[PD] Piksel'05

Christian Klippel ck at mamalala.de
Wed Aug 17 16:35:20 CEST 2005


Am Mittwoch 17 August 2005 15:18 schrieb B. Bogart:
> Hey Marc,


> parameters of the driver using a documented protocol.. pretty neat... I
> still don't know what nvidia is trying to hide...

thats easy to answer. it is the so-called "ip" (intellectual property) that 
they hide. and frankly, they _must_ hide it, because it is not their own ip. 
so they make contracts with nda's (non-disclosure-agreement), which just 
forbid them to tell details about the stuff.

modern, complex chips are only partially hardware, many have some kind of 
generic processor in it, that is fed with software to make it work. and it 
doesnt matter if the software is burned into the chip itself, or is loaded 
afterwards by a driver.

did you know that on p4's (and many other cpu's) you could, in theory, change 
the microcode inside that chip? that would mean, you could learn it new 
instructions! but surely they dont tell for free .....

you want to know whats going on? no problem, buy licenses for that stuff, sign 
an nda, and you will know. but you are not allowed to tell anyone.

the real problem is the patent system, which allows just too much to be 

for example, you can buy a chip that plays back mp3 data. but each time you 
buy such a chip (20 dollar), the fraunhofer institute gets license fees (5 
dollar). and no, that doesnt include that you know whats going on in the 

another example: there are plenty of chips out there for stuff like 
en/decoding video, dv, dvd, etc. but to be able to use them, you need to buy 
the specs and licenses for them. and they are all, but not cheap. oh, and of 
course, again you are not allowed to tell anyone else!

we have to get rid of the patent system as it is nowdays. if there is no more 
senseless protection of the bare basics, things would become much easier.

what do you think why the chinese are cloning so much, even chips? ;-)

> B.



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