the evolution of computer hardware

Eric Watt Forste (
Fri, 18 Jul 1997 11:21:06 -0700

I thought that this might be of interest to some of the computer
professionals on the extropians list. If I had to take a wild guess,
I'd figure that this is going to go the way of the MicroChannel
bus (for those of you who remember that). The open PCI bus seems
much better established right now than ISA was at the time of
MicroChannel, when ISA was already beginning to show its flaws.
Without Intel's participation, I doubt i2o is going to get very
far, and given that Intel has been a heavy supporter (e. g. the
Triton chipsets) of the PCI bus so far, I don't know why they'd
want to backtrack. But from a memetic-evolution perspective, this
looks like a bunch of yeast cells getting together to form a
"Committee to Discourage Sexual Reproduction". At a simpler
level, this is just trade-unionism, I guess.

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The i2o Bus: A Conspiracy Against Free Software?

Bruce Perens (
Wed, 16 Jul 97 11:40 PDT

Check out "i2o" is a developing "non-proprietary"
standard for high-performance computer peripherals. Unfortunately, it's a
closed standard, it requires a NDA, and you need a license to develop
software for it. Their terms are:

Membership is $5000/year.
You can't develop software or hardware for it without being a member.
You can't disclose source code for your drivers.
You must stop making hardware or software for it if you lose membership.
Members can vote out other members.

The backers of this are Microsoft, Novell, Hewlet-Packard, and NETFrame.
It looks as if the i2o agreements are deliberately written to exclude free

I suspect that if i2o peripherals become popular, free operating systems
will be locked out from running on PC hardware.

Please take a look at this and give me a reality check.


Bruce Perens
Debian Project Leader

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