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Re: Value Message from PCI-SIG Chairman

Roger Tipley wrote:
> With PCI evolving to include higher speeds, more
> efficient modes of operation, and new form factors,
> the PCI-SIG is at the forefront of leading the
> industry to keep PCI viable, and targeted at 21st
> century products.  With 100s of millions of PCI
> products sold each year, it behooves us all to keep
> the standard vibrant, alive and interoperable.

I completely agree. And that it why I think that PCI-SIG should
carefully consider the issues being raised here. In the past, the high
cost of entry kept all but big deep pocket players out of the process.
But the inevitable advance of technology has changed the equation so
that building truly compliant PCI boards is well within the reach of
even a college student on a limited budget, and PCI-SIG needs to
consider the implications of that.
> To fund SIG programs, your company pays an annual
> dues, and for that dues receives several rights,
> protections and benefits.  80% of your company's $3000
> annual membership fee in 2001 goes into programs that
> you as members see as direct, tangible benefits.  The
> remaining amount funds programs that enable the PCI
> standard to continue to be an industry success.

Oops, we've been using a number of $2500. Sigh...

Let me try to lay out the issues involved as I see them, from the point
of view of a very small company. All the issues raised in the rest of
the letter make sense if you are building 30,000 boards or chips or
whatever per year that are going to be sold widely. The membership fees
add a measly $0.10 or less to the cost of the board, and the value
obtained in relation may indeed be high.

But I am a little guy in a niche market, who is lucky to sell 30 boards
per year (and I am not interested in making that 30,000). So for $100 or
more per board:

Benefit 1: Fortunately, the spec is pretty well written. The Znyx forum
seems to work very well on clarifying minor points, and getting info on
real world implementations. I am definitely very grateful to them.

Benefit 2: I would have to carefully consider whether I could justify
the expense of going to a plugfest. Yes, it may save a large company
millions of dollars, but that certainly does not apply to me. I deal
with every single problem promptly on an individual basis.

Benefit 3: It is the nature of one person companies that the person
involved is unlikely to want this sort of training. We tend to be
aggressive self starters and self learners.

Benefit 4: I really don't need a unique vendor ID. I would be quite
happy to share one that was officially registered as "Brand X". And by
the way, I would be quite willing to pay a reasonable fee for this. But
nowhere near $3000.

Benefit 5: An official PCI logo does not add value in the kind of market
I am in.

Benefit 6: I am not interested in cutting edge early access. I am
satisfied with established standards, and am willing to wait for
official releases of new standards. And I will make every effort to
comply with those standards, as long as major roadblocks are not put in
the way.

I consider the $3000 to be a major roadblock, and a very large cost to a
small company. I think that PCI-SIG needs to recognize that times have
changed and they need to consider that small companies are going to put
out PCI boards and products, and it is in the interest of the PCI-SIG to
retain control of the process. The way to retain control is to put in
place a mechanism and cost that makes sense to our companies.

Leeward Engineering