ArduCAM with Broadcom BCM2835 SoC


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by fruitoftheloom » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:38 am
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by RaTTuS » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:50 am
umm I wonder how much
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by 6by9 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:08 am
I expect a fair few road bumps in the way. First one being licencing.
https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware ... roadcom#L9
* This software may only be used for the purposes of developing for,
running or using a Raspberry Pi device.

It's not a Raspberry Pi device (only compatible) so they will be in breach of that licence. Lawyers be happy.

If RPF/RPT don't come down on them hard then there is a potentially bigger codec licencing issue as that is done based on the serial number. If RPT aren't in charge of that, then how do you avoid s/n collisions, or even setting them all the same and distributing one key for all devices thereby defeating the whole system and make MPEG-LA very happy in a lawsuit.

Interesting they claim dual camera interface when there's only one connector. Or perhaps they've routed the pair out on their little processor board, but only exposed one on the UC-343 I/O board.

(Looking around the Arducam website I'm bemused by http://www.arducam.com/8mp-sony-imx219- ... pberry-pi/ - not sure how they've managed that one either)
Last edited by 6by9 on Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by liudr » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:04 pm
That licensing hurts! Makes me want to sell my raspberry pi 3.

The small stamp-sized board is cool. Too bad it has not brought out USB to headers.
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by MH6 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:16 pm
I'm hoping I can grab a dozen before anything happens. I would love something like this to stick on my own boards and not have to deal with the SODIMM connector and the Pi CM.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Pi CM, and I'm really hoping the CM3 will actually come out soon, but this form factor is nice to just stick on a board and be done with it, similar to how I currently use ESP8266 modules as the "brain" on some of my boards. We'd still use the CM at work, but this would be great for projects at home.

Maybe the RPI foundation will make one some day. :D
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by fruitoftheloom » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:24 pm
..crystal ball - but I see another Oodroid-W scenario
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by jamesh » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:46 pm
liudr wrote:That licensing hurts! Makes me want to sell my raspberry pi 3.


RPF have spent upwards of £1M developing that software, probably much more. Seems unfair for someone to simply take it and use it on their own board without spending a single penny.
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by jamesh » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:50 pm
6by9 wrote:(Looking around the Arducam website I'm not bemused by http://www.arducam.com/8mp-sony-imx219- ... pberry-pi/ - not sure how they've managed that one either)


Quite - have they cracked the encryption thingy?
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by 6by9 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:13 pm
jamesh wrote:
liudr wrote:That licensing hurts! Makes me want to sell my raspberry pi 3.


RPF have spent upwards of £1M developing that software, probably much more. Seems unfair for someone to simply take it and use it on their own board without spending a single penny.

One could argue that Broadcom could or should have done it, but they didn't and aren't going to now.
If you want support, expect to pay for it, and for the company that did the work will be wanting to get some return on that investment.

fruitoftheloom wrote:..crystal ball - but I see another Oodroid-W scenario

That makes 2 of us.
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by liudr » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:24 pm
Which part of the software costs 1 million? Since there are a number of SBC makers, all using different processors than bcm, I am having a hard time attaching 1 million worth of software to their work. They all seem very smallish in their business size.
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by jamesh » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:27 am
liudr wrote:Which part of the software costs 1 million? Since there are a number of SBC makers, all using different processors than bcm, I am having a hard time attaching 1 million worth of software to their work. They all seem very smallish in their business size.


RPF employes I think 10 software engineers now, who work on various parts of the software base, from the Kernel to the desktop to the software on the VC4. In Cambridge, a decent SW engineer is well in excess of £50k per year. They have been working on it for 5 years. That's quite a bit of cash.

Nothing to do with other SBC makers.
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by NedScott » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:53 am
jamesh wrote:
liudr wrote:That licensing hurts! Makes me want to sell my raspberry pi 3.


RPF have spent upwards of £1M developing that software, probably much more. Seems unfair for someone to simply take it and use it on their own board without spending a single penny.


I don't really have an opinion on ArduCAM at the moment, but I feel the need to reply to this.

They spent all that just on the bootloader? I don't think so. Besides, most of the software the Foundation has spent time and money on is open source. Do people honestly not understand what that means? The whole point of open source is to allow people to simply take it and use it (so long as they follow the open source license for that code, etc).

