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Intel Builds On Top of Android, But Hedges On Open-Sourcing Improvements 156

Posted by timothy
from the mixed-motivations dept.
Barence writes with this news as carried by PC Pro: "Intel claims it is making significant improvements to the multicore performance of Android — but isn't sure if it's willing to share them with the open-source community. Speaking to journalists in London, Intel's mobile chief Mike Bell said that Intel's engineers were making significant improvements to Android's scheduler to improve its multicore performance. 'Android doesn't make as effective use of multicore as it could,' he said. However, when pressed by PC Pro on whether those improvements would be shared with the open-source community and Intel's competitors, Bell remained non-committal. 'Where we are required to give back to open source, we do,' said Bell. 'In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it. I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,' said Bell, before adding that 'in general, our philosophy is to give things back.'"
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Intel Builds On Top of Android, But Hedges On Open-Sourcing Improvements

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  • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @01:40PM (#40246869) Journal

    'Where we are required to give back to open source, we do... In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it. I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,"

    I'm glad to see that altruism is still alive and well, when it's required and only based off other people's work.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @01:43PM (#40246913) Homepage

      Also, anybody still wondering why the "viral" clauses of the GPL that require changes to be GPLed are important?

      • Not me.
        • Should the question regarding "Altruism and Profit" always falls under the "either / or" situation?

          Could Altruism and Profit go hand-in-hand?

          People are making money off Linux, as we speak.

          Though, it's true that there are way too many free-riders out there who contributed nothing but keep on making profits out of the hardwork of others, we can not deny that at times, "Altruism" and "Profit" can and _do_ co-exist

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BasilBrush (643681)

        Yes. MIT, BSD and Apache and many more licenses do perfectly well without them.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yes. MIT, BSD and Apache and many more licenses do perfectly well without them.

          Haven't you been listening to Stalman? Those licenses only work now because the corporate interests want them to appear as viable alternatives. Once GPL is pushed out of the market, the fatcats will stop providing any support for open source and have any open source advocates sent to Guantanamo!

          • by cheesybagel (670288) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:39PM (#40248425)
            Didn't you read the comment? The Intel spokesman simply said it is their policy not to release improvements if other people using the project don't usually do it. i.e. if Android was under a copyleft license Intel would release the changes. Intel contributes to a number of GPLed projects including the Linux kernel and they release the source for that.
            • Intel contributes to a number of GPLed projects including the Linux kernel and they release the source for that.

              So they only do the right then when legally forced to? I don't know about you, but I don't think Intel needs a "spokesman" like that out there pissing off the community they need to build their network effect.

              • by Microlith (54737)

                So they only do the right then when legally forced to?

                Or they do it when they know everyone is in it together and no one's going to be holding back some "secret sauce." Incidentally, they release the only fully open source GPU driver when everyone else holds it close.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          You mean when Intel could (with MIT, BSD, Apache) just revoke everything and say "tough luck"?

          Yes, your concept is nice, your reality is not.

          • by Microlith (54737)

            Well, they couldn't revoke what was already out there. They could, however, close the source for all future revisions regardless of who (if anyone) contributed. The same is possible with GPL licensed projects, given copyright assignment.

      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday June 07, 2012 @02:06PM (#40247273) Homepage

        I don't think anyone questioned why they were there. The issue is, there are people who will refuse to build off of or contribute to GPL projects because they're somehow afraid of being compelled to contribute something they might not want to. So the question then becomes, are the contributions that are compelled by the license going to be greater than the contributions lost due to fear of being compelled?

        I'm not taking a side here. I don't have any idea what the answer is, but I suspect it's different for different projects and different communities.

        • I don't think anyone questioned why they were there. The issue is, there are people who will refuse to build off of or contribute to GPL projects because they're somehow afraid of being compelled to contribute something they might not want to. So the question then becomes, are the contributions that are compelled by the license going to be greater than the contributions lost due to fear of being compelled?

          I'm not taking a side here. I don't have any idea what the answer is, but I suspect it's different for different projects and different communities.

          I think it's a question that cannot be answered since the latter are only theoretical contributions. It's one of those questions like "Why are we here?".

