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Thread: S3TC Is Still Problematic For Mesa Developers, Users

  1. #1
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    Default S3TC Is Still Problematic For Mesa Developers, Users

    Phoronix: S3TC Is Still Problematic For Mesa Developers, Users

    While there's now ETC2 texture compression and ASTC texture compression that were announced last year, S3 Texture Compression (S3TC) continues to be widely used by OpenGL games and application. This patent-encumbered means of graphics texture compression continues to cause massive headaches for open-source developers and end-users and will be the case for years to come...

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

  2. #2

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    At this point is S3TC licensing the only thing keeping VIA/S3 alive anymore?

    Sucks since it would be nice if they where still capable of being solid competition for Intel, AMD and Nvidia.

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    Ok, so my understanding is that AMD and nVidia can use S3 Texture Compression in their proprietary drivers because they've licensed the patents in question from S3, but Free Software implementations cannot, because those patents are not part of the Open Innovation Network. Would it be possible in theory for AMD, Intel, or nVidia to distribute the S3TC Mesa library as a binary under the brand of their respective drivers? That is to say, if AMD already ships support for S3TC in Catalyst, could they theoretically make a standalone "Catalyst" S3TC driver to work with the Free Software radeon drivers to implement this feature?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kivada View Post
    At this point is S3TC licensing the only thing keeping VIA/S3 alive anymore?

    Sucks since it would be nice if they where still capable of being solid competition for Intel, AMD and Nvidia.
    VIA is still making processors

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    Quote Originally Posted by ethana2 View Post
    Ok, so my understanding is that AMD and nVidia can use S3 Texture Compression in their proprietary drivers because they've licensed the patents in question from S3, but Free Software implementations cannot, because those patents are not part of the Open Innovation Network. Would it be possible in theory for AMD, Intel, or nVidia to distribute the S3TC Mesa library as a binary under the brand of their respective drivers? That is to say, if AMD already ships support for S3TC in Catalyst, could they theoretically make a standalone "Catalyst" S3TC driver to work with the Free Software radeon drivers to implement this feature?
    it could have been argued, that since the only way for S3TC to be useful, it needs to be supported in hardware, and all the hardware out there supports it, so you've already paid the licensing fee...

    But to actually argue that, you'll need few lawyers and few million dollars in change.

    The real world solution is to paraphrase Linus: "Fuck You VIA" and "Fuck You US legal system"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kivada View Post
    At this point is S3TC licensing the only thing keeping VIA/S3 alive anymore?

    Sucks since it would be nice if they where still capable of being solid competition for Intel, AMD and Nvidia.
    Last time I read about it HTC had bought S3 for its patents as defence in the On going smartphone patent wars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoronix article
    Until S3 grants it's IP to OIN or the patents expire, this is going to be the situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by tarceri View Post
    Last time I read about it HTC had bought S3 for its patents as defence in the On going smartphone patent wars.
    Furthermore, HTC IS an OIN Licensee.

    HTC Corporation is listed at number 202 here: http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/licensees.php

    For an OIN licensee, the OIN License Agreement says this: "OIN licensee grants license to other current and future licensees all licensee patents and applications for the Linux System"

    Ergo, surely all other current and future OIN licensees can legally use HTC's S3 patents in a Linux System.
    Last edited by hal2k1; 08-14-2013 at 04:00 AM.

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    I get the feeling that if s3tc support was just integrated into mesa and shipped with distros HTC/S3 wouldn't care, but we would(the foss community).

    Have we seen any indication otherwise ?
    Are they willing to change the license or forfeit it ? Is anyone petitioning them directly for this ?

    Why no public statements or emails/QA from the horse's mouth ?

    Here's another idea:
    find out how much they'd sell the patent for, then make a kickstarter project with the intent on purchasing it and open sourcing it.
    Last edited by Soul_keeper; 08-14-2013 at 04:12 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soul_keeper View Post
    find out how much they'd sell the patent for, then make a kickstarter project with the intent on purchasing it and open sourcing it.

    So you'd have to buy both the game and the technologies behind the game ? Why not also ask people to get a commercial license of the UDK, UniGine, and other game engine for every game they buy that uses those techs ?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soul_keeper View Post
    I get the feeling that if s3tc support was just integrated into mesa and shipped with distros HTC/S3 wouldn't care, but we would(the foss community).

    Have we seen any indication otherwise ?
    Are they willing to change the license or forfeit it ? Is anyone petitioning them directly for this ?

    Why no public statements or emails/QA from the horse's mouth ?

    Here's another idea:
    find out how much they'd sell the patent for, then make a kickstarter project with the intent on purchasing it and open sourcing it.
    as far as i know ubuntu ships with s2tc, and arch has s3tc by default. If i was them, i wouldnt make a statement saying yes if that could mean that my other patents could be questioned because of it. so maybe its just safer to stay with uncertainty, knowing that the opponent would have to go all-in to call.

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