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John Nagle
07-09-2002, 08:43 PM
There's a report on Slashdot that Microsoft is making an IP claim with respect to "vertex and fragment extensions" to OpenGL. Exactly what is being claimed? And when does the patent application reach the point where it's publicly available for prior-art objections?
Is this a reference to U.S. Patent #6,417,858, issued today?

kabir
07-09-2002, 09:19 PM
Well, the minutes don't exactly go into detail. I mean, they're minutes. The popular theory is that it's to do with some of the IP that MS bought from SGI a while back, though that's pure speculation (and speculation on /. no less) so who's to say. The minutes do mention that those with questions should contact the MS representative on the ARB.

Of course, they probably didn't mean us, exactly, but beyond talking to someone on the Board I'm not really sure how else to get the info.

Maybe some of the NVidia folks who hang around here could help us out?

dorbie
07-09-2002, 09:48 PM
I wonder if SGI sold Microsoft this patent:

"Method system and computer program product for shading"
US Patent # 5,880,736

Or this patent:

"Method, system, and computer program product for bump mapping in tangent space"
US Patent # 5,949,424

It seems like these would be directly related to shader implementations.

Quaternion
07-10-2002, 04:19 AM
US Patent 6,417,858:
"A processor for computer graphics calculations comprising an entire graphics engine in a single integrated circuit. The processor includes a transform mechanism adapted to compute transforms for the computer graphics calculations. The transform mechanism includes a transformation element adapted to compute transforms using a dot product operation. The transform mechanism of the processor also includes a perspective division element, a color unit for lighting calculations, a scaling element for multiplication operations, and a look-up table containing mathematical functions used by the computer graphics calculations. The processor also includes a raster unit coupled to the transform mechanism, a texture unit coupled to the raster unit, and a shader unit coupled to the texture unit."

Microsoft have rights over the GPU patent?

By the way, that patent is from December 23, 1998.

V-man
07-10-2002, 04:54 AM
Quaternion, that's a pretty vague discription.

Are concepts patentable. I thought it was only specific designs. Kind of stupid.

V-man

Nutty
07-10-2002, 10:58 AM
Kind of stupid

Yes, US patent law is crap. I personally think M$ are just throwing a spanner in the works to hold up GL more, so that they capture more market with their new DX. Stopping a standard vertex program api appearing in OpenGL, is only going to strengthen their position.

Why on earth do they have to bring this up? How long have ppl been coding vertex programs? IF ATI and nvidia can have them as extensions, why make the fuss, just when it goes into ARB status? IT's not like they need the royalty money is it? Once again M$ shows itself to be nothing but a monopolistic company throwing it's weight onto anything that opposes it's own products.

Nutty

alanb
07-10-2002, 11:08 AM
The conflict of interest is pretty clear. I'm not sure how Microsoft has a seat on the ARB when they have a directly competing API.

Oh well, such is the nature of the beast.

alan

Overmind
07-10-2002, 11:15 AM
Yes, US patent law is crap.


That reminds me of a story a few years ago in Europe: A clever person registered the name "Euro" as trademark for currencys before the name for the new european currency was fixed. He wanted licencing fees for it after the new currency was made.

Fortunately the european patent court is more flexible than the US is...

Hopefully there will be a solution to the shader problem soon (before OGL2.0). Cg looks good, I hope other vendors will support it, too.

Greetings
Overmind

knackered
07-10-2002, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by Overmind:
Cg looks good, I hope other vendors will support it, too.

This is precisely why people are getting so wound up about the hold up in ARB vertex/pixel shader extensions. Without them, Cg will not be useful in OpenGL. It will only work with nvidia cards, so there's little motivation to use it over directly using the vendor extensions.
If the ARB introduced vertex and pixel shader extensions SOON, then Cg would be an excellent stop-gap before gl2 is introduced.
At the moment, I for one am severly pissed off by the state OpenGL is in - you should take a look at the difference between my Direct3D renderer class and my OpenGL one, it's staggering. The D3d one is readable, the opengl one looks like spagetti junction. I really should spawn off a few more opengl classes, one for every 'version' of opengl, but I really can't be arsed...the d3d one is getting all the new cool stuff at the moment.
I don't like this, as I prefer opengl syntax, but it's just more productive with d3d.
ARB - hear my cries!

Robbo
07-10-2002, 11:48 AM
Good god! This whole shader thing is giving me a fuggin' headache. GL2 will end up looking like a Camel (a horse designed by committee, if you haven't heard that one before).

Personally I say remove display lists, remove immediate mode, remove fixed function (ehem) --> but provide similar through `default shaders' etc.

