post. Nvidia should say something about this issue as well. If there's IP in the microcode they want to protect, whether theirs or the 3rd parties, they need to say something so the developers are aware of the patent implications
    True, nvidia are the only ones that can verify this. It would be in the best interest of the nouveau devs to be pro-active and ask nvidia to take a look at it to check for these possible infringements. If none are found then fine. If there is then see if some sort of solution like On2 and Xiph.org did with the patents utilized in theora.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    True, nvidia are the only ones that can verify this. It would be in the best interest of the nouveau devs to be pro-active and ask nvidia to take a look at it to check for these possible infringements. If none are found then fine. If there is then see if some sort of solution like On2 and Xiph.org did with the patents utilized in theora.
    That'll be the good way to go about it. If nvidia gives its blessing then all's good

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    Will nvidia respond? How might they respond? Will power users move away from ubuntu in 2010 because its lagging in this department? Or perhaps using nouveau will not be desirable until ubuntu 10.10? Perhaps at ubuntu 10.10 the kernel / X / driver situation will be perfected and we will all use nouveau and have blazing fast tear free rendering, flicker free booting incredible gaming performance as we flip between quake wars 2 and google chrome on our multicore 64 bit beast machines. Perhaps with virtualbox direct3d support thru gallium we can have a 4x4 cube wall of virtualized windows guests on our 16 core, 32gig ram monsterbox running every quake version and call of duty version ever made and 1080p video decoding on the other side, all balanced perfectly with the CFS scheduler, or perhaps kernel patching will return and we all will use the BFS and jenx adxobe will finally balance the CFQ so well that all those games can load levels at the same time from our SSD drive arrays as we are backing up our complete FLAC discography of all recorded works ever made to our vulcan database exabyte western digital NAS android cell phones. Only time will tell.

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    Default Linus should get off his high horse

    the project is open source. Linus should stop being a brat and get off his high horse and do the work himself if he is so concerned about it. He shouldn't be yelling at the community, especially since most of them aren't paid.

    He should probably be worried about the shitty state of the entire graphics stack on linux more than one piece of DRM code. Xorg and mesa are in a poor state and are continuously falling short of goals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willtriv View Post
    the project is open source. Linus should stop being a brat and get off his high horse and do the work himself if he is so concerned about it. He shouldn't be yelling at the community, especially since most of them aren't paid.

    He should probably be worried about the shitty state of the entire graphics stack on linux more than one piece of DRM code. Xorg and mesa are in a poor state and are continuously falling short of goals.
    Two things:

    1) Linus only deals with the kernel level parts of the stack, which is exactly what he is complaining about

    2) Most of the people he yells at are paid to work on it.

  10. #10
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    Repeat after me:

    "I will not link to SourceForge mailing list archives."

    They are crap to navigate. In fact, I have no idea how I can easily go to previous/next message in the thread there.

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