ATI to provide specs (was: Re: SMedia 3362)

Harald Welte laforge at
Mon Sep 10 09:20:54 CEST 2007

On Fri, Sep 07, 2007 at 10:23:26AM -0700, Shawn Rutledge wrote:
> On 9/6/07, Steve <openmokolists at> wrote:
> > It may be worth talking with ATI again.  Since this announcement, I
> > don't think it is too far fetched to at least get the same deal you
> > currently have with SMedia.  I wouldn't be surprised if the people you
> > were talking to had no idea this sort of thing was being planned.  ATI
> > may even allow the release documentation at some point in the future.
> Or just use it for leverage to get more from SMedia.

guys, as I indicated before, we already have the best possible support
from Smedia.  Not only have we some promises or statements, but we
actually have signed a contract with them, binding them to support us
to the utmost level.

As indicated previously, this agreement includes a statement that
OpenMoko will work on to-be-publicized documentation on the SMedia chip,
which will be jointly released at some point.

So what exactly is not enough?  You will get 100% free software drivers,
down to the latest bit, no proprietary firmware whatsoever, plus
hardware documentation that will be prepared by OpenMoko ?

Which part exactly are you missing?  That there are no docs now?  Well,
there is no GTA02 hardware being shipped now either!  And if the
community rather wants us to finish the documentation first, and then
write the driver: Please let us know.  Do you really prefer to get a
device that does not have any working driver at all, but with a
thousand-page manual (rather than the other way around: first have FOSS
Drivers, and then get the docs as soon as our incredibly small team
finds time to do so)?

Wrt: ATI/AMD Imageon:

ATI's mobile processor diivsion is completely independent from their
desktop graphics.  It has totally different architecture, and the recent
announcement by their desktop group doesn't have any maning about the
mobile group.

Also, ATI's mobile graphics are entirely focused on 2d and codec, plus
they are 100% firmware based.   So that means no 3D acceleration, and
even if somebody ever was to write FOSS drivers, lots of code is hidden
in the GPU firmware, rather than in those FOSS drivers.

What I personally don't understand about this entire debate on our
community list:  You have very prominent people of the FOSS movement,
particularly the Linux community in this project.  Notably Werner and
myself.  Given my track history of clinging to every last word of the
GPL, and my stance with regard to binary-only drivers or other
abominations of the hardware industry:  Why don't you trust us to do
proper research and chose the vendor that works best for us, given all
the circumstances?

Do you think we would be foolish enough not to talk to all vendors of
the respective components?  I really feel personally very sad that
anyone believes that I am in this project for anything else then to
provide the highest level of freedom for both hardware and software that
is possible.

In GTA01, the only freedom related issue that we have is the Global
Locate (now Broadcom).  Given the start of OpenMoko (alternative
software for a Windows smartphone that FIC was building) we didn't have
any influence on that one.   We have been trying hard to achieve a
compromise with GL on the level of freedom that they're willing to
provide.  Unfortunately that compromise falls short of what many people
in the FOSS community, including myself, deem acceptable.

For GTA02, we evaluated all different A-GPS solutions on the market, and
we took two of those actually in production.  The graphics chip we ship
will have FOSS drivers.  We're working with NXP on publishing an open
user manual for the PCF50633 PMU, and we already have their approval for
it.  We're staying with the publicly documented samsung s3c24xx CPU
series.  We use accelerometers with publicly available data sheets.
We use a bluetooth chip with open data sheet. We use a WiFi module with
GPL licensed free software driver.

There is no other hardware vendor of devices with similar high level of
integration that has taken openness to the degree that we are taking it.

Starting with GTA02, we have a very firm openness policy for all our
hardware components.  Our future designs will follow the same line - and
we're trying to continuously to push the borders any further.  We make
our position at chip manufacturers very clear.  And we're having very
fruitful discussions and results that I am proud of.

- Harald Welte <laforge at>         
Software for the world's first truly open Free Software mobile phone

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