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rurwin
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:23 am

There are open CPU designs out there, but the main complaints against the RaspPi have been that it is slow, suffered distribution problems and uses an obscure Linux port. You would get all those ten times worse with an open CPU design, and no Video Core as compensation.

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:39 am

rurwin wrote:There are open CPU designs out there, but the main complaints against the RaspPi have been that it is slow, suffered distribution problems and uses an obscure Linux port. You would get all those ten times worse with an open CPU design, and no Video Core as compensation.
Well, I don't think we can complain about delivery now! And as for an obscure port, with 1.7M out there, it's not that obscure any more!!! Time is a great healer!
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:44 am

Richard Stallman favours the Lemote Yeelong netbook because it uses only free software (even the BIOS):

http://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html

http://www.lemote.com/en/products/Noteb ... 0/112.html

I don't know much about it, but thought it was worth a mention.

- Daniel Barker

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:20 pm

DanielBarker wrote:Richard Stallman favours the Lemote Yeelong netbook because it uses only free software (even the BIOS):

http://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html

http://www.lemote.com/en/products/Noteb ... 0/112.html

I don't know much about it, but thought it was worth a mention.

- Daniel Barker
Indeed that is the case. And I entirely agree that the choice is his. Just not the choice I personally would have made, but good for him for sticking to his principles.
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:54 pm

At least its easy to buy the Arduino AVRs in one off quantities without signing away your life and its abilities (albeit very low in comparison to a computer like the Pi) are not limited by its lack of documentation. The Arduino (at least the classic 8 bit chips) isn't held back by its closed documentation. (True, its the Pis GPU that is the problem and the Arduino doesn't have one - or any form of video output come to that ). The Arduino may not be open, but its a couple of orders of magnitude more open than the Pi.

Could I have one Broadcom BCM2835 please ? A new one, not a pull ?
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:07 pm

I wouldn't call Debian an obscure Linux port either. I don't have to worry about all the stuff on my Pis working differently than on my Ubuntu main PC. ( admittedly I avoid a GUI on the Pi ). Raspdian is just Debian, built with the, **cough**, limitations of the Pi in mind.

Might be a bit negative for my ol' mate James, but I don't hate the Pi, honest. :)
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:28 pm

pluggy wrote: Could I have one Broadcom BCM2835 please ? A new one, not a pull ?
Actually....patience is a virtue.
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:33 pm

You heard it here first folks.....
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:40 pm

Oh that's such a tease :lol:

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:57 pm

We've also noticed this thing about patience - in a 'Pi context'!

http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2105-14-243
(pp. 3-4 of the PDF.)

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:07 pm

pluggy,
Could I have one Broadcom BCM2835 please ?
I'm curious. If you had one what would you do with it?

For normal people welding the BCM2835 to a PCB is pretty much impossible. Stacking it up with the RAM chip makes it double impossible. This is not even doable by many manufacturers.

It's a bit like asking Intel if you could just by one of the die from a Quadcore whatever desktop processor. Very impractical.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:10 pm

Its rhetorical, I don't really want one. :)

Prompted an interesting reply though.
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:27 pm

DanielBarker wrote:We've also noticed this thing about patience - in a 'Pi context'!

http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2105-14-243
(pp. 3-4 of the PDF.)

- Daniel Barker
Interesting paper - I missed it first time round so thanks for mentioning it.

An hour or so to run through the protein databases isn't that bad, considering the size I would guess it is! (I'm an engineer, only an amateur biologist, but have seen the phylogenetic "trees" in papers etc.)

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:27 pm

Ravenous wrote:And after years of making it all work, someone will come along and demand you publish every detail of each of those mechanisms, to make it "open", so making it pretty difficult to earn a living from it in the future.
Sure, publishing the whole chip design would allow production of clones. However I fail to see how spec publication of the VC4 registers and microcode instruction set would facilitate this. Having this information will not magically translate into a chip design.

I still maintain the VC4 register and microcode spec should be made public. The people working on the Pi firmware do a great job, but things are moving slowly. We have no OpenCL, no frame-sequential 3D video, many missing HDMI features, not too mention many video codecs that could benefit from hardware acceleration. With the specs published the whole community can have a go at putting the VC4 to use, not just the privileged few who have access to the specifications.