        • The fear isn't that they might have to contribute, they have to contribute everything that so much as looks, smells, or hears anything related to a single line of GPL code. If I want to use a GPL library that (for example) has nice string parsing I have to publish the code to my entire multi-million dollar software project because of that one small component that I could write in a few days. That is completely ridiculous. The LGPL is a much better compromise in that you have to publish changes to the rel
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Microlith (54737)

            If I want to use a GPL library that (for example) has nice string parsing I have to publish the code to my entire multi-million dollar software project because of that one small component that I could write in a few days.

            Then write it. I fail to see what you're bitching about, other than to bitch that you can't jack someone else's code.

            • You seriously don't see what is bad about a million different programmers having to write the same, trivial code over and over and over again? It is flat out a waste of time and reduces the amount of interesting/innovative/truly productive things we could be doing instead. LGPL lets people share easy to write code so that no one else ever has to write it again. GPL generally makes code that will die in a hole somewhere because no one wants to work for free unless they are fine living in their parents bas
              • by Microlith (54737)

                You seriously don't see what is bad about a million different programmers having to write the same, trivial code over and over and over again?

                No, I don't see why he's bitching about the license on something that he, admittedly, could write in a few days and release under a more permissive license.

                GPL generally makes code that will die in a hole somewhere because no one wants to work for free unless they are fine living in their parents basement.

                This is both false and you being an outright ass.

                • No, I don't see why he's bitching about the license on something that he, admittedly, could write in a few days and release under a more permissive license.

                  Duplicate, unnecessary work is duplicate unnecessary work whether it takes 1 day or a year. I don't like duplicate unnecessary work. Yes, that is "just too bad" but it would be less bad if people used LGPL (or less restrictive) over GPL and I want things to be less bad. What does a person gain by releasing something as GPL over something as LGPL? The primary difference is that less people will use it. What is the point of releasing source code if you don't want people to use it?

                  This is...you being an outright ass.

                  Yeah, it happens somet

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              Then write it.

              I do, and i couldn't give a shit if someone else uses it and doesn't give me something in return.

          • by Immerman (2627577) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:54PM (#40248603)

            Well, if you're working on a huge multi-million dollar project you probably don't have much incentive to use GPL components, do you? The price is too high. Either do the work yourself or go buy a license to something proprietary. Or as you point out, use something with a more permissive open source license.

            Different licenses have different goals. If you're looking to make money you use a proprietary license and sell usage rights. If you're looking to create a standard of some sort (platform, file format, whatever) then BSD, MIT, or full-on public domain is the way to go, because your goal is to get the software in as widespread use as possible and any restrictions will hinder that. If you're looking to build a free library of useful code, something like the LGPL may be better because your goal is to maximize the development speed of the library, letting folks improve on it but keep those improvements to themselves is counterproductive.

            The GPL was intentionally designed to create an expanding ecosystem of Free software. Not a toolset, not a standard, an ecosystem. To create software at all comparable to the well-funded proprietary alternatives you need some sort of edge. The GPL edge is take anything you want, from any project you want (from within the ecosystem of course), use it however you want, but your project MUST remain a part of the ecosystem. It's done a great job too - the ecosystem is thriving and there is a truly staggering amount of code out there that plenty of projects would love to use but can't because they aren't willing to join the ecosystem. That's fine.

            The GPL is an openly idealistic license, and that's not always be the most effective stance to take for all purposes, but if you use any open-source software or libraries at all it's rather hypocritical to call out the idealists for being extremists. Everything exists on a spectrum, if the GPL vanished tomorrow the the LGPL would be the "extremists", keep knocking out the "extremists" and pretty soon the public-domain projects that simply make a non-binding request for acknowledgment will be the "extremists". Having idealists as the extremists, much less idealists that have proven that it is still possible to turn a decent profit, gives a good reference point for everyone else. Personally I suspect we'd have a much poorer ecosystem of non-GPL open source software if the GPL folks weren't around to prove that even a hard-line stance is viable.

            • I agree that there is room for GPL software and there are some valid reasons for having it. However, I think it should be the exception rather than the rule. The open source community embracing GPL has hampered their efforts and restricted the support they could be getting from companies that have vast resources that could benefit open source software. Companies are much more willing to use and support open source software under LGPL (and less restrictive) licenses. Less restrictive licences == more peo
              • I agree that there is room for GPL software and there are some valid reasons for having it. However, I think it should be the exception rather than the rule.

