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Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Ben Dragon
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1. Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Well, I guess everyone has heard the latest news by now. In case you haven't Scitech has ceased development of their SNAP video drivers and is selling the code... all of it... and moving onto other things.

What does this mean for eCS/OS2 users?

Well, I foresee several possibilities:


    1. Someone buys the code and
    a) drops eCS/OS2 support
    b) or continues eCS/OS2 support and either enhances it or not...

    2. No one buys the code and we're left out in the cold or... the least likely...

    3. No one buys the code and they release it as open source.



I'm hoping for the 1b option myself, or, as a distant 2nd, the last option.

But what will we, as a community, do for upcoming video hardware support if we get left out in the cold WRT video drivers?

I don't think anyone would like to go back to the situation that we had in the past prior to Scitech and SNAP, (or SDD).

There is a major new MB setup coming that, supposedly, won't require drivers as we now know it, but that hasn't happened yet and no one knows what's actually going to be in the final production version. But if it does happen as billed it will be OK for us... if and when that happens, but what will be do in the meantime?

WRT to the short term SNAP will work with what's out there, but for the long haul...

Well... I guess we could pass the hat... :\


Date: 17 Nov, 2006 on 01:27
Blonde Guy
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2. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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I'd add a possibility.

Someone buys the SNAP source code and makes it open source.

Now think about all of the possible bidders for the the OS/2 SNAP products. What kind of bid would it take to be the top dog?

I think there are OS/2 World bounties bigger than that. We might be the new owners for the equivalent of lunch money.

---
Expert Consulting for OS/2 and eComStation

Date: 17 Nov, 2006 on 06:31
melf
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3. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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I'm not familiar with costs of software source code like this. What could one expect the price would be? Is solutions like SNAP, which supports lots of cards, of interest for a grahic card manufacturer or would such a buyer just buy and drop the hole thing of reasons of competition? Could Serenity afford to buy the source code, do they want to, would it be good?

Well, this announcement is a little bit shocking but maybee not unexpected, feels like we are hanging in the air again.

---
/Mikael

Date: 17 Nov, 2006 on 09:06
flywheel
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4. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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last updated at 17 Nov, 2006 14:47 (1 times)
AFAIR SNAP Graphics for eCS is based on GRADD - which AFAIR still is closed source - therefore I do not believe that SNAP will end up as open source.


melf (17 Nov, 2006 09:06):
I'm not familiar with costs of software source code like this. What could one expect the price would be? Is solutions like SNAP, which supports lots of cards, of interest for a grahic card manufacturer or would such a buyer just buy and drop the hole thing of reasons of competition? Could Serenity afford to buy the source code, do they want to, would it be good?

There will be a minimum price, most likely including the GRADD license.

If one manufactorer is to buy it - the larger he is the better. AMD/ATI seems to me to be the perfect place for SNAP to be.

(With S3 and Intel we would only get support for integrated solutions, nVidia already got their wrapper - that works great, Matrox I would not trust to sit the right way on a toilet seat, the rest is to small - since many of us use multiple boot and also have other considerations when buying Graphics cards).

The best solution (For the consumers) would be a consortium of a handfull of manufactorers - bringing support to platforms like eCS, Linux, ZetaOS and so on.

Date: 17 Nov, 2006 on 14:37
Ben Dragon
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5. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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flywheel (17 Nov, 2006 14:47):
AFAIR SNAP Graphics for eCS is based on GRADD - which AFAIR still is closed source - therefore I do not believe that SNAP will end up as open source.

OK. Just a clarification here. Scitech are not selling just the SNAP for eCS/OS2 code... they're selling ALL the SNAP code... as one complete unit. This includes the Windows and the Linux versions. Only the eCS/OS2 version requires GRADD and I don't believe that Scitech has access to the GRADD sources.

And if what I read on that is true, the eCS/OS2 portion of SNAP comprises the smallest part of their market.

IBM owns GRADD. If Scitech finds a bug they submit a report to IBM and IBM in turn, makes the fixes and gives the updates to Scitech and they, in turn, distribute the fixes with their driver distribution.

I think that it's highly unlikely that the sale will have anything at all to do with GRADD or the licensing of it. Can anyone add anything to that?


flywheel (17 Nov, 2006 14:47):
There will be a minimum price, most likely including the GRADD license.

