6by9
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:43 am

NedScott wrote:Plus, most of you seem to be forgetting that these guys are only selling hardware without any software. The user is the one that would be violating the copyright license.
You reckon Arducam will have never tested the firmware on their hardware before they ship it? That would be risky in the extreme, but also means they have violated the licence themselves.

As I've said time and again, who provides and pays for the support? Pi Towers will be basing their settings for RAM timings etc on the values they have programmed into the OTP. Arducam are obviously going to piggybacking on one some of those settings. Pi Towers may find improved settings that work on their hardware and push them into the firmware. If they cause issues on the Arducam hardware, who is going to pick up the issue and fix it? Arducam can't as they don't have firmware source. Broadcom can't for the same reason. Pi Towers would have little interest in doing so. Now Arducam have a batch of dead boards (or forced to stick with old firmware) and grumpy customers.

...

I see Arducam have updated their product detail based on this thread. I'm not grumpy over this, just warning that there may be legal repercussions.
I'd suggest they contact Pi Towers to get information direct from the horse's mouth. There may be an option to take a licence on the Pi firmware and gain support, but that is a commercial decision for the two entities to discuss.
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:48 pm

NedScott wrote:
jamesh wrote:
NedScott wrote: Many incorrect points here. 6x9 has answered all of them I think, but the important thing to remember is the entire GPU software is more than just a 'bootloader' - given is over 2MB compiled IIRC!

Most of the Foundation software is actually closed source, and is actually based on SW licenced from Brcm. A lot of the dev cost goes on that, plus things like Scratch, LXDE, which are of course OSS.

As for your final comment. Yes, it does hurt the Foundation is someone takes their firmware and uses it on their own board. That firmware cost money to produce, money that needs to be recouped from sales of the Pi. If the sale goes to someone else using the firmware, that money does not get recouped. Worst case scenario, RPF starts to make a loss, RFP goes bust, Raspberry's stop being made. EVERYBODY is worse off. That is why it's unfair, people taking the firmware for use on other boards jeopardise the entire ecosystem for their own greed.
I think you've misunderstood what I was commenting on. I'm not talking about the bootloader. Anything that is closed source is not up for grabs by another company, obviously.

I'm talking about your statement that it is unfair for someone to use any code that the RPI foundation worked on, because they didn't spend millions. You seemed to imply that this would be true regardless of the code license.

The fact that there are closed source bits in the Pi is a black mark of sorts. One that the Foundation is trying to fix. It is not a tool to recap investment costs. The RPF's own goals are to migrate to nearly all open source software, one day (if at all possible). At least, as much as possible. They would rather work on open source code, which anyone can use. Even if that "anyone" has never invested any money into the code.

I got the impression that you would still call it "unfair" for people to use RPF software even if there were no closed source blobs, because of what the RPF spent on development. If I am mistaken then I apologize.

In addition to that, I find it absurd to think that the Pi requires any closed blobs for success. The reason the Pi is so wildly successful has far more to do with how the RPF runs, and their goals for the RPi.

I myself work for a company that makes ARM hardware (TV boxes) and is entirely dependent on open source software. They have several devs on staff and have invested heavily into improving open source code that anyone can use, including their competitors. Despite this, they have had incredible success. Quality hardware, a relationship with the community, good support, and other things, all make that possible. They're far from the only company who is able to do this. There is no reason to think that the RPF would be any different.

It is not the firmware black box that keeps the Pi afloat. I think it's very short sighted (for a lack of better words) to think otherwise.


TL;DR- I'm making an argument about principle, base on something I thought you implied, because I'm basically a mental case. Most people would not have read this deeply into your comment. Sorry.
I was talking about the GPU and bootloader parts, the rest, Scratch, LXDE etc are OSS, so obviously that's fine to use, and in fact, I suspect Simon Long is one of the few people contributing to LXDE and really making a difference to the usability, and the Scratch changes can made a huge difference to performance for everyone using Scratch. Both development paths funded by the Foundation, but usable by anyone.

The license on the GPU code is down to Broadcom and their deal with the RPF. The are about 0.5M lines of code in that , not of course all done by the Foundation - some in fact by me - but the Foundation changes are significant since BRCM are no longer updating that codebase. That's the bit that others steal, and as 6x9 says above, there are also implications with the H264 licence that could be very nasty if MPEGLA get shirty.

