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Thread: Reasoning for closed source

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  1. #1
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    Default Reasoning for closed source

    Hi guys,

    just wondering if you guys could enlighten me on the logic of closed source drivers (also includes BIOS btw).

    I have been on pondering this issue for years and still havnt found a good answer. It is more than possibly based on my lack on deep understanding on drivers coding.

    The way I see it, as an hardware manufacturer you need to pay for the actual hardware and also to write drivers for said hardware. Then, you need to write a different driver for each OS, for every new model and feature, keep track of bug reports, etc
    At the same time, you know that there is a bunch of very talented FOSS guys bashing their head on how to reverse engineer some hardware.
    So then, in God's name, dont they just open their close source drivers, pay some developpers (and get a crap load of free work from FOSS developpers) and developp a generic multiplatform driver that would be easy to port on easy platform?
    I'm sure some people would say IP issues, but then, thats you own hardware... Not giving the competition some usefull (?) info about your product? Call me an ignorant mech.eng, but I would assume that the biggest challenge in hardware design is the actual manufacturing...

    anyway, fire away your opinion!

    thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmot View Post
    Hi guys,

    just wondering if you guys could enlighten me on the logic of closed source drivers (also includes BIOS btw).

    I have been on pondering this issue for years and still havnt found a good answer. It is more than possibly based on my lack on deep understanding on drivers coding.

    The way I see it, as an hardware manufacturer you need to pay for the actual hardware and also to write drivers for said hardware. Then, you need to write a different driver for each OS, for every new model and feature, keep track of bug reports, etc
    At the same time, you know that there is a bunch of very talented FOSS guys bashing their head on how to reverse engineer some hardware.
    So then, in God's name, dont they just open their close source drivers, pay some developpers (and get a crap load of free work from FOSS developpers) and developp a generic multiplatform driver that would be easy to port on easy platform?
    I'm sure some people would say IP issues, but then, thats you own hardware... Not giving the competition some usefull (?) info about your product? Call me an ignorant mech.eng, but I would assume that the biggest challenge in hardware design is the actual manufacturing...

    anyway, fire away your opinion!

    thanks
    Simple short reason, competitive IP, not every company wants to give away their trade secrets that give their product an advantage over their competitors. Better performance over their competitors hopefully results in better sales which in turn results in better ROE for their investors. Like it or not the industry is driven by a monetary system where the investors want maximum bang for their investment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    Simple short reason, competitive IP, not every company wants to give away their trade secrets that give their product an advantage over their competitors. Better performance over their competitors hopefully results in better sales which in turn results in better ROE for their investors. Like it or not the industry is driven by a monetary system where the investors want maximum bang for their investment.
    I understood that...
    but, for exemple, assume that amd/ati was to open up their source code tomorrow. Would Nvidia ''jump'' over the source code to find all the ''tricks'' hardware wise? Is there actually anything of value for the hardware developpement?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmot View Post
    I understood that...
    but, for exemple, assume that amd/ati was to open up their source code tomorrow. Would Nvidia ''jump'' over the source code to find all the ''tricks'' hardware wise? Is there actually anything of value for the hardware developpement?
    Maybe they would, and maybe they would not, but the last thing investors want is uncertainty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    Maybe they would, and maybe they would not, but the last thing investors want is uncertainty.
    thats the 10000$ question I'm asking.

    Because on one side, you have uncertainty, and on the other you have the certitude to obtain the cooperation and loyalty of all the FOSS community (with also a much lower cost for drivers developpement...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmot View Post
    (with also a much lower cost for drivers developpement...)
    Is it really though that much cheaper? If I have to sacrifice 5% performance which would result in potentially millions in dollars of revenue would I take the risk?

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    One other thing, I would have to disagree on the hardest thing being the actual manufacturing. That is actually one of the simplest parts, R&D and marketing are far more difficult as they ultimately decide if a product is successful or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    One other thing, I would have to disagree on the hardest thing being the actual manufacturing. That is actually one of the simplest parts, R&D and marketing are far more difficult as they ultimately decide if a product is successful or not.
    I do agree,
    except that I was refering to the R&D of manufacturing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmot View Post
    I do agree,
    except that I was refering to the R&D of manufacturing.
    Well lets put it this way, I design boats as well as my computing life, manufacturing wise that is simple as it takes typically less then 4 hours to assemble a boat but to gain that extra 5 mph out of the hull it took 18 months of analysis, design and simulations to find that "sweet spot spec" that allowed that performance difference. Assembly wise it made no difference. I guess it all depends on the product being designed. Ask any farmer as well about what they would do about their combine if they had a chance to talk to the engineer.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    Well lets put it this way, I design boats as well as my computing life, manufacturing wise that is simple as it takes typically less then 4 hours to assemble a boat but to gain that extra 5 mph out of the hull it took 18 months of analysis, design and simulations to find that "sweet spot spec" that allowed that performance difference. Assembly wise it made no difference. I guess it all depends on the product being designed. Ask any farmer as well about what they would do about their combine if they had a chance to talk to the engineer.
    well, your exemple assume heavy R&D using actual production tooling. Could be wrong, but I was assuming that hardware was split in R&D between elementary science, new product engineering and manufacturing technology.

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