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      /  Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
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AmigaNoob 
Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 10-Apr-2022 9:31:25
#1 ]
Member
Joined: 14-Oct-2021
Posts: 10
From: Unknown

I'm wondering if the Apollo guys have some sort of license to implement a 68k core? Or are old instruction sets still proprietary?

According to this article https://www.ele.uri.edu/faculty/sendag/papers/micro2016_2.pdf

Quote:
proprietary ISAs are not guaranteed to last. Rather, the ISA is tied to the fortunes of a particular company such that if the
company dies, it takes its ISAs with it. An
excellent example of this point is Digital
Equipment Corp.; its demise terminated the
Alpha and VAX ISAs.


This tells me that currently, NXP holds the rights of 68k ISA? Then even if 68k patents expired, it is still not allowed to implement the ISA by anyone without a license?

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 10-Apr-2022 10:38:16
#2 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 12145
From: Norway

@AmigaNoob

A patent lasts 20 years, proprietary means its not public information, like for example open source.

x86 has lot different clones, like Citrix and the AMD CPU’s, not sure how that is now if the sub license, but you get the point?

You can make something that looks and behaves as something else as long as over 20 years, and as long it does have same logos and names. You can’t request the originals designs, they no obligation to share. The design is as protected as any original work of art.

and just because the patent is experience, the original work and art is protected under copyright laws. In short, if you use parts of original works and arts, in your design you need to get license to sell, or buy the right to distribute.

Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 10-Apr-2022 at 10:42 AM.
Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 10-Apr-2022 at 10:41 AM.

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matthey 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 10-Apr-2022 18:03:20
#3 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

@AmigaNoob
As NutsAboutAmiga states, patents expire in 20 years which makes it safer to reimplement an ISA in a new design. It is likely not legal to copy an existing design like the 68060 as it contains copyrighted material. Code is copyrightable regardless of the destination form which can be a compiled software binary or a hardware ASIC. The ISA is to hardware as the API is to software and APIs can be reimplemented too. Patents can protect a specific implementation of both an ISA or API. Choosing older designs makes it safer to copy ISAs but it would be good to have a lawyer specialized in IP review everything used. The Natami Team, predecessor to the Apollo Team, asked Freescale if they had a problem with them developing a new 68k core and they stated they didn't but this was likely more about being respectful.

The J-core architecture is a reimplemtation of the SuperH architecture. Jeff Dionne corresponded with the Hitachi and later IP owners of SuperH in Japan who generally supported and helped him. He still had a lawyer review everything. The 68k architecture is older than SuperH and influence it as Hitachi had a license to produce the 68000 before Motorola sued them for 68k IP showing up in some of their other designs. SuperH was later licensed to ARM for the Thumb ISA which allowed ARM to dominate the embedded market. In my opinion, Thumb2 is superior to SuperH which was inferior to the 68k. In any case, the 68k dominated the embedded market, followed by SuperH, followed by Thumb2.

As NutsAboutAmiga also mentioned, there have been multiple x86(-64) ISA users. AMD was the 2nd source producer for Intel, like Hitachi was for the 68k, so AMD started with some IP licensed. As I recall, there were lawsuits between Intel and AMD over newer architecture changes, like the ISA, before they started to cross-license IP. AMD ended up having a strong hand in negotiations when they created the successful AMD64 ISA, which Intel implements with minor differences as INTEL64 and which together may be called x86-64, x86_64 and x64.

Last edited by matthey on 10-Apr-2022 at 11:49 PM.

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fishy_fis 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 10-Apr-2022 23:27:09
#4 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 2030
From: Australia

@matthey

Quote:
which Intel calls x86-64


No it doesn't, nor has it ever.
Intel calls it Intel64, and EMT64.

"x64-64" is the general name to describe the ISA. It's neither what AMD or Intel use for their implementation.

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fishy_fis 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 10-Apr-2022 23:29:17
#5 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 2030
From: Australia

@AmigaNoob

You're correct, but the Apollo team dont seem to care about stealing from others to make a $.
CoffinOS was just pirated AmigaOS as well for eg.

