#qi-hardware IRC log for Thursday, 2011-05-05

steve|mdid you guys get the opencores newsletter?11:24
steve|m"Worlds first true open-source OpenRISC processorASIC"11:25
kristianpauldonate milkymist ;)!11:36
lekernelsteve|m: this is bullshit, please do not propagate it11:53
lekernelsee opensparc and leon for open source processors of much better quality than openrisc, which were made into ASICs, and did not trigger the announced revolution11:54
steve|mlekernel: thanks for sharing your opinion12:29
wolfspraulsteve|m: we need creative ideas how we market, or tell the story, of the Milkymist SoC and Milkymist One video synthesizer13:13
wolfspraulany ideas?13:13
wolfspraulunfortunately when you do really pioneering stuff like Milkymist, and the same is true for the opencores donation call, it's super hard to find the right line between wishful thinking/fairy tales, and down-to-earth stories that are not too boring on the other hand...13:14
wolfspraulI'm still struggling with this13:14
wolfspraulMilkymist is a GPL licensed SoC13:14
wolfspraulthat's a cool thing. there are others but I think in terms of really making it work in a practial way, Milkymist may be 'the best'13:15
wolfspraulthen there is work on free synthesis tools, llhdl/antares. That's extremely interesting too, but still work-in-progress and needs serious contributors.13:15
wolfsprauland there is Milkymist One, a video synthesizer we are selling for 499 USD. What's the point of a 'video synthesizer'?13:16
wolfspraulsteve|m: have you read the new Milkymist wikipedia page? I think it's really good http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milkymist13:18
wolfspraulyou posted about the opencores donation call. what do you think about it? did you donate? would you buy such a chip? for what product?13:19
wolfspraulsorry so many questions :-) thinking about this stuff...13:19
mthwolfspraul: I know a VJ: Julian from The C-men13:54
mthhe plays chiptunes with live mixed video containing images from 80s games and demos13:55
mthnot exactly a lively croud, but it does show both the result and the mixing taking place13:55
mthI could ask if he's interested in giving some feedback?13:56
wolfspraulof course, that would be fantastic!13:57
lekernelwolfspraul: for the LGM PR, we can title it with something like "Sneak peek at the upcoming Milkymist video synthesizer shown at LGM"14:03
lekernelthen we are free to talk about many topics in the body14:04
wolfspraulhmm, ok. I need to start this asap then fill in details with jon...14:14
lekernelwolfspraul: let's not publicize llhdl/antares too much yet. first they do not work today, second they might irritate xilinx a bit (probably not much, though).14:14
lekernelin the end I don't think much good would come from such a PR, except people asking me all the time when it's going to work or proposing tons of ideas in endless discussions14:15
lekernelplus the usual trolls on the FPGA companies14:15
lekernellater, we should definitely do it though14:15
wolfspraulmth: 17 views for that video!14:16
wolfspraulyou can ask him right away about how we all gain much more visibility for this kind of work14:17
wolfspraulI'm still downloading (caching) the video, super slow vpn link...14:17
wpwrakwolfspraul: the link probably gets slower with every keyword they add to the list of forbidden words ;-)14:43
wolfspraulsteve|m: just got the opencores newsletter. I pick one thing, quoting14:58
wolfspraul"Some of us who have worked for Semiconductor companies have seen the large margins and the large price differences depending if you were a large customer with many different products, or if you are a smaller company with a great new product. Since price always is important , it is today almost impossible to compete with large companies even if you have a "better" product."14:58
wolfspraulI don't understand how they came to this conclusion.14:58
wolfspraulI know a lot about IC prices, availability, moq, etc. I just don't see it that way.14:59
wolfspraulbut it's very hard to discuss these things because there are so many moving targets and numbers. Maybe they should give us an example :-)15:01
wolfspraulwhich chip they had trouble sourcing, and they think they can make cheaper now...15:01
wpwrakwolfspraul: well, there are chips you can't get easily in a usable condition (that is, also with the documentation you need to make them work). think of telephony or even wlan. not sure if that's what they mean, though.15:03
wolfspraulbut even that is wrong15:03
wolfspraulif you look at digikey, where are they weak?15:03
lekernelwolfspraul: opencores is 99% bullshit15:04
wpwrakthere are no such chips at digi-key :)15:04
wolfspraulnand (well, you would never buy that anyway, right? :-)), memory, rf ics, baseband, also weak on image sensors afaik15:04
lekernelalso they claim to be a 'community' while it's only 2 or 3 people at ORSoC making all the decisions and you only hear about them when all is said and done15:04
