[maemo-developers] OMAP 2420 / lower level hardware docs?

From: Klaus Rotter klaus at rotters.de
Date: Sun Mar 11 18:06:41 EET 2007
Jon Smirl wrote:
> Using a closed CPU like the TI  OMAP in an open device like the N800
> wasn't the best pairing. Maybe next time Nokia will use a similar but
> open processor like the Freescale MX31.

Well, a lot of the parts of the OMAP 2420 is open. There are (of course) 
open source linux drivers for main parts of that device. Other parts 
(e.g. the 3D-accelerator) may be licenced from another companies, and 
the licence may forbid releasing those infos. Isn't the OMAP 3D stuff 
based on the Permedia Chips?

> They also could have picked open wifi like Ralink, Realtek or Zydas
> instead of the closed Conexant chip. Hopefully companies like Nokia
> will become more sensitive to open vs closed hardware as they build
> more Linux enabled devices.

Yes and no. The people who designed the N770 once said, that they had to 
use parts which already been used to build other Nokia devices. That 
made the production cheaper. I think this belongs also to the N800. The 
OMAP 2420 and the Wifi chip is used in other devices as well. If the 
N800 made a top seller the designers are more _free_ to use other parts 
as well. It would be interesting, how many N770 have been sold. It seems 
enough to go on for new devices like the N800. But I fear, it isn't a 
big benefit. But Nokia made a billon euro profit, so someone there 
thinks there are some euros left to go new ways, and Linux on handhelds 
is a new way for Nokia.

I am happy enough that Nokia is still producing, selling and developing 
new Linux devices. A lot of other companies, even big ones like Sharp, 
tried Linux on handhelds and drew back. Ok, Sharp still produces Linux 
devices, but they are only sold in Japan.

> to another graphics chips. Nokia could simply inform TI/Conexant that
> the next generation devices will only use open hardware and see what
> their response is.

They could try that. But I am not so fancy about open sources drivers on 
handhelds anyway. I would be quite happy to have closed source drivers 
as well. But there should be drivers. The reason is simple: You can't 
get the OMAP cpu alone. You need a device for it, and the company 
providing the device should also provide the drivers.
This is unlike for example a PC graphics card, which I can get for a few 
euros and use it (with free drivers) on my Linux PC.

Ok, there are a lot of advantages of open source drivers: What, if Nokia 
decides not to support the N800 any more? One could take the released 
source and port it to a more modern kernel.

Klaus Rotter * klaus <at> rotters <dot> de * www.rotters.de

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