Not practicable I know, but hey I really don't give a flying duck anymore!

davepermen
07-10-2002, 12:00 PM
its all so ****ed up.
nvidia dont want vertex_shaders
ati dont want vertex_programs
no one wants cg
no one wants dx
all want united arb opengl 2.0
nvidia does not want gl2.0
all want arb_vertex_program
microsoft does not want it

bah..
politics, economy, laws, stop that **** http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/wink.gif

if that continues that way i'll eighter stick to dx9 (dark force is strong, dx9 is easy, it is all standarticed and you get huge support) or i get into some linuxcommunity and start generating a new open graphics api from scratch. OpenGA http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif
anyone with me? http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/wink.gif

V-man
07-10-2002, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by knackered:
This is precisely why people are getting so wound up about the hold up in ARB vertex/pixel shader extensions. Without them, Cg will not be useful in OpenGL. It will only work with nvidia cards, so there's little motivation to use it over directly using the vendor extensions.

Why? I thought that each company (3Dlabs, ATI, and whoever else there is) had to make a pluggin or something for Cg to work with their cards, with the current GL we have.
I am also surprised by GL 1.4 and 1.5 Why not jump to 2.0

Doesn't look like that's going to occur. As usual, each company has its own interests, specially MS. Hasn't MS mentioned patents before in ARB meetings? They don't say anything else.
ATI has given over IP for free a couple of times at least, which is special.

V-man

knackered
07-10-2002, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by V-man:
Why? I thought that each company (3Dlabs, ATI, and whoever else there is) had to make a pluggin or something for Cg to work with their cards, with the current GL we have.
Aye, vman - the flying pigs are beavering away on the ATI Cg profile as we speak... http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif

Dodger
07-10-2002, 12:18 PM
Originally posted by alanb:
The conflict of interest is pretty clear. I'm not sure how Microsoft has a seat on the ARB when they have a directly competing API.


Moreover, why do they have a seat in the ARB if,

1. Like you said, they have a directly competing API
2. Haven't really contributed much of anything to the development of OpenGL from inside the ARB lately (if I'm not mistaken, if I am, please correct me... but I can't remember antyhing of relevance)
3. Have refused for _years_, to update the libraries and header files for GL they supply with their development tools

The point that urks me is, while all IHVs are in somewhat direct contact with the developers, for example via the opengl.org boards, or provide excellent (Kudos to all of the IHVs here) developer support per phone, email or even personally, MS as a member of the board that is the direct driving force behind the OpenGL development, mark you, isn't to be found or heard of anywhere, anyhow, providing no support, no updates, nothing - except for slapping the other ARB members around with IP claims?
Excuse me?

To make myself clear, this is _not_ targeted at a representative of MS who may be reading this (thinking about that, who am I trying to kid...) but at the business philosophy of MS in this case.
To make my point clear in a blunt way: You're a member of the ARB. Either s**t or get off the pot.

Just my $0.02

Elixer
07-10-2002, 12:32 PM
If I was at the meeting, I would question them WHICH patent they are talking about. I don't understand why this wasn't brought up? Yes, the minutes was posted, but you would think that if it was important, it would be listed.

This could all be smoke and mirrors, used as a scare tactic.

Kinda like MickeyD's saying that they think they have a patent on the way they salt their fries, so no one better do it!


If all else fails, just use ARB_BITE_ME http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/biggrin.gif

no-one
07-10-2002, 12:42 PM
i agree, WTF are they trying to pull?

>3. Have refused for _years_, to update the libraries and header files for GL they supply with their development tools

isn't this in violation of their agreement anyway?

is there anyway to kick a member? isn't it obvious that they are not here to help?

knackered
07-10-2002, 01:07 PM
It's a bit rich of microsoft to play the patent card when its stolen so many ideas from opengl for direct3d.

MikeC
07-10-2002, 01:15 PM
While it would certainly be appropriate and gratifying to kick MS out of the ARB, I don't actually think it would bring any benefits. MS could and would still throw patent spanners into the works if they weren't a member. At least as an ARB member they're obliged to serve notice of IP issues up front, which lessens its impact as a delaying tactic a bit.

The last set of minutes did make pretty grim reading though. All the buzz and clarity of the early GL2 push seems to have diffused into a mess of patent lawyers and not-invented-here stonewalling. Okay, that's how standards committees work, but.. :-(

Nutty
07-10-2002, 01:50 PM
I got into OpenGL because it was _THE_ industry standard.

Now it's becoming the industry joke.

I think the IHV's of the ARB need to be alot more aggressive in pushing OpenGL forward. Unless M$ can back up it's IP claims with substantial reasoning, and proof of why it needs to enforce these patents, they should be over-ruled. They do nothing but hinder the progress of OpenGL.