                Easy to say that if you're one of those all take and no give kinds of people.

                • True enough. However, that doesn't really matter. People who will not contribute will not contribute whether it is GPL, LGPL, BSD, or whatever. I guess it really comes down to why you are developing open source software at all. If you are doing it to show everyone how smart you are but you don't want to actually benefit anyone, GPL is the perfect solution. If you are altruistic and want to create something to help people, then you want it to be as easy to use as possible and available to the largest au
                  • True enough. However, that doesn't really matter. People who will not contribute will not contribute whether it is GPL, LGPL, BSD, or whatever. I guess it really comes down to why you are developing open source software at all. If you are doing it to show everyone how smart you are but you don't want to actually benefit anyone, GPL is the perfect solution. If you are altruistic and want to create something to help people, then you want it to be as easy to use as possible, available to the largest audience and guaranteed to remain free (that is, the GPL).

                    Fixed that for you.

              • by Immerman (2627577)

                The open source community embracing GPL has hampered their efforts

                Are you sure? Seems to me most people who embrace the GPL do so because they either like the ideals behind it, don't like the idea of companies making money off their work without giving anything back, and/or are using a lot of pre-existing GPLed code in their project. In none of those cases would their efforts be aided by using a more permissive license.

                Besides, any company willing to give back substantially will likely have no problem with the GPL, it only becomes a problem for them when they want to "h

                • I think it is hampering their efforts because they have a smaller community to work within and benefit from. A more lenient license would attract more people while I don't think it would put many current people off. It is mostly an opinion, I certainly could be wrong. The only good examples I have are from personal experience where my old company would never use GPL software because it could not release our entire code base but could use LGPL software and only publish the changes. One example of this is
                  • by Immerman (2627577)

                    Easy enough to check - there seems to be three major licensing philosophies - GPL, LGPL, and Apache/BSD. Most other licenses are specialty or vanity variants of one of those and can be ignored or counted towards the most-similar major license as you like (just be consistent with your choice). Which community has the largest code base? The most contributors? The most corporate support? There's your answer.

          • The fear isn't that they might have to contribute, they have to contribute everything that so much as looks, smells, or hears anything related to a single line of GPL code.

            My point in using the word "fear" is that sometimes the aversion is not because of what people will actually have to contribute, since people often don't really understand what they have to contribute and when. Or it might be that they don't have a problem with contributing their current code, but there a fear that they don't fully understand the terms, or that they might not want to release their newer code later on down the line.

            I'm not saying that people can't have a real and legitimate objection to us

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ShanghaiBill (739463)

        Also, anybody still wondering why the "viral" clauses of the GPL that require changes to be GPLed are important?

        No. The GPL is irrelevant in this situation. If they don't distribute the binary they are under no obligation to distribute the source. If Android was BSD instead it would make no difference here.

        Why is everyone bashing Intel? They are releasing everything they are required to. They have also released TONS of code that they were NOT required to release. I use OpenCV [wikipedia.org] everyday, and it is a wonderful library, open sourced by Intel. This is just one example of many.

        • Also, anybody still wondering why the "viral" clauses of the GPL that require changes to be GPLed are important?

          No. The GPL is irrelevant in this situation. If they don't distribute the binary they are under no obligation to distribute the source. If Android was BSD instead it would make no difference here.

          Yes, because I'm sure that Intel is going to rewrite a bunch of code and then not use it anywhere.

          Of course, if it's not a Linux-related component, they wouldn't have to release the source. As Google has already shown us with the Honeycomb debacle, the Apache 2.0 license doesn't actually require you to release the source even with the binaries.

          If it did, the Apache foundation could sue Google for licensing violations over Apache Harmoney.

        • by Excelsior (164338)

          The problem with intel, and why people are "bashing" them has little to do with what is required of them. It is because Intel is clearly seeking to make money off of Android which was built by others contributions, and being selfish pricks in the process. Android has hundreds of millions (maybe billions?) of dollars worth of investment and contributions in it by people and companies not named Intel. Intel is making some minor changes, running around telling everyone how great those changes are, and then

        • Why is everyone bashing Intel? They are releasing everything they are required to.