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matthey 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 11-Apr-2022 0:15:13
#6 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

fishy_fis Quote:

No it doesn't, nor has it ever.
Intel calls it Intel64, and EMT64.

"x64-64" is the general name to describe the ISA. It's neither what AMD or Intel use for their implementation.


AMD and Intel both have referred to the 64 bit x86 ISA generally as x86-64 but their specific implementations are AMD64 and Intel 64 with minor differences.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86-64#History_2

Intel 64 was first launched as EM64T not "EMT64".

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AmigaNoob 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 11-Apr-2022 1:19:35
#7 ]
Member
Joined: 14-Oct-2021
Posts: 10
From: Unknown

Thanks for the answers. So I'm guessing that just copying or making something that's inspired by that ISA is safe however implementing the ISA will get you into trouble if it's the same/similar to an existing implementation that is patented/copyrighted?

Another article I found seems to suggest that this is the case https://www.eejournal.com/article/is-an-instruction-set-an-api/

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kolla 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 11-Apr-2022 2:17:49
#8 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2088
From: Trondheim, Norway

@AmigaNoob

Noone has any interest in putting 68k in ASIC anyways, all modern implementations are on FPGA and are as such “safe”.

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matthey 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 11-Apr-2022 4:46:39
#9 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

AmigaNoob Quote:

Thanks for the answers. So I'm guessing that just copying or making something that's inspired by that ISA is safe however implementing the ISA will get you into trouble if it's the same/similar to an existing implementation that is patented/copyrighted?

Another article I found seems to suggest that this is the case https://www.eejournal.com/article/is-an-instruction-set-an-api/


Jim Turley's article is saying pretty close to the same thing I said above. We even made the comparison of ISA for hardware to an API for software although I didn't designate them both as "interfaces" or mention "fair use". It is not the ISA or API definition or interface that is a legal problem but the attached routine or logic that can be patented or copyrighted. A new implementation, even if a clean room reverse engineered design, should avoid copyrights but not necessarily patents, "because independent invention is not a defense against patents".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_room_design

Reusing an old ISA with expired patents removes the risk of violating the original patents although patents from newer unrelated logic may apply. This is less likely to occur as patents are supposed to be narrowly and specifically defined but big businesses are trademark happy to protect their creations and build banks of IP to cross-license if there are legal problems. Also, there is often a shortage of tech savvy judges. This has resulted in some absurd patents like the Amazon one click purchase patent (5,960,411) and Cadtrak's XOR Patent (4,197,590) which uses XOR to remove a cursor which has been drawn on the screen. The XOR patent may have contributed to the downfall of CBM because of an injunction stopping the distribution of the CD32 in the U.S. while they were in financial trouble. There is a reason why IP lawyers are among the top payed lawyers.

MorphOS and AROS are reimplementations of the AmigaOS API. I'm not aware of any lawsuits so far but old patents would be expired so copyrights violations are the biggest concern. There isn't much money involved anyway which minimizes the risk of lawsuits. Any reimplementation of the 68k ISA would likely be under the radar unless it became hugely successful. The Apollo Core in FPGA should be fairly safe as the HDL code can be updated to change the logic in case of a patent violation. It would probably be a good idea to consult an IP lawyer before creating a hardware ASIC though.

kolla Quote:

Noone has any interest in putting 68k in ASIC anyways, all modern implementations are on FPGA and are as such “safe”.


It's obvious that a 68k core at roughly 100MHz in FPGA is not competitive and will never be competitive which should make it "safe".

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kolla 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 11-Apr-2022 16:00:48
#10 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2088
From: Trondheim, Norway

@matthey

Well, what is the competition?
Mostly other CPU cores for FPGA, of which most are commercial.

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agami 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 12-Apr-2022 2:59:23
#11 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 939
From: Melbourne, Australia

@AmigaNoob

Quote:

AmigaNoob wrote:
Thanks for the answers. So I'm guessing that just copying or making something that's inspired by that ISA is safe however implementing the ISA will get you into trouble if it's the same/similar to an existing implementation that is patented/copyrighted?