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:54 pm

Jeilong wrote:
Ravenous wrote:And after years of making it all work, someone will come along and demand you publish every detail of each of those mechanisms, to make it "open", so making it pretty difficult to earn a living from it in the future.
Sure, publishing the whole chip design would allow production of clones. However I fail to see how spec publication of the VC4 registers and microcode instruction set would facilitate this. Having this information will not magically translate into a chip design.

I still maintain the VC4 register and microcode spec should be made public. The people working on the Pi firmware do a great job, but things are moving slowly. We have no OpenCL, no frame-sequential 3D video, many missing HDMI features, not too mention many video codecs that could benefit from hardware acceleration. With the specs published the whole community can have a go at putting the VC4 to use, not just the privileged few who have access to the specifications.
You can maintain that as much as you like. but it really very unlikely to happen. Sorry.

Of course, a lot of what you ask for would not really be helped by access to the GPU - more codecs? Not really. The HW is aimed squarely at H264 and others formats cannot make use of it. VP8, when accelerated on the GPU vector core wasn't fast enough for HD.

OpenCL - good luck with that. Even the people who know the GPU well think that may well be impossible, or at least not worth doing.

What missing HDMI features? And what make you think having access to the GPU will help there (not that I am aware of a problem there anyway)?

What is frame sequential 3D video?
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:38 pm

pluggy wrote:I wouldn't call Debian an obscure Linux port either.
Debian is a distribution, not a port. A port is a build for a new architecture, such as Armhf. In this case it would be for this new open processor.

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:58 am

Ravenous wrote:An hour or so to run through the protein databases isn't that bad, considering the size I would guess it is! (I'm an engineer, only an amateur biologist, but have seen the phylogenetic "trees" in papers etc.)
In the 4273pi paper in BMC Bioinformatics, 'about an hour' was based on aspects of phylogenetic analysis on the Raspberry Pi, for just a handful of sequences (e.g. 5 or 6). As you'll know, phylogeny work is CPU-hungry. It is certainly feasible for small case-studies on the Pi.

Searching the full protein sequence database ('nr'), with rapid software (BLAST2), is so slow on the Raspberry Pi that I've never managed to let it finish. It might take a few hours. Due to space constraints on a 32 GB SD card - if there's also a large swapfile and various software and other data - 4273pi in fact no longer comes with 'nr'. It was distributed in earlier versions of 4273pi, but the latest 'nr' is always getting bigger, so it was recently sacrificed. 4273pi does still come with the high quality subset of the protein sequence database, Swissprot.

Although I liked having 'nr' on the SD card - just to demonstrate it's possible (one does not require a cloud and so on) - losing it from 4273pi doesn't matter much. In my experience, a search of 'nr' on ones own hardware is not often done.

Either I want to search a specific subset of the protein database, which I do download and search, and maybe postprocess automatically; or I want to search the entire protein database, and search the very latest version of 'nr' remotely via the NCBI's BLAST Web site, and look carefully at the results by eye. 4273pi Bioinformatics for Biologists does include these ways of searching protein databases, all of which work fine on the Pi.

Anyway: thank you for your interest. Any problems with 4273pi, please let me know.

Daniel Barker

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:51 am

I know that I am late in joining this discussion, but the copyright notice at the end of the schematics for the Raspberry Pi makes for interesting reading and is reproduced below:

Design (c), 2011, 2012 Raspberry Pi Foundation
All Rights Reserved

Portions of this work copyright 1979-2012 Norcott Technologies Limited. Provided to the Raspberry Pi Foundation under a perpetual royalty free use and modify licence.


This would seem to make it even harder to duplicate the Pi or even portions of it. It would appear that even the basic design of the Pi is impossible to copy at present.

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:26 pm

MarkDaniels wrote:I know that I am late in joining this discussion, but the copyright notice at the end of the schematics for the Raspberry Pi makes for interesting reading and is reproduced below:

Design (c), 2011, 2012 Raspberry Pi Foundation
All Rights Reserved

Portions of this work copyright 1979-2012 Norcott Technologies Limited. Provided to the Raspberry Pi Foundation under a perpetual royalty free use and modify licence.


This would seem to make it even harder to duplicate the Pi or even portions of it. It would appear that even the basic design of the Pi is impossible to copy at present.
This is intentional.

