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OpenPOWER Microwatt To See Chip Fabrication Thanks To Google + Skywater

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  • OpenPOWER Microwatt To See Chip Fabrication Thanks To Google + Skywater

    Phoronix: OpenPOWER Microwatt To See Chip Fabrication Thanks To Google + Skywater

    Announced back in 2019 was the OpenPOWER Microwatt FPGA Soft CPU Core. OpenPOWER's Microwatt is a VHDL-based design for an open-source POWER ISA processor. core. The Microwatt is a basic 64-bit POWER core that can be run for software simulations or on FPGA hardware. But now Microwatt will actually see chip fabrication thanks to a program sponsored by Google...

    https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pa...-Microwatt-Fab

  • #2
    I have a hard time trusting a program Google is involved with to manufacture open source hardware without backdoors.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by icewater View Post
      I have a hard time trusting a program Google is involved with to manufacture open source hardware without backdoors.
      Google didn´t design Microwatt though. I don´t see how they could just slip one in at manufacturing.

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      • #4
        This is very interesting. I had heard of Google providing access to cheap fabs for open source projects, but that openPOWER will work with it and the ISA is pretty cool. I will have to see what the terms and conditions are.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by WolfpackN64 View Post

          Google didn´t design Microwatt though. I don´t see how they could just slip one in at manufacturing.
          Food for thought

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          • #6
            Originally posted by icewater View Post
            I have a hard time trusting a program Google is involved with to manufacture open source hardware without backdoors.
            If you are running open source software you don't have any security anyways so why the worry? Beyond that you still have open source definition of the processor, you could manufacture it yourself but even then you will not be 100%n confident that something hasn't been slipped in when you weren't looking

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            • #7
              Google wants good, secure CPUs for itself, so it is a pretty good investment, especially for a company that basically vomits money anyway. For a consumer, well, everybody knows that Netflix playback is an essential computer function, and, while Netflix requires hardware-obscured DRM, security and openness are no go, easy.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by icewater View Post
                I have a hard time trusting a program Google is involved with to manufacture open source hardware without backdoors.
                hilariously there is a "Management" Core in each and every skywater 130nm chip on this programme. ostensibly it is to "manage" the I/O pads because there has not been a Libre-Licensed I/O Pad Cell Library designed at the time (this is solved by Staf Verhaegen's FlexLib).

                i do not believe for one second that it was intended to be nefarious, despite it even being called a "Management Engine" google is in exactly the same boat as everyone else right now. when they have a duty and responsibility to ensure that their data centre hardware is not hacked, they need to wake people in the silicon ASIC industry the hell up to things like this:

                https://twitter.com/_markel___/statu...59797155778562
                https://news.slashdot.org/story/18/1...mberg#comments
                https://www.theregister.com/2018/08/22/supermicro_facing_nasdaq_delisting/

                Last edited by lkcl; 23 March 2021, 07:23 AM.

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