          Because they say they plan to do the opposite of being good citizens.

      • Also, anybody still wondering why the "viral" clauses of the GPL that require changes to be GPLed are important?

        But isn't the android kernel under GPL license, as it is forked from the Linux kernel?
        Surely a change to the scheduler will be a kernel change.(Or do I perhaps need to read the fa here?)
        So this would mean that they will have to distribute the source when the distribute the binary.

    • by Metabolife (961249) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @01:48PM (#40246991)

      They're abiding by the terms of the GPL and considering giving more than is required. It's a company, not a charity.

      • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Thursday June 07, 2012 @01:54PM (#40247089)

        Hence why I think that the subset of BSD proponents who argue that the GPL is unnecessary, because many companies will give back just to be "good citizens" without legal requirements, are a bit too optimistic, in most cases.

        • the subset of BSD proponents who argue that the GPL is unnecessary, because many companies will give back just to be "good citizens" without legal requirements

          I haven't ever seen argue that. It's blatantly obvious that when there is no legal requirement to open code, fewer companies will do so (some still will where it benefits them, but obviously it's going to be an orders of magnitude difference).

          BSD proponents rather tend to argue that when companies don't give back, that's perfectly fine, too, since the original code is still freely available, and a derived product with improvements - even if closed source - is better than no improvements at all.

          • I haven't ever seen argue that. It's blatantly obvious that when there is no legal requirement to open code, fewer companies will do so (some still will where it benefits them, but obviously it's going to be an orders of magnitude difference).

            Not exactly. It is obvious that where there is a legal requirement to give back then everyone who modifies the software and distributes it will give back changes. It is obvious that where there is no legal requirement, some people who modify and distribute the software will not give back. It is also obvious that, where there is no legal requirement to give back, more people will modify and distribute the code. Finally, it's also obvious that some companies will give back modifications that they don't d

        • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Thursday June 07, 2012 @02:55PM (#40247861) Homepage

          Android is a perfect example of this - While the userspace Android stack is open source, the Apache license allows vendors to close the source and not release any modifications.

          Pretty much all of them do, except for those working on Google's reference devices (the Nexus series).

          Now I can understand closing up your "special sauce" modifications like custom UI skins and additional applications - but these companies close down their HALs and frequently change their HAL interfaces so they differ from the Android standards, making it difficult for those who want to run pure AOSP on a non-Nexus device to do so. There is no benefit to doing this - it only pisses people off if they are unhappy with your skin but are unable to change it.

          Samsung is especially bad in this regard - they will find every excuse they can to avoid providing source. For example:
          The wifi drivers for the ath6k chip in the Tab 7.0 Plus and Tab 7.7 are apparently dual-licensed (BSD/GPL) by Atheros. Samsung chose BSD - so as a result owners of those devices are stuck with shitty wifi that doesn't work well and can't be fixed.
          AT&T released an OTA update to Gingerbread for the Samsung Infuse. Two weeks later, Samsung still had not provided kernel source in compliance with the GPL. At this point, AT&T stopped providing the update due to issues with the touchscreen drivers. A week later, Samsung claimed they did not need to provide source for that release because the update was no longer being provided. This is in conflict with the GPL - Samsung DID provide binaries officially to many users, and they are legally obligated to provide source to those users.

          In a manner HIGHLY atypical for them given their corporate history, Sony seems to be the only company in the Android ecosystem that isn't paying lip service to open source. They provided ICS alphas and betas (INCLUDING kernel source) to the community, have provided technical documentation and assistance to the Cyanogenmod team that has been greatly instrumental in bringup of Cyanogenmod on Sony devices, have open-sourced their sensor HAL even when they didn't have to, and actually have a developer relations guy (Karl-Johan Dahlström) that does his job. (As opposed to Samsung's developer relations guy, who just cross-posts to XDA teasing of "awesome things to come" and completely failing to deliver, and tweeting source code release announcements for source code releases that have already been out for a week or more.) It's enough that there's a good chance my next phone will be a Sony despite a historical hatred of them for their past bad behavior in other business areas.