What even makes it "unfair"? What context is that in? Just being able to use the same software that RPF has worked on doesn't hurt the RPF and/or its mission. I could understand the viewpoint that a competing product with similar hardware *might* hurt them, but not simply just using the same software that RPF contributed to. That's absurd.
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by piglet » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:01 am
Seems totally fair to me. Not everything is free or freely licenced, nor should it be. The cost of development may be interesting but isn't really germane.

If the end result is that Arducam or users of Arducam end up having to pay a licence fee to RPF then that can be used to further the aims of the Foundation. What's the problem with that?
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by RaTTuS » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:31 am
NedScott wrote:...
They spent all that just on the bootloader? I don't think so. Besides, most of the software the Foundation has spent time and money on is open source. Do people honestly not understand what that means? The whole point of open source is to allow people to simply take it and use it (so long as they follow the open source license for that code, etc).
...That's absurd.

no they spent that on a lot of things bootloader included
also
open source software does not mean that it is free [gratis] but that it is free [libre] however this is a gross over simplification
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by RaTTuS » Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:02 am
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by 6by9 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:54 am
The firmware is more than just the bootloader as it also provides the access to the bits of the SoC that Broadcom have chosen not to publish the docs for - things like the codec blocks, ISP, HVS, pixel valves, etc. Parts of that are being opened up via Eric Anholt's works but only in so far as his driver uses the blocks, but the documentation is not being released AFAIK.

The majority of the firmware code is also copyright Broadcom, so RPF can't ride roughshod over the licence they have with Broadcom. That licence is likely to be worded that it is for use in RP products, so in allowing ArduCAM or Hardkernel to use their firmware they would be in breach of their own licence to Broadcom.
Likewise Broadcom couldn't release the RPF modified firmware source to ArduCAM as (a) they don't have it, and (b) they don't hold the copyright to the RPF modifications (of which there are now lots).


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.
Broadcom chose not to create Linux drivers as that was not their main market. RPF took the risk 5 years ago with the chips that they could get hold of, and have stuck with Broadcom since due to their investment and expertise. They could jump ship to Allwinner or other chip manufacturer, but that would be throwing away all that effort, all of the optimisations, and instead potentially picking up support of binary blobs in other kernels.

You're all free to choose to buy an alternative SBC with a less restrictive licence, but you then need to accept the level of support provided by that manufacturer and community.

RaTTuS wrote:http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/07/19/raspberry-pi-bootloader-license-preludes-it-to-run-on-competing-broadcom-bcm283x-boards/

Ooh, I get quoted as a source!

piglet wrote:If the end result is that Arducam or users of Arducam end up having to pay a licence fee to RPF then that can be used to further the aims of the Foundation. What's the problem with that?

If they've spoken with RPF/RPT and agreed a licence then that would be all above board. I don't work for RPF or RPT so it is none of my business to comment on any potential commercial agreements. It may happen, but then who is providing the support for any board level issues? It's bad enough with 3rd party clones of the camera modules out there (particularly where one company have called their OV5647 module a V2 camera).
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by fruitoftheloom » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:19 pm
It would be of interest to know how they are buying the BCM2835, as as far as I can find out no other OEM still uses this SoC

Also how can they be manufactured, the Fab Plant who manufacture the RPi SoC's are at full capacity, if the lack of products is an indication.

My suspicion is that a Chinese Manufacturer has somehow got hold of the over-capacity of SoC's produced for other OEM's (Roku ?)

The few titbits regards Oodroid-W have stated that Broadcom gave them a licence to "purchase" 5K, not actually manufacture, so maybe that was an over-capacity sale, the Amazon Fire TV Stick used a BCM 28145 SoC so maybe they initially were going to use the same as Roku but changed their plans ?
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by jamesh » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:01 pm
fruitoftheloom wrote:It would be of interest to know how they are buying the BCM2835, as as far as I can find out no other OEM still uses this SoC

Also how can they be manufactured, the Fab Plant who manufacture the RPi SoC's are at full capacity, if the lack of products is an indication.

My suspicion is that a Chinese Manufacturer has somehow got hold of the over-capacity of SoC's produced for other OEM's (Roku ?)

The few titbits regards Oodroid-W have stated that Broadcom gave them a licence to "purchase" 5K, not actually manufacture, so maybe that was an over-capacity sale, the Amazon Fire TV Stick used a BCM 28145 SoC so maybe they initially were going to use the same as Roku but changed their plans ?