wolfspraulI think you will have trouble getting a 16 GB nand chip, Intel/Samsung/Toshiba, from digikey15:05
wolfspraulor an MTK anything15:05
wolfspraulthat's only digikey15:05
wolfspraulthere are myriads of smaller distributors all over Asia15:05
wolfspraulstarting to work with them is itself a lot of work though, so maybe some people stop at digikey?15:06
wpwrakfor things like baseband, the problem is also documentation. they won't give you that either. (well, unless you put a lot of money on the table.) so even if you find the chips on the secondary market, you'll have a hard time using them.15:06
wolfspraulfair enough, but opencores does not talk about documentation15:06
lekernelthe views expressed in that newsletter are only these of those 2-3 ORSoC people15:06
lekernelnothing more15:06
wolfspraullekernel: sure, I know15:06
wolfspraulI just try to respond to some specific thing they say.15:06
wpwrakand yes, some people probably simply don't know how to do sourcing ;-)15:06
wolfspraulI really massively do not agree with that statement.15:07
wolfspraulwhatever they do will be phenomenally more expensive than if they had just bought it15:07
lekernelif you start reading more of the crap that gets published by ORSoC under the name opencores.org, you'll probably find tons of stuff to disagree with15:07
wolfspraulif they really think there are some 'evil' big corps that are scheming against the small guys15:07
wolfspraulit's not true15:08
lekernelyeah but it's romantic and it gives them something to say15:08
lekernelmaybe it covers up their failures too, so they can sleep in peace15:09
wolfspraulwell I'm a bit old fashioned here, we have a responsibility to accurately report our findings.15:09
wolfspraulotherwise we cannot improve15:09
wolfsprauland that paragraph I don't like. they claim to speak from experience, and say there is this 'big corps get large discounts' thing they discovered.15:10
wolfspraulbut it's wrong15:10
wolfspraulit's a bad misrepresentation of reality15:10
lekernelyou know, those orsoc guys live in a very bizarre world15:10
wolfspraulso they are failing on their leadership15:11
lekernela bit like those conspiration theory advocates15:11
lekerneloh, they are failing on tons of things15:11
wolfspraulyes, fine. but either there is a conspiracy or not :-)15:11
lekernelthe only thing they do approximately right is attract attention15:11
wolfspraulsomeone may read this letter, or this channel, and really just don't know15:11
wolfspraul"is there such a thing?"15:11
wolfspraul"are large corps really conspiring against the small guys?"15:12
wolfspraul"is that what we have to fix for our break-through?"15:12
wolfspraulso my answer is: no15:12
wolfspraulsomeone can listen to me or not, but that's my answer :-)15:12
wpwrakwell, there are exclusive deals. e.g., you probably can't get exactly the socs apple use. not sure if this is an issue to get excited about, though :)15:12
lekernelwolfspraul: you could spend days finding things to disagree with in the orsoc world15:12
wolfspraulthat's not the thing that holds us down, or stops the 'revolution' :-)15:12
wolfspraulwpwrak: Apple SoCs!15:13
wolfspraulthey hired 200+ IC designers15:13
lekernelif you like this kind of thing, you can also read stuff like reopen911, abovetopsecret, etc.15:13
wolfspraulof course yes, ahem, the 'large guys' (apple) is 'conspiring' against the small guys (everybody else) by not giving away the results of their hard work15:13
wolfspraulbut that's not what orsoc means15:13
wolfspraulthey are not advocating piracy15:14
wolfspraullekernel: yes sure, we are on the same page, no worries :-)15:14
wolfspraulthat one feedback is all I'll do to digest the newsletter :-)15:14
wolfspraulno it's important for us to realize - there is no such conspiracy15:14
wolfspraulyes, of course, if you buy a chip 10 times, the unit price will be higher than if you buy the same chip 100 times, or 1000 times15:15
wolfspraulbut the increases for lower order sizes are very reasonable15:15
wolfsprauland the amount of investment you (!) need to make when scaling up your run (getting yield under control) will be far higher anyway15:16
wolfspraulI see bigger price differences in mechanical parts actually15:16
wolfspraula Molex ethernet connector may cost 8 USD, but a Taiwanese one only 1 USD15:17
wolfspraulmaybe I find out more about that one day, the differences in mechanical parts still seem extreme to me, showing how little I know about mechanical parts...15:17
wolfspraulthe Chinese one would probably cost 20 cents, but start to rust after 2 weeks...15:18
kristianpaulis a display considered mechanical part as well?15:18
wolfspraulI'd call that a module15:19
wolfspraulquite a few things inside15:19
wolfspraulthe mechanical part I'd say is only the casing15:20
kristianpaulhow fair are prices for modules?15:20
wolfspraulif you take one apart, you will see the various layers inside15:20
kristianpaulah ok15:20
wolfspraulsourcing is extremely competitive!15:20