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Android is a perfect example of this - While the userspace Android stack is open source, the Apache license allows vendors to close the source and not release any modifications.

            Pretty much all of them do, except for those working on Google's reference devices (the Nexus series).

            Now I can understand closing up your "special sauce" modifications like custom UI skins and additional applications - but these companies close down their HALs and frequently change their HAL interfaces so they differ from the Androi

          • In a manner HIGHLY atypical for them given their corporate history, Sony seems to be the only company in the Android ecosystem that isn't paying lip service to open source. They provided ICS alphas and betas (INCLUDING kernel source) to the community, have provided technical documentation and assistance to the Cyanogenmod team that has been greatly instrumental in bringup of Cyanogenmod on Sony devices, have open-sourced their sensor HAL even when they didn't have to, and actually have a developer relations guy (Karl-Johan Dahlström) that does his job. (As opposed to Samsung's developer relations guy, who just cross-posts to XDA teasing of "awesome things to come" and completely failing to deliver, and tweeting source code release announcements for source code releases that have already been out for a week or more.) It's enough that there's a good chance my next phone will be a Sony despite a historical hatred of them for their past bad behavior in other business areas.

            Damm NDA, I could explain a lot's of things about that had I not naively signed that useless document... I will just remind you that the phone from Sony are not really from SONY the ass-raping company, they are from Sony-Ericsson. It is a joint venture between the two. It's corporate governance is setted up pretty much like ST-Ericsson and LG-Ericsson...

            • by Andy Dodd (701)

              That's why I'm kind of watching Sony in the days since they purchased Ericsson's share of the joint venture to see where things go... I'm giving Samsung some time to shape up and Sony a bit more time to see if they continue playing nice.

        • by nahpets77 (866127)
          Sometimes companies won't touch the code at all unless it's a BSD style license because of various legal reasons. Personally, I'd rather see companies using BSD code with the possibility of some of them releasing there changes than having companies not use the code at all because it's GPL'ed.
      • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @01:59PM (#40247187) Homepage

        They're abiding by the terms of the GPL and considering giving more than is required. It's a company, not a charity.

        Yet companies seem happy to take other people's charity in the form of BSD code. The GPL is more of a barter with "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine" but I'll take that over giving gifts and getting little or none in return any day.

        • You seem to assume that companies won't give back to BSDL code. The two big BSDL projects that I contribute to, LLVM and FreeBSD, both get a large amount of code from corporate users. And many of these corporate users chose those projects precisely because they are unwilling to allow any GPL'd code into the building. For them, the choice is either use something BSDL or use something proprietary. Personally, I'd rather they used our code and gave back something (although maybe not all of their improvemen
      • Abiding by the terms, but are they abiding by the spirit of GPL? I'm genuinely interested in opinions on this, especially those who follow licensing more closely than I do.

        From the GPL preamble: "Therefore, you have certain responsibilities... if you modify it: responsibilities to respect the freedom of others." Is Intel's statement good enough? Alternatively, am I misinterpreting the spirit of GPL?

      • They're abiding by the terms of the GPL and considering giving more than is required. It's a company, not a charity.

        Absolutely, I though the response was totally appropriate. When Jerry's Kids develop some kernel upgrades, I'll expect them to divulge everything they find and make the results FOSS. Until then, this sounds good to me.

        Some folks seem to think it's unethical to try and run an IT related business these days based on the comments.

      • by neokushan (932374) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @02:23PM (#40247485)

        Android is not GPL, it's Apache:

        http://source.android.com/source/licenses.html [android.com]

        The linux Kernel is a different matter but this is an Android code change, not a Linux one. Intel doesn't have to release anything, ever.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        It's failing to realize that if they give back to the community, they get back. It goes both ways.

      • They're abiding by the terms of the GPL and considering giving more than is required. It's a company, not a charity.

        Google's going to hate it when they end up competing against their own hacked code base, then maybe the strategic stupidity of the permissive license will finally sink in.