I don't think your suspicion is correct. I suspect the RPF are hoovering up all 2835's for the Zero. Roku/Amazon I don't think have used the 2835 for some time.
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by jamesh » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:09 pm
NedScott wrote:
jamesh wrote:
liudr wrote:That licensing hurts! Makes me want to sell my raspberry pi 3.


RPF have spent upwards of £1M developing that software, probably much more. Seems unfair for someone to simply take it and use it on their own board without spending a single penny.


I don't really have an opinion on ArduCAM at the moment, but I feel the need to reply to this.

They spent all that just on the bootloader? I don't think so. Besides, most of the software the Foundation has spent time and money on is open source. Do people honestly not understand what that means? The whole point of open source is to allow people to simply take it and use it (so long as they follow the open source license for that code, etc).

What even makes it "unfair"? What context is that in? Just being able to use the same software that RPF has worked on doesn't hurt the RPF and/or its mission. I could understand the viewpoint that a competing product with similar hardware *might* hurt them, but not simply just using the same software that RPF contributed to. That's absurd.


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.
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by liudr » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:31 pm
I think everyone is a bit uptight over laws and licenses etc. Let's read some old news instead!

Since RPT holds all the cards, why not letting arduCAM play out and reel it in only when necessary. Let someone else shoulder the financial risk of putting out a product that YOU are interested in doing but don't want to spend (waste) the money! Save the lawyer's fees if it dies. Only claim it's your AFTER it is actually making money :twisted:
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by NedScott » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:16 am
jamesh wrote:
NedScott wrote:
jamesh wrote:
RPF have spent upwards of £1M developing that software, probably much more. Seems unfair for someone to simply take it and use it on their own board without spending a single penny.


I don't really have an opinion on ArduCAM at the moment, but I feel the need to reply to this.

They spent all that just on the bootloader? I don't think so. Besides, most of the software the Foundation has spent time and money on is open source. Do people honestly not understand what that means? The whole point of open source is to allow people to simply take it and use it (so long as they follow the open source license for that code, etc).

What even makes it "unfair"? What context is that in? Just being able to use the same software that RPF has worked on doesn't hurt the RPF and/or its mission. I could understand the viewpoint that a competing product with similar hardware *might* hurt them, but not simply just using the same software that RPF contributed to. That's absurd.


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.
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by liudr » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:08 am
I frankly think that linux/computer geeks worldwide made rpi boards success, not the foundation's goal to teach kids programming.
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by rpdom » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:17 am
liudr wrote:I frankly think that linux/computer geeks worldwide made rpi boards success, not the foundation's goal to teach kids programming.

Not just kids.

Have you learned anything from using the Pi? I know I have (as a long-time Linux geek), and so have the kids that I teach and some of the people I work with.

I think the Foundation has achieved its aim and then some. :-)
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by RaTTuS » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:33 am
liudr wrote:...
Since RPT holds all the cards, why not letting arduCAM play out and reel it in only when necessary. Let someone else shoulder the financial risk of putting out a product that YOU are interested in doing but don't want to spend (waste) the money! Save the lawyer's fees if it dies. Only claim it's your AFTER it is actually making money :twisted:

you cannot - you have to protect your TM / IP etc if you do not then they lawyers can and will throw any case out as you have shown that you do not care about he IP rights from the off...
that would mean no Pi0 and Pi2 and Pi3 would become less of a money spinner because man knock off's would appear [using the same chips] leading to no foundation and no Pi4
this community would fracture
and Liz and Eben would need to get new jobs
the end of civilization
etc.
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by NedScott » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:14 am
RaTTuS wrote:
liudr wrote:...
Since RPT holds all the cards, why not letting arduCAM play out and reel it in only when necessary. Let someone else shoulder the financial risk of putting out a product that YOU are interested in doing but don't want to spend (waste) the money! Save the lawyer's fees if it dies. Only claim it's your AFTER it is actually making money :twisted:

you cannot - you have to protect your TM / IP etc if you do not then they lawyers can and will throw any case out as you have shown that you do not care about he IP rights from the off...
that would mean no Pi0 and Pi2 and Pi3 would become less of a money spinner because man knock off's would appear [using the same chips] leading to no foundation and no Pi4
this community would fracture
and Liz and Eben would need to get new jobs
the end of civilization
etc.


You are confusing trademark and copyright, which are different. Trademarks can be lost from non-enforcement. Copyright does not have that requirement.

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.
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