[Arm-netbook] Libre RISC-V RV64GC SoC

Bill Kontos vkontogpls at gmail.com
Thu Dec 28 21:56:37 GMT 2017

On Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 11:08 AM, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton
<lkcl at lkcl.net> wrote:
> so, ahh i would say it's christmas come early but it really *is* christmas :)

> unlike many people to whom i've pitched the idea of an entirely libre
> SoC, madhu instead responded, "ok sure, what would you like?".
> initially being rather confused by this positive response, i outlined
> this page http://rhombus-tech.net/riscv/shakti/m_class/ and slowly
> began asking more questions.

Love it. One of the few times national interests happen to be the same
as those of the free world movement. Also amazing answer. If this goes
well it will go down in history as one of those famous conversations
in the early days of tech we read about.

 that's still 30 chips for a
> zero financial outlay where normally the cost would be around $5m, one
> each at at 20nm, 28nm and one more at 40nm.

So we have the chance to get a node ahead AND RISCv64 ? Awesome.

> the only condition is: the entire SoC *must* be entirely libre.
> that's right down to the bedrock: not just the entire ASIC design but
> also the software stack running on it.  you know the reasons why:
> "Intel Management Engine".



> * finding the right team(s) of people with links to the free software
> community to target 3D, Video and so on.

This is something that I don't get with the shakti project. How are
they planning to tackle the 2d/3d/vpu problem? From my understanding
there aren't any libre designs available out of the box, cpu rendering
is expensive and wasteful, anything memory compression related is
patented and pretty much required when talking about ddr and not gddr
and their page doesn't detail anything about that. Also external gpus
are out of the question for obvious reasons.

> now, it turns out that *IF* the processor is designed SUCH THAT it is
> desirable for use in the indian schools market - either as laptops,
> netbooks, tablets or desktop machines (laptops would be better), THEN
> it is a near-automatic process of getting to market, orders of 10
> million units are not a problem.

Sounds like magic to my ears.

> note that *this is exactly what the EOMA68 Libre Laptop Housing is
> for*, and would be an immediate base on which to get demo units in
> front of people, very very quickly (just have to take care of making
> an EOMA68-RISCV64 Card).

Indeed, and it would mean you could consider getting molds done as
well instead of 3d printing the cases.

> so, any ideas, input etc. welcomed.

Be wary of the 20nm node. From my experience phones of that generation
were the first to have overheating problems. Power leaking is very
high. I know there have been some new nodes at 20nm recently with
better characteristics though.

Also I'd like to see the faces of the RPi foundation if this comes
into fruition. 20nm vs 40nm all libre and mainline huge volumes and at
the same price ballpark as the RPi but without the cartel control they
enjoy. Good luck Luke, you really deserve this.

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