Another article I found seems to suggest that this is the case https://www.eejournal.com/article/is-an-instruction-set-an-api/

Not quite.
The article doesn't just merely suggest, it flat out states that one can use the ISA as is, and that would be considered fair use. The ISA is a communication interface.

The issues arise when one party feels that progress/advancements are made by having unlicensed access to copyrighted/patented materials.

Example: If I wanted to, and if I had Warren Buffet money, I could build a new CPU architecture which implements the x86-64 ISA. As long as I don't hire a single engineer that has ever had access to Intel/AMD designs, and even better if they all used ARM-based computers to do the core design. That way, any similarities to core designs present or past are proven to be incidental.

A major challenge of course is how do I hire CPU design engineers who as part of their university degree were not exposed to intel/AMD designs, or parts thereof?

There are various reverse engineering tactics that are deployed to get around these types of challenges, but I won't get into it here. Suffice to say, it's all very expensive.

The other key aspect of IP law, is that the onus is on the IP holder to protect themselves. There is no independent IP police, or automatic flagging of implementation of ones patented technology. The IP holder is required to be diligent and challenge others.

Another example: I have over the years registered several patents, going back to 2000 when I was talking to Bill McEwen about an Amiga Gaming handheld. Think A500 mini but intended to "compete" with the then upcoming Nintendo Gameboy Advance. Since many Amiga games where not designed for running on a keyboard-less device, and the games licensing and distribution landscape was a mess, my brother and I had to design a few new solutions for these problems.

If someone, somewhere in the world, implemented a solution that is exactly as described in my patent, I would not know about it. As the patent holder, it is my job to watch and challenge when I see something that could be a violation of my IP rights.

Patent offices around the globe don't make it any easier either: Since the dot-com era they've progressively moved to "approve all patent filings and let the challenges work through the legal systems".

The IP protection system is in dire need of a complete overhaul. It no longer serves its original purpose, and the current landscape, especially copyright, is tantamount to running the gauntlet, through a minefield, inside a labyrinth. Oh wait, that's the plot device for The Maze Runner.

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kolla 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 8:23:51
#12 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2088
From: Trondheim, Norway

@agami

Patents that lack implementations are also generally frawned upon.
You can patent all kinds of ideas, but unless they within a reasonable time frame materialize as actual products, you won’t get much help from the courts.

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Anonymous 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 5-May-2022 9:12:00
# ]

0
0

@AmigaNoob

Diablo II: Resurrected Public Test Realms Launch Tomorrow, The Ladder Test is Coming Soon

It appears Diablo II: Resurrected is taking steps forward on a number of long-anticipated features, because Blizzard has announced the game's Public Test Realm (PTR) will go live on April 1st. In the beginning it is expected that the PTR will be for testing new back-end server things, but Blizzard promises to test update 2.4 which will finally bring Ladder Play, is "coming shortly."

As stated, the update 2.4 will include Ladder play (Diablo's name for an online competitive Realm where everybody's progress is evaluated and scored) as well as some modifications to mercenaries. There will also be various tweaks to individual classes. You can get the lowdown on the Ladders and mercenaries below, and the changes that are coming to different classes, right here.

If you want to know more about Diablo 2: Resurrected,you can visit p2pah.com/diablo-2-items.html

 
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billt 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 5-May-2022 14:30:24
#14 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Oct-2003
Posts: 3199
From: Maryland, USA

@agami

Quote:
A major challenge of course is how do I hire CPU design engineers who as part of their university degree were not exposed to intel/AMD designs, or parts thereof?


That shouldn't be as hard as you seem to think. Maybe intel/amd are in use now or somewhat recently, but in my day at that school the computer architecture and computer organization classes were about mips. More recently i took another related course that wasnt really any particular commercial instruction set, it was only about making up some binary opcodes for a few operstions and getting them doing that. And Risc-V is trendy now where I have seen, such as

https://www.vlsisystemdesign.com/riscv-based-myth/

https://www.udemy.com/course/vsd-pipelining-risc-v-with-transaction-level-verilog/?ranMID=39197&ranEAID=k*VTdGlCbXg&ranSiteID=k.VTdGlCbXg-76.GYHReWp.xkiiZzdQKFA&LSNPUBID=k*VTdGlCbXg&utm_source=aff-campaign&utm_medium=udemyads



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billt 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 5-May-2022 15:00:05
#15 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Oct-2003
Posts: 3199
From: Maryland, USA

@kolla

Quote:
Noone has any interest in putting 68k in ASIC anyways, all modern implementations are on FPGA and are as such “safe”.


