“So begins the first large scale open source processor project”

OpenSPARC went live today with the RTL design code for the Niagara chip. The code is licensed under the GPLv2.

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10 Responses to “So begins the first large scale open source processor project”

  1. Ofer Nave says:

    And not a moment too soon. This might be our sole lifeline as we enter the Trusted Computing era.

  2. poptones says:

    How exactly is a GPL core supposed to work? Any changes made to the core must be open? And functionality linked to the busses must be made open?

    This is an interesting development, but it is meaningless to most computer users. if you want to win the war of mindshare what is needed is not more uber-end geek toys, but more high quality and free content for those “media consumers.”

  3. Rob Myers says:

    The Free core design is a very positive development, although there is some debate over whether any hardware actually made from it would be covered by the GPL software license.

    I found Prof. Lessig’s statement on another Sun announcement here a little bizarre though:

    Lessig endorses Sun’s “open” DRM

    (Via Groklaw.)

  4. three blind mice says:

    if coca-cola made money selling bottles, it might make sense to open source the formula for coke, but it’s a bit hard for us mice to see SUN’s angle here. SUN OSDL:ed Solaris and now they do more or less the same thing with Niagara. what’s the connection?

    this will certainly interest the chinese whose Godson II “MIPS64” processor doesn’t seem to have much of a chance of becoming a platform of choice for developers, but where is the benefit to enticing Chinese manufacturers to produce Niagara-based chips if Solaris 10 is also available for use free as in no cost? is the goal to make a big footprint for JAVA and AJAX and then collect license fees there?

    poptones? you are the resident bithead, what do you think is going on?

  5. Seth Schoen says:

    Ofer Nave:

    There is no sense in which having a design for a CPU will protect you from bad effects of trusted computing. Anyone who wants to force you to use particular hardware or software can still use trusted computing to tell whether you are using that hardware or software, even if you built your PC from scratch from the CPU up. If you can’t get the crypto keys out of a TPM, you will not be able to persuade anyone that you have that TPM and you will not be able to get them to interoperate with you if you don’t follow their policies.

    To “work” in most senses, trusted computing does not rely on prohibiting people from turning it off, nor from getting computers without TPMs, nor from getting CPUs or designs for computers or the ability to fabricate electronic components.

    I keep hearing people talk about stockpiling non-TC equipment, but many of those people must misunderstand the role of TC in enforcing security policies.

  6. “In a world where DRM has become ubiquitous, we need to ensure that the ecology for creativity is bolstered, not stifled, by technology. We applaud Sun’s efforts to rally the community around the development of open-source, royalty-free DRM standards that support “fair use” and that don’t block the development of Creative Commons ideals.”
  7. This citation is taken from here and frankly it totally puzzles me, I did not understand up to now that Creative Commons had nothing to do with freedom.