The vast majority of income for the Foundation is from licencing fees that are charged per Pi sold. For this reason, the design must be retained as a copyrighted, exclusive one. Manufacturing partners can use the design to produce a Raspberry Pi, but must negotiate a contract and pay the Foundation for doing so.

This approach has worked spectacularly well so far.
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:43 pm

MarkDaniels wrote:I know that I am late in joining this discussion, but the copyright notice at the end of the schematics for the Raspberry Pi makes for interesting reading and is reproduced below:

Design (c), 2011, 2012 Raspberry Pi Foundation
All Rights Reserved

Portions of this work copyright 1979-2012 Norcott Technologies Limited. Provided to the Raspberry Pi Foundation under a perpetual royalty free use and modify licence.


This would seem to make it even harder to duplicate the Pi or even portions of it. It would appear that even the basic design of the Pi is impossible to copy at present.
I wonder if you think the inability to copy it is a bad thing? The Foundation needs income (and a lot of that income is pushed back in to dev work, and paying third parties for OS software, as well as the educational stuff), and the only real source they have is the royalties on the board. If the design were completely free, anyone could make one, and the income source dries up, and I can guarantee any copy product makers won't be so charitable. They will be in it for the money.

Of course, you are completely free to design your own board using the same SoC. Just not to copy the Raspi one.
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:24 pm

Presumably (I am guessing a lot here) Norcott gave at least some assistance in the board design or layout work, and said the RP foundation can use that work for free in line with its charitable aims; but not others.

I believe nothing in that stops others from designing their own board, possibly with different features/connectors, while talking to the suppliers of all the components concerned, including the main SoC.

But all of this is for the intellectual interest only; many people in the past have dicussed going into production but nobody has progressed far down that route, at least in public. (And if not in public it's none of our business.)

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:31 pm

jamesh wrote: Of course, you are completely free to design your own board using the same SoC. Just not to copy the Raspi one.
I was under the impression that broadcom wouldn't even talk to you unless you were either an insider or had a solid plan for large scale production.

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:28 pm

jamesh wrote:
MarkDaniels wrote:I know that I am late in joining this discussion, but the copyright notice at the end of the schematics for the Raspberry Pi makes for interesting reading and is reproduced below:

Design (c), 2011, 2012 Raspberry Pi Foundation
All Rights Reserved

Portions of this work copyright 1979-2012 Norcott Technologies Limited. Provided to the Raspberry Pi Foundation under a perpetual royalty free use and modify licence.


This would seem to make it even harder to duplicate the Pi or even portions of it. It would appear that even the basic design of the Pi is impossible to copy at present.
I wonder if you think the inability to copy it is a bad thing? The Foundation needs income (and a lot of that income is pushed back in to dev work, and paying third parties for OS software, as well as the educational stuff), and the only real source they have is the royalties on the board. If the design were completely free, anyone could make one, and the income source dries up, and I can guarantee any copy product makers won't be so charitable. They will be in it for the money.

Of course, you are completely free to design your own board using the same SoC. Just not to copy the Raspi one.
James, I am not expressing an opinion, I just interjected a plain fact, here: one that I felt was extremely relevant and most important to the discussion. However (and correct me if I am wrong), I was under the impression that the Foundation intended to (eventually) release the full designs in order to move closer to being truly open source.

I appreciate your input and agree totally with your views on this point.

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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:38 pm

plugwash wrote:
jamesh wrote: Of course, you are completely free to design your own board using the same SoC. Just not to copy the Raspi one.
I was under the impression that broadcom wouldn't even talk to you unless you were either an insider or had a solid plan for large scale production.
Probably true about the large scale production. Insider? I doubt anyone but Eben could have pulled this one off! He can be very persuasive.
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Re: Raspberrypi is open hardware??

Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:40 pm

plugwash wrote:
jamesh wrote: Of course, you are completely free to design your own board using the same SoC. Just not to copy the Raspi one.
I was under the impression that broadcom wouldn't even talk to you unless you were either an insider or had a solid plan for large scale production.
That is what has been stated previously.
From Liz, in this comment on her 13 Sept 2011 blog post: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/169#comment-2434
We were able to get our foot in the door to discuss buying chips in much smaller numbers than they usually sell (you’re right about millions of chips) because Eben works there and was able to get access to the right people, who were right on side once we had explained the goals of the charity.

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