By Kevin Krewell, irias Research
EETimes (February 02, 2021)
“Open Source” has multiple meanings in the context of hardware designs: an open specification, open/free design files/RTL, designs with expired patent/copyright protection, designs that were dumped when the sponsor decided to discontinue support—otherwise known as abandonware.
As such, the value of open-source hardware varies. Many original open-source hardware projects were small, with limited impact on the chip design business. While it is not the first open-source hardware project, probably the best-known and the one that has had he biggest impact on the industry is RISC-V (pronounced “risk five”).
RISC-V changed the game.
The open-source chip effort started as an academic project at University of California at Berkley, the same institution that produced the first reduced instruction set computer (RISC) CPU: the RISC-1. Among the architecture’s founders was David Patterson, who wrote the seminal research paper on RISC. RISC-1 went on to become the Sun Micro SPARC processor. In the 1980s, RISC illustrated how viable companies could be built around a new processor architecture.
Click here to read more ...