    • Intel is a public company. They have a fiduciary duty to be profitable not charitable.
      • And yet they use an open source product to promote their products.....so what Microsoft not working out for you Intel.......
        • And they've contributed immensely to the open source community. What's your point?
          • 'In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it. I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,'

            That's the point. Who are the "competitors" that aren't contributing.
      • Intel is a public company. They have a fiduciary duty to be profitable.

        FTFY. Public companies are allowed to look to the future and recognize how good citizenship can maintain and grow market share. In fact, giving up greater long term profits in exchange for short term gains can very easily be argued to be against their fiduciary duty.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Galestar (1473827)

      I'm glad to see that altruism is still alive and well, when it's required and only based off other people's work.

      If they decide not to actually use their research why should they help their competitors? The GPL does not require them to publish until they distribute and I have no qualms with this.

      • by neokushan (932374)

        Why are people constantly quoting the GPL? Android is NOT GPL, it uses the Apache license [android.com]. The linux Kernel is GPL, of course, but this isn't about a linux improvement, it's about an Android improvement. Android code means Intel doesn't have to release anything, ever.

        Considering that Intel is very much the underdog when it comes to Android (So far there's been one Intel powered Android phone on the market and it's very much a budget offering - a good one, but it's not going to take on the legions of ARM dev

        • by Galestar (1473827)
          Well I'm not entirely convinced at this point whether or not their improvements on on Android or in Linux. If it is indeed Android only they have even *less* obligation to contribute upstream, and even less reason for people to bitch about Intel's stance here. If someone is following the license people have no right to cry foul. Blame the license not the entity following it.
  • In essence I guess that's what they are saying: Intel will develop improved multicore handling for Android, but keep the ideas they develop in house. Nothing wrong with that I guess.

    • by Galestar (1473827)
      No, that is not what they are saying. What they are saying is they are researching it, but will not be publishing their research until such a time as they decide they want it used (either by them shipping it or by committing upstream to get others to ship it). This is the fundamental nature of how the GPL works, so no, nothing wrong with that.
      • Here's the quote:

        'In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it. I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,'

        He's saying that other don't do R&D. Which is curious, considering the amount of R&D that went into Android and how little Android needs Intel.
        • He's saying that other don't do R&D.

          That's quite the misunderstanding you've got there.

          .. if they're not going to contribute ...

          Note how it says "contribute" rather than "do R&D"? That might mean something, like Intel doesn't believe its competitors are contributing, not that it believes its competitors aren't doing R&D.

        • by Dog-Cow (21281)

          Reading comprehension fail.

          How the Hell did you get from "I don't like doing R&D for competitors" to "other[sic] don't do R&D"?

    • Could they license the ideas/methods to phone manufacturers directly, so that they could ship their phones with a specially patched version of Android?
  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @01:50PM (#40247037)

    The whole article reeks of PR and marketspeak. "Of course we can do better than everyone else", "no way is ARM going to beat us, our single core is better than their dual-core!"

    My response to Intel is to put up or shut up. Or be ignored, since I know they won't do the latter (they didn't get to be a 100+ billion dollar company by not marketing the hell out of their product).

    • Intel marketing is not why they are top of the heap. They make a better product by almost any metric.
      • In the cell phone market? I think not.
        • by geekoid (135745)

          yes, in the cell phone market. Intel is a Semi-conductor company. They don't just make CPUs.
          That's why they did so well in 2011.

    • Oh wait, no, the other one, I mean it is THE shit. The ICC produces the most optimized code out there. It's amazing when you see a test of compilers there is some back and forth among tests, with newer compilers generally being faster than older ones (like Visual Studio 6 is pathetically bad VS 10 is pretty good). Then, above them all, is the ICC. On every test.