How does an fpga make it "safe"?]

Last edited by billt on 08-May-2022 at 12:01 AM.

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Hypex 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 5-May-2022 18:14:30
#16 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 10571
From: Greensborough, Australia

@AmigaNoob

I had a discussion about this recently with a member of my Amiga club that does hardware designs. And the subject of taking the 68080 design and putting it into an ASiC came up. I was told that if anyone attempted to produce another 68K ASIC that NXP would sue their pants off and all CPUs would be destroyed.

I was also told that 68060 chips can run up to 1Ghz. If they are seriously cooled. And holes drilled into the chips.

Last edited by Hypex on 05-May-2022 at 06:15 PM.

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kolla 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 5-May-2022 18:31:14
#17 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2088
From: Trondheim, Norway

@billt

CPU cores implemented on FPGAs are not in direct competition with their ASIC cousins, neither in performance nor physically. So they are “safe”.

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matthey 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 5-May-2022 20:26:18
#18 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

Hypex Quote:

I had a discussion about this recently with a member of my Amiga club that does hardware designs. And the subject of taking the 68080 design and putting it into an ASiC came up. I was told that if anyone attempted to produce another 68K ASIC that NXP would sue their pants off and all CPUs would be destroyed.


The InnovASIC Fido ASIC using the 68k CPU32 ISA was produced and is still available on the market.

https://www.digikey.com/catalog/en/partgroup/fido1100/11753

Few people know law and hardware design. Law is not as logical.

Hypex Quote:

I was also told that 68060 chips can run up to 1Ghz. If they are seriously cooled. And holes drilled into the chips.


The 68060 may fail to operate correctly if cooled too far out of the operating range. Maybe he meant 100MHz. I have caught myself saying and typing gigabytes of memory when I meant megabytes of memory as it applies to the Amiga too. Technology and bloat has increased by several orders of magnitude.

kolla Quote:

CPU cores implemented on FPGAs are not in direct competition with their ASIC cousins, neither in performance nor physically. So they are “safe”.


FPGA CPU cores are not competitive in power, performance, area or price with mass produced ASIC CPU cores. Small CPU cores in small FPGAs are more competitive than large CPU cores in more expensive FPGAs. Not making much money due to lack of competitiveness is safer anyway. Not making much money hasn't stopped Amiga related lawsuits but the people responsible are emotional ideologues rather than pragmatic business people.

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agami 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 6-May-2022 2:44:27
#19 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 939
From: Melbourne, Australia

@Hypex

Quote:
I was told that if anyone attempted to produce another 68K ASIC that NXP would sue their pants off and all CPUs would be destroyed.

Yeah, that's not how it works.
When it comes to IP, companies don't go from zero to sue unless it is a clear breach of a specifically stipulated clause in a mutually agreed contract.

If NXP had any IP claim to our fictional 68080 design implemented in ASIC, they would more than likely request a license fee as part of their clearly outlined brief.

The company producing the fictional 68080 ASIC could then potentially refer to the copyright act in the specific jurisdiction and see what degree of redesign of an original work renders said copyright claim null and void, and may prepare their own brief back to NXP elaborating their position.

If for some reason these two organizations can't come to some sort of workable agreement, one of them may turn to the courts to pursue their desired outcome.

Last edited by agami on 06-May-2022 at 02:47 AM.

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Jose 
Re: Is 68k a proprietary instruction set?
Posted on 6-May-2022 22:36:13
#20 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 967
From: Unknown

Funny because love or hate the classics, given how 060 prices have gone up I'd say an ASIC to be used in an 060 card would sell like hot cakes if the price was right.

The major hurdle would probably be governments (think like Intel Management Engine and AMD's PSP), but that's a controversial topic...

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