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The Parallella project will make parallel computing accessible to everyone.
The Parallella project will make parallel computing accessible to everyone.
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Epiphany drivers released as open source

Posted by Adapteva (Creator)

We are pleased to announce that we have now published the driver and library sources for the Epiphany SDK to go with the GNU tool chain that Embecosm published previously. Here is a post by Yaniv at parallella.org describing the new software source repositories. The repositories can be found at: http://github.com/adapteva

Releasing drivers in open source form shouldn't be a big deal, but unfortunately it is..For a variety of reasons, many semiconductor companies keep their drivers as proprietary binary blobs. As shown by the response to the tweet we sent out yesterday, this is the source of a lot of frustration! From a chip design standpoint, I can tell you that releasing driver source code is scary. Publishing the driver source code implies that any bugs, changes, and architecture peculiarity is made public. We hope that the relative cleanliness of the Epiphany driver and library code will convince you that the Epiphany-III and Epiphany-IV chips are in pretty good shape.

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    1. Missing avatar

      notzed on

      I think it's got more to do with hiding the secret sauces and features than embarrassment or flexibility.

      But this is awesome, one of the several major reasons I decided to back this project is that everything would be free. Getting very tired of locked down proprietary hardware which I am forced to pay for but cannot use.

    2. Adapteva Creator on

      @giel Yes, but a chip hardware bug lasts a long time (or forever) whereas software bugs can be fixed. Thus ugly driver code will stay around for a very long time..

      There are many other (bad?) why not to release source code:
      -don't want to tip off the competition
      -hide "secret sauce" performance in the drivers
      -hide the differences between different generations/versions behind a binary wall
      -give more freedom in changing architecture in future
      -allows you to not document all the features

    3. Missing avatar

      Giel van Schijndel on

      "From a chip design standpoint, I can tell you that releasing driver source code is scary. Publishing the driver source code implies that any bugs, changes, and architecture peculiarity is made public."

      Is that the only reason for not releasing code? As that reason would apply to *all* source code, non-driver code included.

    4. Missing avatar

      Tuukka Heikura on

      Good move. Thank you!