With regard to a closed source black mark, the Pi has never EVER claimed to be a open source system in HW or SW. People who complain about the GPU being closed really need to get a grip on the real world, and acquire some pragmatism.
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ahrlad
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:29 am

6by9 wrote: Allwinner have created Linux drivers for many of their hardware blocks and therefore they have taken on the support burden of that. I doubt HardKernel or other of the SBC manufacturers using Allwinner chips have had to do any significant development effort beyond board bringup.
Hardkernel doesn't do Allwinner boards.

So. This board targets companies who want the legendary hardware performance of the BCM2835 chip, while preferring a random chinese manufacturer to the RPF for hardware support and long-term availability - and also don't mind pirating a GPU blob?

I can't see any point with this board to be honest, there are so many other chips with some combination of better performance/feature set/price. The Raspberry's advantage over all others is its long-term availability, compatibility between generations and community support.

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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:17 pm

ahrlad wrote: So. This board targets companies who want the legendary hardware performance of the BCM2835 chip, while preferring a random chinese manufacturer to the RPF for hardware support and long-term availability - and also don't mind pirating a GPU blob?
I think that pretty much covers it!

(Not sure about the legendary bit though)
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:03 pm

jamesh wrote: I think that pretty much covers it!

(Not sure about the legendary bit though)
That was the joke :)

The Pi, great piece of hardware though it is, isn't exactly competing for the top position at CPUboss. This board combines all its weak points with none of its advantages.

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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:18 pm

I've seen prices of $80 mentioned for arducam's product....
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:49 pm

ahrlad wrote:
jamesh wrote: I think that pretty much covers it!

(Not sure about the legendary bit though)
That was the joke :)

The Pi, great piece of hardware though it is, isn't exactly competing for the top position at CPUboss. This board combines all its weak points with none of its advantages.
I don't see being low power consumption and having small footprint with headers for easy integration onto another board as weak. Maybe we just come from opposite perspectives. You only consider it as a computer for a human user, which is weak and outdated. I consider it as a component for a custom device, which gives designers opportunities for something they can't lay out 4-8 layer boards themselves or acquire the bcm component by the single/dozen.

For those that are dismissing this board for reasons like, slow, license, chinese, whatever, you should probably look at a few images of this thing. The stamp-sized board with edge contacts sits on a larger board with the microUSB, microSD and camera connectors. Your issues aside, it is a darn easy board to integrate into a custom design 2-layer board. I know I'm talking to the void since most of you don't know circuit board designs, or you've got too much rpi righteousness to hear what I say. In case you're still throwing holy books at them, this very discussion has scared them into an alternative.
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:27 pm

mikerr wrote:I've seen prices of $80 mentioned for arducam's product....
They have amended their web page: http://www.arducam.com/24-24mm-coin-siz ... ible-board

Note it is not a replacement for Raspberry Pi boards, just a supplement for Raspberry Pi ecosystem and Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. (This post made Raspberry Pi engineer and forum moderator very upset and they said that it will would breach the bootloader license. But thanks to Kristina Brooks work on an open source bootloader for Raspberry Pi, released under BSD and GPLv2+, and not including any “Raspberry Pi only” conditions, although it is a “poor” alternate at the time being, and a lot of fans build bare metal firmware. Brian Benchoff said it could also end up being killed and will never see the light of day, just as what happened to ODROID-W board, but they can’t kill the spirit of hacking just for funs and keep us away from building something new. Once again I have to emphasize that it is not a replacement of Raspberry Pi boards, please order pi boards from Pi foundation. Our SOM maybe double or even triple price than standard pi boards, so this SOM is only available for someone who really need it and NDA required.)

The rpi-open-firmware: https://github.com/christinaa/rpi-open-firmware

Does/Will it boot Linux?

Eventually maybe. Since start.elf is responsible for clock and power management (all registers in the cpr block), these drivers will have to be rewritten on ARM (or even on the open source VC4) to have any meaningful peripherals working properly (for example HDMI/DMA/Pixel Valve/Whatever). You can boot a very minimal version of Linux without the firmware and get it to work with UART and some USB devices, but you can expect half of the things to be broken (most importantly, video and DMA).

.
Last edited by fruitoftheloom on Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:59 pm

I'd not looked at dates on Odroid-W before but looking it up it was announced July 2014.
Erm, there was this little announcement from Broadcom in June 2014 where they pulled out of that market and laid off all the support staff (myself included). So when Hardkernel first talked to them I guess they thought they had a way to support the project independent of RPF. When HK returned in July/August to place an order there wasn't that option anymore so declined the order. Guesswork, but the timeline would fit.