If one manufactorer is to buy it - the larger he is the better. AMD/ATI seems to me to be the perfect place for SNAP to be.



Not really. There sure as hell isn't any way that nVidia will allow AMD/ATI to have access to their sources given that they kept Scitech so completely in the dark.

So, SNAP would end up being just another ATI graphics driver with support for additional non-ATI video cards that presently exist in SNAP

ATI no longer makes graphics drivers for eCS/OS2 and they haven't for a long, long time. So why should they buy code to drivers for their own cards to work on another OS that they all ready dropped support for?

If memory serves me correctly ATI has some input for drivers that support their cards under Linux, but I'm not sure just how great their involvement in that is, but it think they provide the necessary information specific to each card, to those that develop the driver.

So, I can see AMD/ATI being interested in SNAP for Linux, and I can remain optimistic about them keeping in the eCS/OS2 code should they buy SNAP though I can't say that my optimism is factually grounded upon past practices, but based, rather, in blind hope.

Another large company would fit the bill... but I have no idea who that would be.


flywheel (17 Nov, 2006 14:47):
The best solution (For the consumers) would be a consortium of a handfull of manufactorers[sic] - bringing support to platforms like eCS, Linux, ZetaOS and so on.

Don't forget, any such setup would require continued investment and development of the product in order to make it a viable effort. Also, the likely reason that SNAP is being dumped is the difficultly in getting access to the necessaries from the video card manufacturers for new cards and the difficulty in keeping up with the new direction of video... that being of 3D particularly so WRT the desktop and still continue to make a profit. SNAP is a 2D driver.

Still, I sure hope someone picks it up and continues to develop it. In the meantime, if SNAP doesn't sell, then I can't see Scitech releasing it as open source, any time in the near future.

Buy it to kill it is a likely scenario.
Buy it to free it is not... though one can hope.


---

Date: 17 Nov, 2006 on 16:53
BigWarpGuy
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6. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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How much would it sell for? Would it be possible to raise the funds - as a group effort - to pay/buy it?

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Date: 17 Nov, 2006 on 21:33
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7. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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>How much would it sell for? Would it be possible to raise the funds - as a group effort - to pay/buy it?

I think we're all curious as to how much it will bring. If there was a way for us
to raise the money, the question would be could we afford the talent needed to add new chipsets, and any fees the manufacturers required for access to the tech specs? I think (if the biddings goes too high) we would be better off trying to buy the os/2 specific part of snap from the high bidder.
I think it would be great if scitech kinda followed jp software, and released a version of their software without any limitations.

kb0uov

Date: 17 Nov, 2006 on 22:19
flywheel
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8. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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OK. Just a clarification here. Scitech are not selling just the SNAP for eCS/OS2 code... they're selling ALL the SNAP code... as one complete unit. This includes the Windows and the Linux versions. Only the eCS/OS2 version requires GRADD and I don't believe that Scitech has access to the GRADD sources.

I know - but since I am an eCS user I focus on the eCS part. But my guess is that a GRADD license will be involved - I don't know if that is a wishfull thinking.


So, SNAP would end up being just another ATI graphics driver with support for additional non-ATI video cards that presently exist in SNAP ATI no longer makes graphics drivers for eCS/OS2 and they haven't for a long, long time. So why should they buy code to drivers for their own cards to work on another OS that they all ready dropped support for?

ATI got some serious problems with their Linux support - it was in that context SNAP Graphics could be a subject. The Opensource drivers lack stable 3D acceleration. The commercial drivers are far behind the nVidia ones. I have tried installing the ATi drivers, every time something goes wrong. Once I succeded but then it insisted on using the VGA output instead of the DVI. After a week I gave up and invested in SNAP Graphics for Linux. It took about 5 minutes and everything was running smoothly. The installation process and true PnP is killer features - when compaired with the official commercial ATI drivers.


The possibility for supporting more operating systems is due to the nature of the SNAP, and there's already a fully functional OS/2 support (As far as I can see the OS/2 product is the most developed.)