It's a bit rich of microsoft to play the patent card when its stolen so many ideas from opengl for direct3d.

I know. They really are taking the piss lately. I know they will never get booted out of the ARB, as no IHV could ever afford to stand up to them. I find it very frustrating.

Nutty

BadMmonkey
07-10-2002, 02:26 PM
I agree with you Nutty... I too got into OpenGL a few years back thinking it was the smart way to go (being the "industry standard") ...recently I have actually caught myself praying for the release of dx9 *cowers in fear of retribution* http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif

As for MS still being on the ARB, I am sure you are all familiar with the phrase "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/wink.gif

V-man
07-10-2002, 04:45 PM
>>>>I know. They really are taking the piss lately. I know they will never get booted out of the ARB, as no IHV could ever afford to stand up to them. I find it very frustrating.
<<<

No, they can't be booted, because the seat is permanent once you are accepted as a ARB member. That's some kind of bylaw the ARB has.

Also, who are they gone sue? OpenGL is open source and opengl drivers are a front end access to the GPU. MS will have to sue everyone in the business.

Anyways, MS wasn't able to specify what their claim consisted of, and was suggested to get it's claim in order.

V-man

grady
07-10-2002, 06:26 PM
I doubt MS has any spectacular IP claim on anything. It doesn't seem like they even knew what their IP claim was, and why does this IP claim on VP and FP suddenly come out when ARB is trying to design something on par with a paradigm shift? I think this IP pish posh is just here to deflate GL2.0 enthusiasm and scare developers into taking a hard look at D3D9; everyone knows MS is all about the hype. I don't think people should be losing enthusiasm in GL2.0 over this. I also agree about not bashing the MS rep , he has to represent all of MS on the issues, including the lawyer army and the propoganda department.


[This message has been edited by grady (edited 07-10-2002).]

Dodger
07-10-2002, 07:04 PM
Originally posted by grady:
I doubt MS has any spectacular IP claim on anything. It doesn't seem like they even knew what their IP claim was, and why does this IP claim on VP and FP suddenly come out when ARB is trying to design something on par with a paradigm shift? I think this IP pish posh is just here to deflate GL2.0 enthusiasm and scare developers into taking a hard look at D3D9; everyone knows MS is all about the hype. I don't think people should be losing enthusiasm in GL2.0 over this.

Agreed whole-heartedly. Unless they can come up with something substantial instead of going 'Boo!' to all ARB members (and developers for that matter), there's nothing to worry about. I for myself will be anxiously waiting for the next revisions of OpenGL to be released.
The point is though, that the ARB should be pushing the issue determinedly, since we're talking important parts of OpenGL here.

It just annoys the hell out of me that MS seems to think they can put their fat thumb on anything and anyone. MS is for sure not the only, but one of the biggest companies pursuing that kind of behaviour. I'm very disillusioned about Microsoft's business policies (a little food for thought: before the AGs of half of the US decide to step in and file an antitrust case against a company, there has to be something seriously wrong. I'm not natively from the US, but I believe this has happened only twice before in history, once AT&T, and I don't remember the other case).

And no, Microsoft is not the antichrist or any other evil deity, just a company. But one with a monopoly and seriously unethical, unfair and, IMHO partly unlawful business practices.

dorbie
07-10-2002, 08:22 PM
MS wasn't making any claims, it is required to inform the ARB of this stuff, just as other members have made similar disclosures in the past. Think about the RAMBUS vs JDEC situation and you might understand why Microsoft had to make this kind of disclosure.

There is also plenty of evidence to suggest that they might have substantial claims here, see the patents I listed earlier in this thread.

[This message has been edited by dorbie (edited 07-10-2002).]

zed
07-10-2002, 08:43 PM
what does ms luv
FUD http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif
reading the posts here looks like theyre suceeding.
personally this item rates 1 on the richter scale (yawn).

btw ms cant be kicked off the ARB cause they are one of the founding members, even if they could who would do it, nvidia? ati? 3dlabs? weve all read in court what happens to companies that stand up to ms.

to those sheep that want to use d3d because of this, go for it
itll raise the average users IQ's of both api's. everyone wins http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif

davepermen
07-10-2002, 09:31 PM
i'm not a sheep.. but the dark force is strong and sweet.. (well, what i can see of dx9 is very sweet, and as i'll use it anyways, just to try it..)

i want my gl2... to nvidia and all the others: drop gl1.4 and boost gl2. try to get every feature that exist in todays hardware mapped onto one of the gl2 extensions. memorymanagement, objects, parts of the shaders. and force the next hw to be gl2 compliant. then in 2 years, we got out of this really stupid animalpark here..

