LKML : Linux-friendly graphics card : "we need experts in 3D graphics"


I know this is about Linux but I decided to post it here because I’d like this to be read by 3D experts, not linux experts.

As you perhaps know, there is discussion on the LKML (Linux Kernel Mailing List) about creating a Linux-friendly graphics card - ie : completely open, free and documented interface, architecture and drivers.

The guys look quite motivated to achieve that goal but they need help from 3D experts. Quote :

in order to meet those needs most effectively, we need experts in 3D graphics to participate in this forum, offering suggestions and debating the merits of one feature or another.
So if you are interested, I think the best entry point is this KernelTrap entry :

What a ridiculous idea. Who would fund this? Open source code is one thing, it needs only peoples time - open source hardware?!! especially sophisticated hardware like a gpu…why am I bothering to even reply to this?
maybe if you constrained your project to developing open source drivers for existing gpu’s by reverse engineering…that would make some sense.

First, it’s not my project. I have nothing to do with it. I was just mentionning it.

Who would fund this?
The people who would buy this graphics card. And yes, until then, there is a huge risk, but the engineers are aware of that, and they are ready to run it. Here’s an early estimation I’ve read on the LKML :

Here’s an off-the-cuff guess as to the parts cost for one board (I’m
sure I have most of the prices wrong):

  • FPGA $30
  • PCB $5
  • DAC $10
  • DVI transmitter $10
  • RAM $20
  • Assembly $??
  • Development cost $??
  • Profit $??

The parts alone are $75, and I’ve left plenty out. If the board is
profitable at $100… who will buy it?

I love the ? marks next to such minor things as ‘development’ and ‘assembly’.
Look, this isn’t anything to do with OpenGL, this isn’t even anything to do with the real world. So why post it here? Apart from the amusement value…but this is a serious forum.

I do know that this is a serious forum. I posted it here because I think that this is a serious project, and because OpenGL experts here can help, if they want to.

The project now has a dedicated mailing list and there seems to be serious discussion over there :

Apparently they are hoping that TechSource will agree to produce that graphics card.

Originally posted by Morglum:
[b]- Development cost $??

  • Profit $??

The parts alone are $75, and I’ve left plenty out. If the board is
profitable at $100… who will buy it?[/b]
And where do these parts come from? Radio Shack?

Development cost should be more like $???,??? and profit should have a “-” in front of it.

nVidia, ATI and Co. spent Millions just to get to the TNT2 stage. If people want a $100 graphics card, they can go out and buy one. If they’re not happy with the driver support for their FREE operating system, then they should realise that you get what you pay for.

I’d like to see any FPGA made today that can compete even with something as simple as an Intel Extreme Integrated Graphics chip (like the 915G, which supports shader model 2.0).