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

Kyle Bassett kylebassett at
Mon Sep 10 14:44:46 CEST 2007

On 9/10/07, Harald Welte <laforge at> wrote:
> 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.

This is excellent!

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.

First, I believe we need a working implementation, then a (very) rough draft
of the docs released in the near future for the community.  The docs don't
have to be "stable" per se, if we can gain access sooner.  But this all
depends on the agreement between OM/SMedia.

SMedia, I give you guys a lot of credit for taking a stand and provding open

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 ?

did I... read that correctly?  :)

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)?

I think the best scenario would be to get the (simple/barebones?)
driver/framework done, and release alpha docs if the situation allows.

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?

I think we all don't want to see this little FOSS flame be extinguished, and
that may have a lot to do with why the OM community is so concerned with all
the details, down to the vendors.  We should probably take a step back and
let OM handle those details.  There is a line where the community should end
and OpenMoko begin.  This (now unknown) line will need tweaking.

I place a large amount of trust in the OM Team, as they are geeks just like

For those in the community unfamiliar with the "very prominent people"
within OM, google some of their names; you might be surprised.  :)

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.

Probably the most beautiful thing about this phone.

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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