[Arm-netbook] The future of EOMA-68

Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo manuel.montezelo at gmail.com
Sat May 2 21:43:14 BST 2015

2015-05-02 20:32 Paul Boddie:
>On Saturday 2. May 2015 21.01.10 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
>> On Sat, May 2, 2015 at 7:26 PM, Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo
>> <manuel.montezelo at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > 2015-05-02 18:40 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton:
>> >>
>> >> yeeess...  but to do so requires those steps (1) through (6) i told
>> >> you about.  you can't just drop a processor onto a board and hope for
>> >> the best, you actually have to custom-design the *entire* PCB - 300
>> >> components usually, thousands of individual wires (each one with
>> >> rules).... it's not as straightforward as "yeah just put a processor
>> >> down, it'll work".
>> >
>> > Erm, I wonder if you are confusing me with another person, because I
>> > don't remember any conversation with you about PCBs or any steps, at
>> > least recently???
>I think Manuel interpreted this as a reply to him directly: the singular "you"
>rather than the plural "you".

Yes, I did interpret it that way :) , sorry that I missed the original message
that Luke was referring to.

>> > Apart from being academics, the founders of the project are
>> > co-founders of RaspberryPi, and they have as advisors "bunnie" of
>> > Novena laptop fame --among others-- and Google's Project Ara, so I
>> > think that it's not a typical academic project.
>>  none of those people have _actually_ designed a processor, nor have
>> they the commercial experience in designing a processor to be
>> targetted at a specific market, nor have they *actually* been through
>> the process of sourcing and licensing (or designing) the hard macros
>> and associated test vectors, nor have they been through the costings
>> and project management aspects associated with bringing a processor to
>> market.
>>  in other words, each and every one of the people you mentioned has
>> absolutely zero experience in processor design and manufacturing.
>I think the project also has more experienced people on board, as opposed to
>mere figureheads and supporters with considerable experience in somewhat
>different fields. For example, Julius Baxter (one of the named figures) does
>have a "soft-CPU" design to his name already and considerable experience with
>OpenRISC. I mentioned FPGA tools previously, and the Yosys suite is
>participating in some way in Google Summer of Code under the lowRISC umbrella,
>as are various other people associated with OpenRISC.
>Moreover, the RISC-V architecture on which lowRISC is based has David
>Patterson on board, who was the originator of Berkeley RISC which was
>developed further into SPARC, so we're not talking about a group of pundits
>waiting for other people to do the work. Indeed, there's a RISC-V core that
>has supposedly been "proven" on/for various manufacturing processes, so those
>people aren't messing around.
>We aren't going to see anything ready-to-use from lowRISC this year, according
>to their own schedule, but it could be interesting to watch.


Also I think that they will have funding available more easily to get to a final
product, if everything goes well.  I don't know if any intermediate result that
they create (e.g. lowrisc SoC spec) will be usable by EOMA.

In any case, I am interested in EOMA-68 with A20 or mips-based processors, but I
think that OpenRISC or RISC-V will be definitely cool and an ultimate goal of
freely licensed hardware.  Perhaps not for end-users only concerned with using
the hardware, though; but in that case I am also not sure about ICubeCorp's
processors unless/until there are distros/OSs which support them.

>P.S. I imagine the reason why Imagination Technologies launched some academic
>FPGA initiative or other recently is because freely-licensed cores based on
>unencumbered architectures could easily steal the academic/educational show.

My thoughts exactly :-)

Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo <manuel.montezelo at gmail.com>

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