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NVIDIA Is Building Its Next-Gen Falcon Controller Using RISC-V

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  • NVIDIA Is Building Its Next-Gen Falcon Controller Using RISC-V

    Phoronix: NVIDIA Is Building Its Next-Gen Falcon Controller Using RISC-V

    For the past decade NVIDIA GPUs have shipped with a proprietary micro-controller they've called Falcon (also for Nouveau users you may recall it through "FUC" for the Falcon micro-controller), but a next-gen controller is being built now for future NVIDIA GPUs and it's going to utilize the RISC-V ISA...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...ext-Gen-Falcon

  • #2
    Darn shame that nVidia devices require signed firmware now. Who knows what might have been made easier by an open uC ISA.

    As-is, all this really does for me is remind me how many microcontrollers exist in a modern PC... I wonder how many drivers use the IOMMU, when available, to sandbox said microcontrollers.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ssokolow View Post
      Darn shame that nVidia devices require signed firmware now. Who knows what might have been made easier by an open uC ISA.

      As-is, all this really does for me is remind me how many microcontrollers exist in a modern PC... I wonder how many drivers use the IOMMU, when available, to sandbox said microcontrollers.
      They can keep the private signing key for themselves while releasing the code, the public key and the compiler open source. It will allow us to verify the blob really is what they say it is (no back-doors) but it won't allow us to modify it. It also satisfies the GPLv2 requirements as well as the security requirements of most people.

      Though it conflicts with GPLv3 Tivoization clause. But Linus said he's fine with that so no one will object if they'll choose to move down that course.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by c117152 View Post

        They can keep the private signing key for themselves while releasing the code, the public key and the compiler open source. It will allow us to verify the blob really is what they say it is (no back-doors) but it won't allow us to modify it. It also satisfies the GPLv2 requirements as well as the security requirements of most people.

        Though it conflicts with GPLv3 Tivoization clause. But Linus said he's fine with that so no one will object if they'll choose to move down that course.
        and what does the kernel license have anything to do with what is running on microcontrollers on a device? Right, nothing.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ssokolow View Post
          Darn shame that nVidia devices require signed firmware now. Who knows what might have been made easier by an open uC ISA.

          As-is, all this really does for me is remind me how many microcontrollers exist in a modern PC... I wonder how many drivers use the IOMMU, when available, to sandbox said microcontrollers.
          The old ISA has been reverse engineered. afaik nouveau wrote their own code (before it required signature). Also check this work:
          http://www.ertl.jp/~shinpei/papers/apsys13.pdf
          they did some fancy stuff using the microcontroller.

          not all devices like IOMMU, my old nb had a disk controller that would read from random location as a barrier for PCI writes, so the kernel complained (everything worked despite the IOMMU fautls).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ssokolow View Post
            Darn shame that nVidia devices require signed firmware now
            who cares when they do not document their gpus and do not develop open driver

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            • #7
              Originally posted by c117152 View Post
              It will allow us to verify the blob really is what they say it is (no back-doors)
              it won't. without open hardware schematics you don't know what backdoors are implemented in hardware

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