OT: A call to arms (sort of)

From: Chuck McManis <cmcmanis_at_mcmanis.com>
Date: Sat Jul 3 13:44:11 1999

At 11:28 AM 7/3/99 -0400, Allison J Parent wrote:
>Error. Highend meaning it's not a simple or low complexity system. SPARC
>may be RISC but that has little to do with system implmentation only the
>instruction set and internal processor design. It's still 32bit, comples
>set of control signals, high speed and nontrivial design.

Sorry, I misspoke.

The problem is as follows, the "free" OS movement is dying. Its not very
apparent yet but as time passes it will become more so. The reason it is
dying is because a syndicate is coalescing out of hardware vendors for the
current high volume platform, the "wintel" platform. It has started with
the 3D hardware. I happen to love 3D graphics and enjoy hacking on my
little 3D engine, but I have to do that on Windows 95 (or NT) because the
vendors of 3D boards don't release enough information for "free software"
types to write drivers for their boards, and then they sue people who
reverse engineer their boards. The freezes 3D hardware out of the "free
OS" market. Intel has features in its latest 810 chipsets that require
bi-directional NDAs to even know about, and if disclosure of the
information covered by those NDAs is traced back to you then you are liable
for huge civil penalties. Further, more forward thinking makers of
"chipset" technology are being aggressively litigated by the Intel.

You can't write software for an undocumented computer, and you can't get
documentation unless you agree to not write free software, free software's
days are limited.

Now in the past, for example with the VAX architecture, one could always
just pull out the board and buzz out the connetions, but not so in a VLSI

If this trend is not reversed then the free OS movement will die and I will
be saddened by it. Its not the end of the world, but an area we might be
able to address at the moment.

Received on Sat Jul 03 1999 - 13:44:11 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:32:10 BST