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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Free firmware - A redefinition of the term and a n

From: David Craven
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Free firmware - A redefinition of the term and a new metric for it's measurement.
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:41:24 +0100

> I had followed some earlier developments but had lost track recently!
> I'm happy to see that they have released the sources of their
> microcontroller chip design.

It's more than a microcontroller chip design. The people behind sifive are
from uc berkeley and also developed a full gcc toolchain backend, a linux
port, a qemu and a clang port.

They have taped out multiple chips capable of booting Linux, and are
still working on putting the finishing touches on the privileged architecture
spec which is an open collaborative effort of the RISCV foundation, before
releasing their SoC.. The sifive developers play an important role there.

Benchmarks for code size and performance show that their SoC and the
ISA they developed is comparable to and out performs at least all ARM
cortex-a chips with an in-order-pipeline.

They also are developing and have taped out an out-of-order core. All of
their developments are released as free hardware.

Their specifications have enabled me to study a real world instruction set
architecture, studying something like ARM or x86 - I'm sure people have
looked at those manuals - are not something a beginner can study to
any form of completeness, they are simply to large and too complicated.


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