Don't forget, any such setup would require continued investment and development of the product in order to make it a viable effort. Also, the likely reason that SNAP is being dumped is the difficultly in getting access to the necessaries from the video card manufacturers for new cards and the difficulty in keeping up with the new direction of video... that being of 3D particularly so WRT the desktop and still continue to make a profit. SNAP is a 2D driver.

Any form of high technological support requires continued investment and development of the product in order to make it a viable effort.
Many card manufactorers are having problems with delivering easy-to-use drivers for non-Windows systems.
The consortium could be responsable for developing the nukleus drivers. This is the beauty of the SNAP split driver system. The competitors won't have to see as much as one line code. You can release the hardware dependent driver in binary form.

Date: 17 Nov, 2006 on 22:58
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9. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Hi All

Just to throw in my 2 pence worth...

There is a post from Roderick, of Mensys fame, in the scitech newsgroup which indicates that Mensys/SSI are trying to work out a solution with Scitech to what will quickly become a problem for their product, eComStation.

If the above does not happen then I think we all have to develop religous tendencies quickly and start praying that whoever gets SNAP decides to donate the non-profitable bit (bits ?) to the open source movement - including the OS/2 stuff.

Regards

Pete

Date: 18 Nov, 2006 on 02:14
miche
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10. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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IMO the best solution is to have it as open source.
None hypothetical buyer will invest money in the os/2 version...
We need the help and the effort of the linux and windows programmers to update the product, add new hardware support and so on...

We should find some 'sponsor' to buy it and release as open source.

Date: 18 Nov, 2006 on 15:15
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11. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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It won't matter.. without continued development of drivers it will soon be useless.. and most likely anyone who purchases it will develop it in a way in which new drivers cannot work with the older os/2 nucleus.


kb0uov (17 Nov, 2006 22:19):
>How much would it sell for? Would it be possible to raise the funds - as a group effort - to pay/buy it?

I think we're all curious as to how much it will bring. If there was a way for us
to raise the money, the question would be could we afford the talent needed to add new chipsets, and any fees the manufacturers required for access to the tech specs? I think (if the biddings goes too high) we would be better off trying to buy the os/2 specific part of snap from the high bidder.
I think it would be great if scitech kinda followed jp software, and released a version of their software without any limitations.

kb0uov


Date: 19 Nov, 2006 on 04:55
Kim
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12. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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I might be a slow reader, but has there been mentioned any kind of amounts what SciTech expects to get paid for the code? Also, are bundling all code together regardless OS?
Date: 19 Nov, 2006 on 09:59
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13. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Kim (19 Nov, 2006 09:59):
I might be a slow reader, but has there been mentioned any kind of amounts what SciTech expects to get paid for the code? Also, are bundling all code together regardless OS?

No, no minimum limit has been mentioned.
But naturally they'll try selling everything in one package - if that fails piece by piece - if that fails - I guess it ends up in a filecabinet in the cellar.

IMO they can't release it for opensource without making it totally useless - most of the drivers are made on the background of NDAs (Except the latest few generations of nVidia drivers that has been reverse engineered - and might not be that much worth as opensource) and there's the GRADD business to think of.

Date: 19 Nov, 2006 on 14:19
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14. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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flywheel (19 Nov, 2006 14:19):
<snip>
But naturally they'll try selling everything in one package - if that fails piece by piece - if that fails - I guess it ends up in a filecabinet in the cellar.

Hope not


IMO they can't release it for opensource without making it totally useless - most of the drivers are made on the background of NDAs (Except the latest few generations of nVidia drivers that has been reverse engineered - and might not be that much worth as opensource) and there's the GRADD business to think of.

I have to agree. I suspect there is too much proprietary, non-SciTech code in there. Too bad SNAP couldn't be opensourced. Is there a univid like there is for sound (uniaud)? I think that would be our best bet for future video drivers.

If GRADD was completely IBM developed couldn't they opensource that like they have done with some of their other code (JFS, module loading, etc.)? There probably is too much non-IBM, proprietary code in there, too, relating to graphic chip implementations. Like I wrote above - univid.