as nutty said, it was the industry standart. but what its today is really ****ty.. and, as i remember, we yet talked about ati and nvidia that they should design competitors extensions into the own hw as well to be commpliant more than 1.5 years ago.. at the start of gf3.. the only one that wins if the vendors bitch onto eachother is microsoft. as dx will always be a standard (good or bad), the vendors have to support dx. why can't they then match eachothers hardware to work together in opengl as well? at least the power of dx should be mapped into gl with one fitting arb_ext without any problems..

next time i want to see GL_ARB_directx_9. i bet microsoft forgot to get that IP.. http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif

KRONOS
07-11-2002, 04:58 AM
This discussing doesn't lead US anywhere. I think money is what moves the ARB. What are the big "heads" of the ARB? NVidia, ATI, 3DLabs and Microsoft (and perhaps others). NVidia want's to make money, so it refuses OpenGL 2.0 because it's something that they aren't prepared to. ATI and 3DLabs are the only ones OK. I liked the way 3DLabs proposed GL 2.0: open source, open ideas, open everything, from the start. Microsoft wants to see GL killed because this way, DX becomes standart. So I think we are beyond open source, beyond what OpenGL aimed for from the beginnig. This is why OpenGL 2.0 isn't moving. Don't forget these are companies, only interested in profits.

My advice: EVERYONE wanting to see OpenGL 2.0 in the near future, team up, forget ARB, Microsoft, NVidia and start all over. 3DLabs said in one paper: "OpenGL was a stroke of genius". So make it happen again. If someone doesn't to want to be a part of it, fine, just don't be in the way.

Better yet, create the "ARB2". Separate OpenGL 2.0 from OpenGL. Make another API, one that hasn't have IP issues and that kind of ****. If Microsoft, or NVidia or whatever want's to join the party later, fine... But later...

CopyCat
07-11-2002, 10:02 AM
primo: MS sucks with it's IP claims.
secundo: All the discusion here - it's like OGL and it's future vs. big bad D3D9.
And like OGL will be killed by that big monsetr.
Ok but what about our non-Winszajze32 users ?
Linux, other unices etc.
As you all rememvber ogl is a 'inustry standard' API.
ANd like we rather do not ahve any alternative.
So it OGL or nothing.
Another thing about MS.
Did you heard about Windoze Longhorn ?
The one that will have d3d9 accelerated windows ?
Now how does ogl here come in ?
How will it work.
Now this is another big try to kill ogl API http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/frown.gif

PS.V-Man OGL is not open source , it's open standard.

knackered
07-11-2002, 10:56 AM
I feel a little embarrassed about how this discussion has degenetated into white noise.

Korval
07-11-2002, 01:38 PM
My advice: EVERYONE wanting to see OpenGL 2.0 in the near future, team up, forget ARB, Microsoft, NVidia and start all over.

In which case OpenGL goes from being the "industry standard 3D API" to being "that thing those Linux users have for 3D drawing".

Face it: you can't ignore nVidia. They own most of the graphics card market. Why would nVidia want to make an implementation of your API on their hardware? Nobody's probably going to be clamoring for that API anyway.

Maybe having an API developed by committe is a bad idea. Direct3D may not provide the best solution, but it, at least, provides some solution.

davepermen
07-11-2002, 09:21 PM
you can write a dxwrapper for your api or an openglwrapper for your api so it works on nvidia hw as well. as i know nvidia, they woudl fast bring out a real implementation, as else, they could not win in performancetests against other competitioners..
you have to set up first a demoimplementation. for this, you can use opengl or dx internally..

V-man
07-11-2002, 10:42 PM
Originally posted by CopyCat:

PS.V-Man OGL is not open source , it's open standard.

Then I guess this web site exists by accident
http://oss.sgi.com/projects/

V-man

CopyCat
07-12-2002, 12:20 AM
Nope.
This is a sample open source implentation.
But look at it ?
Does nvidia do open source OGL implentation ? Nope.
Does ATI releases open source implentation - nope.
Is MS SW Win32 OGL implentation open source ? I don't think so.
The only OGL implentation ( well....not 100% beacouse it doesn't have license from SGI ) is MesaGL.
And maybe the stuff from DRI team.
The point is that some implentations can be Open Source. But OGL as a whole API isn't.

Open Source means you have unlimited acces to the source code http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif
Open Standard gives you the posibiliti to suggest new stuff into the API.

