To USB or Not to USB


Why USB 3.0 isn't forked

I was told at lunch my stuff is getting stale.  Well here’s something I didn’t publish from 6 weeks ago.

For those of you who missed this, apparently someone has an axe-to-grind with the USB 3.0 Host authors.

The article says that USB 3.0 will bifurcate or “fork” into 2 different standards because USB 1.0 forked 11 years ago with 2 host standards OHCI and UHCI.  The article says because the USB 3.0 Host Spec isn’t available, USB 3.0 will bifurcate also.  The author will wait for USB 3.1.

What a load of horsefeathers.
(The author of the article gets credit for clever use of the word “fork”)

The people that invented USB, learned a lot with USB 1.0. 

The short story: The EHCI standard was made public.  The agreement to use the standard can be found here.  You can even see earlier revisions of the standard here. Within 3 years of USB 2.0’s deployment, something like 85% of hard drives and optical drives had converted to USB.   Most PCs had USB 2.0 as a standard feature by 2003.  Everyone with a PC Chipset found a way to deploy USB 2.0 quickly.

If you look at “open” standards, like those find in the IEEE, you will find all kinds of delays based on dogma, personality, politics, and corporate agendas.  Look at 802.11n.   I respect the people that participate in IEEE a lot, but anyone working in those committees knows exactly what I’m  talking about.

Open up the standard early, bring in lots of people, delay the standard further.  Yeah, great idea.

I expect USB 3.0 will deploy similarly to USB 2.0 and (again) consumer and manufacturers will benefit.
Background about 10 of you will read:
About 11 years ago, 2 USB 1.x host standards emerged:  UHCI and OHCI.  Microsoft, National Semiconductor, and Compaq developed OHCI.  This allowed the development of discrete chips that could be put in on a motherboard or add-in cards for easy addition to existing PCs.  A side benefit emerged that you could use OHCI chips in systems with lighter, less CPU intensive systems like game consoles and set top boxes.  OHCI could be used in ARM and StrongARM based systems with less CPU overhead.  That was why the standard bifurcated or “forked” 11 years ago.

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