Date: 21 Nov, 2006 on 04:38
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15. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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There isn't.. because honestly no operating system without official support for video chipsets is viable as a platform. Honestly thinking that OS/2 isn't really viable as a graphics platform, but it is better then most non-supported os'es simply because it does have snap. most have to make due with simply vesa fallback mode of most video cards which is getting increasingly poor as time progresses. This doesn't fair well for us. I think they could release snap as opensource (I also believe they will not) they may have problems releasing the actual chipset drivers but the core system could defienlty be released. And gradd support wouldn't even matter.. since if they released the support driver compiled it wouldn't even need gradd components. Gradd is also a publicly available source (however I am not sure about the latest public release level. Also gradd isn't even that much of a concern if scitech decided on the opensource route since OS/2 again would not be a primary concern.

Oh well.. been fun while it lasted, and who knows what I will end up doing if and when my ati 9550 dies.


warprulz (21 Nov, 2006 04:3:

flywheel (19 Nov, 2006 14:19):
<snip>
But naturally they'll try selling everything in one package - if that fails piece by piece - if that fails - I guess it ends up in a filecabinet in the cellar.

Hope not


IMO they can't release it for opensource without making it totally useless - most of the drivers are made on the background of NDAs (Except the latest few generations of nVidia drivers that has been reverse engineered - and might not be that much worth as opensource) and there's the GRADD business to think of.

I have to agree. I suspect there is too much proprietary, non-SciTech code in there. Too bad SNAP couldn't be opensourced. Is there a univid like there is for sound (uniaud)? I think that would be our best bet for future video drivers.

If GRADD was completely IBM developed couldn't they opensource that like they have done with some of their other code (JFS, module loading, etc.)? There probably is too much non-IBM, proprietary code in there, too, relating to graphic chip implementations. Like I wrote above - univid.


Date: 21 Nov, 2006 on 06:45
flywheel
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16. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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last updated at 21 Nov, 2006 14:30 (1 times)

No, no minimum limit has been mentioned.
But naturally they'll try selling everything in one package - if that fails piece by piece - if that fails - I guess it ends up in a filecabinet in the cellar.

This wasn't meant as fatalistic as it might seem.
IMO no one is interested in buying the whole package (Except if someone like AMD wants to pull something), and I guess that no one is interested in buying the OS/2 subpackage.
IMO that is a bit of an advantage. That will hopefully force ScitechSoft to try to sell the packages seperately, and hopefully we'll end up with a small discount on the OS/2 package. (Then again I guess the licence fees could trip everything)

What I would really like is that all of it will get sold - even the BeOS alpha code (Perhaps Magnussoft and their partners would be interested) - a partnership across platforms would make SNAP much stronger, than one single OS/2 instance.

Most of this might seem as blabber - which it is, I'm of to bed - been a long day

Date: 21 Nov, 2006 on 14:18
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17. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Hi all,
After installing Scitech SNAP 3.1.8 in 02 Oct, my OS/2 box which I use at work everyday, it just had an uptime of about 49 days (wrap around is seen!):
********************************
E:/@rachel%uptime
8:28am up 0 days, 3:01:54, load: 70 processes, 276 threads.
E:/@rachel%xuptime
rachel: uptime is 49 days, 19:00 hours and 34 seconds
E:/@rachel%
***********************************

I've never been able to get an uptime of more than 2.5 weeks without the video or WPS hanging. Finally after years of waiting, Scitech finally got something for me that works and now it may be going away ;-(. This is sad!

cytan

Date: 21 Nov, 2006 on 15:31
obiwan
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18. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Don't panic guys. Nothing is decided yet, and we've been through countless episodes like this, and it has worked out anyway. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about a change in SNAP. We do not yet know the outcome of this. The very worst imaginable case is we have to use something else for video support, which, while painful, is not bad in the end, because we need more features than what SNAP currently gives us, and it gives us another reason to work on it.
Date: 21 Nov, 2006 on 19:13
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19. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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This news is indeed depressing. Now that we don't have SNAP (I know nothing is concrete at the moment), what other video drivers can we use and rely on?

I don't mean to drag on and on but without good video driver support, os/2 is indeed dead.

Date: 23 Nov, 2006 on 01:12
flywheel
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20. Re:Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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Is MGL and the SDK's included ?
Date: 24 Nov, 2006 on 12:35
Scitech, SNAP and OS/2...
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