Traversal Technologies is getting ready to release the first open architecture (for lack of better term) graphics adaptor. From their announcement, they make it clear that the first few units sold will be primarily to fund future development:
The first 100 pre-orders get a $100 discount and free accessories (programming cable that retails for $65).
I ask everyone to start pushing this. When we have a one or two more things ready, I’m going to get help from the FSF to market this. But in the mean time, it’s important for everyone on this list to help get the word out.
For us to be able to start production, we have a goal of 100 pre-orders. But it’s actually a dollar target we need to meet, so the more that get sold at the full retail price, the sooner we’ll make that target. Remember, this is a fund raiser; in order for the OGP to be able to design and build more open hardware in the future, we need to raise money. For those of you who have contributed to the OGP and are in need of a discount, please submit your application to the OHF.
I would gladly buy one if I had that kind of money to splurge, but US$1500 is way out of my current budget for something I probably won’t have any use for, as nice as the concept is. The specs are available from their FAQ page, and it’s clear that this card is expected to be used for more than just dumping pixels onto your display. Users will be able to load custom firmware on the card and use it for security and to increasesystem performance.
I wonder if it’s ready to actually be used as a display card in its current state, and whether any drivers for it exists yet. I hope that they do really well, I believe that a free hardware platform can provide many benefits to consumers, and that we’ll say many beautiful technologies emerge in the next decade because of that. I also think it’s about time that the FSF spend more time thinking about free hardware architecture, since so many people use the GPL for these kinds of projects. Not that I think it’s a bad idea, of course, it’s just that the GPL was designed for software, and I haven’t quite thought through what kind of effects that could have on the freedom of the hardware. At least GPLv3 licenced hardware would be able to stop manufacturers from locking you in to using proprietary software on the hardware (a type of flipped tivoisation)… or would it?