      So know what? I'm going to say Intel knows something about optimization, perhaps more than anyone else in the world. They may well have some good op

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Android is built upon the Linux kernel and userland.You would think that the performance he was talking about would be in the kernel itself, not the Android stack. Unless he was talking about how badly Android (and by extension, Java) operated on a multi-core or hyper-threaded processor., but otherwise, wouldn't the improvements would be given back to the Linux kernel as processor improvements, something that Intel has always done in the past

  • by WilliamBaughman (1312511) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @02:07PM (#40247291)
    Mike Bell is talking about something he says Intel is"working on, not something that Intel is shipping or even something that he claims is totally functional and free of bugs. There's a big distinction between "we're greedy bastards" and "we're not releasing source to beta versions of undistributed software." I think the summary could reflect better.
    • 'In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it. I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves,'

      The summary was correct. Read it again.
      • The summary isn't wrong, but it seems like a lot of people who are reading it (and commenting) are getting the impression that Intel has already made improvements and is using them on shipping devices without knowing if it's going to give them back.
  • Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_soup [wikipedia.org] Intel of all comnpanies should know how this works.
  • by aaronb1138 (2035478) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @04:27PM (#40249021)

    I wonder if some of the issue is actually Intel vetting approval from their legal department. A lot of people like to point at Intel engineering and point and say look at all the cool stuff they holding back and only offering as binary blobs. The reality is that their middle management business to business side keeps letting 3rd parties write horrific terms into contracts.

    I know with Atom CPU development that the GPU is extremely encumbered by NDAs with PowerVR which prevent Intel from releasing any decent drivers for Linux or Android. There was even one support technician who commented on the fact that he compiled working Android x86 graphics drivers for GMA 500/600 based hardware only to find out from his boss that they could not be released because parts of the code tree where contaminated by bits of PowerVR code. The technician in question goes by "pinebud77" on YouTube and just "PineBud" on pocketables.com. At the time, about 2 years ago, Intel then and up through now, has had to completely rewrite their drivers for GMA graphics on both Windows and *nix platforms due to bad legal agreements. They've had to go so far as to reverse engineer drivers they had already paid for. It has even been questioned how much this killed Meego development in early stages.

    I suspect there might be similar bad deals with partners hurting Intel here. The gist I have gotten is that they don't want to withhold drivers or technology, but even when they back up a Brinks truck of cash, they get screwed on contract terms by 3rd parties. The management folks don't have any clue why they might need rights to code they buy from Imagination Technology, Tungsten, or others.

    I know the article is related to multi-threading CPU processes, which Intel definitely has a lot of their own engineering invested, but I wouldn't take the "I don't like doing R&D for competitors if they're not going to contribute themselves," as the sole reason. Further, seriously consider the current x86 vs ARM environment. If you look at the article comments and forums at many other tech news sites (namely arstechnica.com and theverge.com) there are a LOT of relatively ignorant people who seem to think various ARM architectures are vastly superior in computing power to x86 and trying to turn it into some kind of architecture holy war on the scale of AMD vs. Intel vs. Cyrix debates of years past. People who actually think that ARM has equivalent processing power to low end i5 CPUs, when top end quad core ARM CPU's can't even match the FPU performance of 4 year old ATOM single cores. It's even harder to explain to those crowds the massive issues ARM has with scaling and multitasking due to huge bandwidth to IO busses bottlenecks. All of these factors give Intel very good reasons not to share their undertakings with competitors who have brainwashed enough masses to no longer need to compete on merits. I'll give various ARM implementations the performance to battery use crown all day, it's a great CPU for something like a smartphone. When I hear derpity derp about ARM for high utilization clusters though, I vomit a bit in my throat.

    • by Microlith (54737)

      It has even been questioned how much this killed Meego development in early stages.

      No impact, I imagine. There were Xorg drivers for PowerVR, at least on ARM. But MeeGo wasn't being pushed on their mobile chips with the PowerVR GPU, only on ones backed by their own IGP.

      Nokia did far, far more to kill MeeGo than PowerVR ever did.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        It has even been questioned how much this killed Meego development in early stages.

        No impact, I imagine. There were Xorg drivers for PowerVR, at least on ARM. But MeeGo wasn't being pushed on their mobile chips with the PowerVR GPU, only on ones backed by their own IGP.

        Nokia did far, far more to kill MeeGo than PowerVR ever did.

        maybe there's a reason there.

        it would have made far more sense to push meego on the hw they're pushing android now on(with non intel gpu's).

  • 'Where we are required to give back to open source, we do,' said Bell. 'In cases where it's not required to be open source, I'm going to think about it.'

    OK think about it, Mike, but keep your proprietary, non peer-reviewed crap. I don't want it. And if you feel the need to put some of that crap on your own processors, you can keep those too.

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

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