Where Arducam were buying their chips from I don't know, but I doubt it was direct from Broadcom as again they would most likely turn down the business due to no support options available.
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:10 am

fruitoftheloom wrote: Note it is not a replacement for Raspberry Pi boards, just a supplement for Raspberry Pi ecosystem and Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. (This post made Raspberry Pi engineer and forum moderator very upset and they said that it will would breach the bootloader license. But thanks to Kristina Brooks work on an open source bootloader for Raspberry Pi, released under BSD and GPLv2+, and not including any “Raspberry Pi only” conditions, although it is a “poor” alternate at the time being, and a lot of fans build bare metal firmware. Brian Benchoff said it could also end up being killed and will never see the light of day, just as what happened to ODROID-W board, but they can’t kill the spirit of hacking just for funs and keep us away from building something new. Once again I have to emphasize that it is not a replacement of Raspberry Pi boards, please order pi boards from Pi foundation. Our SOM maybe double or even triple price than standard pi boards, so this SOM is only available for someone who really need it and DNA required.)

The rpi-open-firmware:
I don't think the mods etc got upset, I think they just have a better understanding of the licensing conditions than the people actually making the board. Which is the wrong way round, but hey ho. Due diligence seems to be rather lacking in many places nowadays.
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:34 am

jamesh wrote:
fruitoftheloom wrote: Note it is not a replacement for Raspberry Pi boards, just a supplement for Raspberry Pi ecosystem and Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. (This post made Raspberry Pi engineer and forum moderator very upset and they said that it will would breach the bootloader license.


I don't think the mods etc got upset, I think they just have a better understanding of the licensing conditions than the people actually making the board. Which is the wrong way round, but hey ho. Due diligence seems to be rather lacking in many places nowadays.

I think that reference was aimed at me, as "engineer and forum moderator" is the tag I get against my profile.
As I I'd said earlier, I'm not upset, just flagging up bumps in the road that they would need to negotiate. Licences are my responsibility to specify.

(I'm going to drop off this thread now as it's the same old complaints over closed source - I'll agree it's not the best, but that is the current position on the Pi platform).
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:08 am

What about buying a pile of Pi Zeros, desoldering the SoC and placing it on a new board? It would explain where they get their SoC supply from and may also mean that they are basically covering licensing fees through that.

That would basically mean its a modified Raspberry Pi and also would explain the higher costs associated with it (3-4 times more apparently), making the smaller board more of a value add.

Didn't farnell offer customization at one point for large orders?

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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:42 am

bstrobl wrote:What about buying a pile of Pi Zeros, desoldering the SoC and placing it on a new board? It would explain where they get their SoC supply from and may also mean that they are basically covering licensing fees through that.

That would basically mean its a modified Raspberry Pi and also would explain the higher costs associated with it (3-4 times more apparently), making the smaller board more of a value add.

Didn't farnell offer customization at one point for large orders?
It would be interesting to see someone de-solder the SoC :shock:

Farnell's service is to modify a standard board and in quantities of 3,000+ ;)
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:08 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote: It would be interesting to see someone de-solder the SoC :shock:
It is not all that difficult but a soldering iron does not come in handy.

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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:47 pm

drgeoff wrote:
fruitoftheloom wrote: It would be interesting to see someone de-solder the SoC :shock:
It is not all that difficult but a soldering iron does not come in handy.
Have in mind you are de-soldering in the hope to not damage it and resolder it to another board (after cleaning and reballing). It is fairly doable only to those trained with the tools. Think about xbox repairs individuals.
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Re: ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC

Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:08 pm

liudr wrote:
drgeoff wrote:
fruitoftheloom wrote: It would be interesting to see someone de-solder the SoC :shock:
It is not all that difficult but a soldering iron does not come in handy.
Have in mind you are de-soldering in the hope to not damage it and resolder it to another board (after cleaning and reballing). It is fairly doable only to those trained with the tools. Think about xbox repairs individuals.
Yes. Probably less difficult than an X-Box BGA rework because:
1. The BCM2835 is smaller and has fewer pads.
2. In the X-Box case the chip and board are to be used again. That wouldn't be the case with removing BCM2835s to use elsewhere.

Though I have neither the tools nor the training there have been many times I wished I did. Not for an X-Boxs but other gear. IMHO BGA packaging ranks behind only naked dies on the PCB then covered with a black splodge as being really bad ideas for reliability and longevity.

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