wolfspraulif you think sourcing = digikey, then something is massively wrong with you15:20
wolfspraulyou can buy all sorts of lcm modules, at good prices even in low quantities15:21
wolfspraulbut you need to find the proper distributor15:21
wolfsprauland if you order low quantities, you will have very little say over EOL, for example15:21
kristianpauls/sourcing/hunting then ;)15:21
wolfspraulwhen the product is discontinued15:21
wolfspraulnot really, it's just thousands and thousands of companies doing this15:22
wolfspraulfor example the LCM for NanoNote15:22
wolfspraulwe buy from a distributor in Shenzhen15:22
wolfspraulnot street market15:22
wolfspraulproper distributor with office etc.15:22
wolfspraulanybody can buy there15:22
wolfspraulthey focus on the money, not on who you are15:22
wolfspraulmoq is 12 pieces, that's 1 tray15:22
kristianpaulnice :-)15:22
wolfspraulthey rather sell you a whole box, easier for shipping. 1 box = 12 trays = 12*12 = 144 pieces15:23
wolfspraulbut 1 tray also ok, they will wrap it for you15:23
wolfspraulthey ship worldwide15:23
wolfsprauland so on15:23
wolfspraulwhat's the problem?15:23
wpwrak(digi-key) for chips, digi-key seems pretty okay. mechanical things or modules are an entirely different story, though ...15:23
kristianpaulhmm so if in 10 years i may get a lcm replacement for my nanonote? or should i order spare parts today?15:23
wolfspraulbut sourcing != digikey15:23
wolfspraulthere are THOUSANDS of electronic parts distributors15:24
kristianpaulthats shopping, totally different tpoic i think (digikey)15:24
wolfspraulkristianpaul: it's a fairly common model, but I don't know how long you can really get just that one15:24
wolfspraulfinding that giantplus distributor was a bit hard btw15:25
wolfspraulwe couldn't find them in shenzhen itself, city is too big and too chaotic15:25
wolfspraulso had to call Giantplus Taiwan and claim that we wanted to buy 3k15:25
wolfspraulthat's the minimum where their sales rep will continue to talk to you, and everybody just claims 3k15:25
wolfspraulthen they give you the contact of their distributor in shenzhen15:25
wolfsprauland there you can buy 1 tray15:26
kristianpaulso find distributors is based on social interaction?15:26
wpwrakwolfspraul: maybe that's the problem of openrisc: they don't know when they're supposed to lie ;-)15:26
wolfspraulthere are many distributors all competing with each other15:26
wolfspraulcalling it a day15:28
wolfspraulsourcing is very diverse15:28
kristianpaulchina distributors jungle :-)15:29
wolfspraulopencores talks about chips (semiconductors), that's actually easy because well standardized15:29
wolfspraulmodules are probably hardest15:29
wpwrakparticularly if you can customize them ...15:29
Action: kristianpaul wonder if there are street market for chip fabbing15:29
wolfspraulnot just CHina, it's exactly the same in Taiwan, and I would think Korea and Japan too, although I have little/no experience there15:29
wolfspraulwhat I did see is that sometimes the 'big corps' are settling IP fights among their customers15:30
wolfspraulbut that's an entirely different subject15:30
wolfsprauland if they do that, they have to be very careful to not be dragged into some bad activity, that may even get them big cartel fines etc.15:30
wolfspraulbut actually a small guy would be way under the radar for this kind of thing15:31
wolfspraulthat's also not what opencores means15:31
wolfspraullike Sebastien said - they are just a bit romantic :-)15:31
wolfspraulwe should leave that to them15:31
wolfspraulhail the revolution!15:31
wpwrakopencores - a cleverly arranged diversion ;-)15:33
lekernelwpwrak: actually I don't think opencores has always been like that15:36
kristianpaulhow old is opecores btw15:37
lekernelwas founded by http://www.lampret.com/ who then abandoned it, and the domain name and website were transferred to ORSoC AB, some small Swedish consultancy (not sure under what terms) who are now super anal retentive about everything and say and do a lot of crap15:38
lekernelbtw all the donation money goes directly to that company (not to the "opencores community") without any control15:39
kristianpaulbad thing15:40
wpwraknow there's an interesting concept. how about openclubbing to lekernel's account ? :)15:40
wpwraksomething nice and broad that's a superset of vjing15:44
kristianpaulah, i tought you mean transfer opencores domain to lekernel ;)15:49
wpwrakthat's an even weirder idea ;-)15:50
wpwrakwell, when he finishes llhdl, maybe they'll offer him the domain as a form of tribute ;-)15:51
lekernelin your dreams15:55
lekernelthey're control freaks. they hold back every little they have, that is, some public visibility which includes that domain name.15:56
lekerneland they give little shit about stuff like llhdl15:56
lekernel(I'm speaking only about the ORSoC leaders here, not the wider Opencores community nor all ORSoC employees)15:57
wpwraka pity then. oh well.16:00
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