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Toward True Open Hardware

Timothy Miller, Founder, Open Graphics Project

Track: Emerging Topics
Date: Wednesday, July 25
Time: 2:35pm - 3:20pm
Location: D135

In late 2004, Timothy Miller found himself in the frustrating position of trying to select a graphics card for his Linux box. He, like many others, was stymied by the poor to non-existent open source support from graphics card vendors. An experienced graphics chip designer, he came to a resolution that day to solve the problem once and for all. “We will design open source graphics cards,” he said. Thus was born the Open Graphics Project (OGP). Since that time, a sizable community has grown up around the OGP, and two legal entities have been formed to support it: Traversal Technology to fabricate the hardware, and the Open Hardware Foundation to support the community. Developing hardware, especially on a tiny budget, can be difficult and time-consuming. But with the release of OGD1, the OGP has proven their resolve and persistence. OGD1 is a completely open source/free design FPGA-based development platform for graphics cards and numerous other kinds of Open Hardware projects. For our presentation, we will give an overview of graphics technology and the design of OGD1. Then, we will perform a live demonstration of a graphics engine working on the OGD1 platform and describe the challenges we have faced in getting there. Finally, we will tell how we plan to continue work on this design and give a preview of future designs we have in store.