Robbo
07-12-2002, 01:33 AM
The only trouble GL2 seems to be having at present is NVIDIAs preference to Cg - rather than GL2 shaders. Could this be something to do with new tech coming along with the GF5? I think it probably does. Given that they know how well the current spec' GL2 will fit in with their hardware upgrade paths, it doesn't suprise me that they might want to influence GLs future direction without giving the game away. A tightrope I think you will agree.

V-man
07-12-2002, 07:37 AM
Originally posted by CopyCat:

Open Source means you have unlimited acces to the source code http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif
Open Standard gives you the posibiliti to suggest new stuff into the API.

Well, opengl drivers are another story. The sample implementation of opengl is open source and you have unlimited access to it.
The opengl drivers for Windows from various companies are properties of those companies. Those companies have *licensed* opengl and have used the OSS opengl to make their drivers.

So what would you say if these companies did not produce opengl drivers and the only gl that existed was the sample implementation?

You would be inconsistent, me thinks.

V-man

CopyCat
07-13-2002, 01:18 AM
We are speaking here about a API.
Standarized API.
API as somthing can not be open source.
A particular implentation - yes.
OpenGL is a standard, open standard.

V-man
07-13-2002, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by CopyCat:
We are speaking here about a API.
Standarized API.
API as somthing can not be open source.
A particular implentation - yes.
OpenGL is a standard, open standard.

True, it is an API and saying that an API is open source is meaningless. However, opengl has an official source code and that is what I'm talking about.

Open standard means that it is made available to third parties for implementation purposes. It is actually more than that. Not all products can be called an industry standard. Typically, you license it under some agreement . It use to be that you received the SI, and received plenty of help from SGI for implementing your drivers and optimizing.

Now, the source is available to everyone under a form of a no cost license. That's called open sourcing.

Same deal for Linux. Linux has an API, Linux has source. Linux is open source. At the same time, not all Linux flavors are open source.

V-man

iNsaNEiVaN
07-13-2002, 07:53 PM
Save me mommy, I dont want to use DirectX.

dorbie
07-14-2002, 02:01 AM
V-man, we're getting off topic but please name one version of Linux that isn't open source. They all are. Maybe you should have used freeBSD as your example :-).

[This message has been edited by dorbie (edited 07-14-2002).]

CopyCat
07-14-2002, 03:59 AM
Well the Linux example wasn't good ;D
It's not like Windows that it has LinAPI.
Linux is mostly Posix.1g compilant ( most sym function that are in linux are defined by Posix standard ).
Now Linux just has his own implentations ( the best example is TCP and UDP implentation - it's a whole new implentation - nor berkley and not System V implentation, but it has the same interface ).

Now as you proven in the prevois post - OpenGl is open standard http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif.

END. ( sorry for that off topic digresion but 'OpenGL is open source' is just too common mistake ).

neon68
07-15-2002, 02:33 AM
I have a Doubt.

Am I a Microsft's Intelectual Property?

V-man
07-15-2002, 01:25 PM
Oh man, it never ends does it. No wonder some threads end up with 300 replies!

CopyCat, please tell SGI to fix their mistake and lets end this.

V-man

Feanor
07-16-2002, 11:03 AM
I need a reality check, so I'll add a comment. What does it matter to Microsoft if OpenGL is "competitive" with DX? As far as I can see, only because most every other platform uses it, including Mac, SGI, Sun (I think) and Linux. And since the role of 3D gets bigger every day, if M$ can put a stranglehold on the essential features of a contemporary 3D rasterizer.

I'm a Mac user, and as usual, M$ is seriously threatening the health of the platform. The next iteration of OS X integrates OpenGL into the entire display system. If Apple finds themselves unable to do certain things except at Microsoft's discretion, there is a serious problem in this industry.

I would wonder how this will affect research now. If M$, using software patents, can prevent other vendors from using certain technologies, would researchers be ostensibly prevented from developing in certain areas? Or would M$ simply walk in and claim ownership?

The way this turns out seems destined to have a huge impact on the entire software industry. If M$ goes its usual course, that will be bad for everyone except M$.

Feanor

Lars
07-16-2002, 03:01 PM
This discussion may have an End, i just read on a german newsticker that OpenGL 1.4 has been approved by the ARB.
http://www.heise.de/newsticker/data/jk-16.07.02-018/

It says:
Vertex Shader (inclusive the patented parts from Microsoft), an high level shader language, shadowing and automipmap generation are included.
Details will be posted shortly on www.opengl.org. (http://www.opengl.org.)

Lars


[This message has been edited by Lars (edited 07-16-2002).]

MikeC
07-17-2002, 10:37 AM
Um... I think that's the erroneous SGI press release popping up again.