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POWER ISA Contributed To Open-Source, OpenPOWER Joining The Linux Foundation

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  • POWER ISA Contributed To Open-Source, OpenPOWER Joining The Linux Foundation

    Phoronix: POWER ISA Contributed To Open-Source, OpenPOWER Joining The Linux Foundation

    The big POWER announcement appears to be that the POWER instruction set architecture is being contributed to the open-source community and the OpenPOWER Foundation is becoming part of the Linux Foundation...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...n-POWER-ISA-LF

  • #2
    I kinda expected a nothing-burger and, well... they delivered according to expectations.

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    • #3
      Very cool, RISC-V now essentially has zero leverage over POWER. And unlike RISC-V, you can actually buy POWER hardware today.

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      • #4
        Well, the current risc-v implementations are rather low powered affairs. I envision riscV taking Arm's place, and power taking the high end.

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        • #5
          I guess this is one way to try to make Power relevant again, but it's also a pretty hopeless effort when x86 and ARM have pretty much cornered pretty much everything from ultra-low voltage applications to high end servers. Outside of that we have RISC-V picking up the crumbs that fall off the proverbial table with people who don't trust closed ISAs (as in you have to pay to use the ISA, not that specs are kept behind lock and key) and with this IBM does seem to imagine a pretty fierce fight for those crumbs.

          Then again ISAs do tend be quite a bit like cockroaches once they start being used in the embedded market and PPC is most definitely in that market already. I mean they still make MOS 6502, Zilog Z80 and Motorola 68k derivatives for embedded systems to this day and you'd think at least MOS 6502 would be gone by now, but consisting of only about 4500 transistors it's usable in some impressively low power use cases.
          "Why should I want to make anything up? Life's bad enough as it is without wanting to invent any more of it."

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          • #6
            While it is a good first step to stay relevant in the market as an open ISA, other steps need to follow, e.g. I haven't seen a different POWER CPU implementation yet which isn't designed by IBM. There are still no low-cost systems for developers. But I wonder if the European Processor Initiative (EPI) had chosen ARM/RISC-V if that announcement would have been made a year ago as POWER was a viable option as well.
            Last edited by ms178; 08-20-2019, 01:36 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by torsionbar28 View Post
              Very cool, RISC-V now essentially has zero leverage over POWER. And unlike RISC-V, you can actually buy POWER hardware today.
              This shows what a power-horse risc-v is, it is already changing the industry!
              I would not really trust an imitator. Power could have been open sourced long time ago. I guess their plan might be: let's destroy risc-v , and then we let power to outdate, and we catch the customers again later with a new improved isa, and this time not royalty-free.
              Risc-V is new, build with the latest modern hardware insights and demands.

              Who is next? IA32? X86?

              Go RISC-V !!!!

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              • #8
                Interesting coming after their Hot Chips presentation. They now have a chiplet strategy and open interconnect for memory. Very interesting that they are moving the whole thing towards fully "open source". That new P9 AIO die looks amazing, too bad it's paired with lackluster Power 9 cpus. I keep seeing the phoronix test suite numbers and just don't see how power isa competes with AMD/Intel in the server space. Must be a mainframe thing.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by torsionbar28 View Post
                  Very cool, RISC-V now essentially has zero leverage over POWER. And unlike RISC-V, you can actually buy POWER hardware today.

                  Except that RISC-V is a nicely designed ISA that communicates its feature set very explicitly. I have no clue about POWER; point is the quality of the ISA itself can't be ignored.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cipri View Post
                    I guess their plan might be: let's destroy risc-v , and then we let power to outdate, and we catch the customers again later with a new improved isa, and this time not royalty-free. Risc-V is new, build with the latest modern hardware insights and demands.
                    That is not going to happen. Such a move would be suicidal for IBM. The open-sourcing decision cannot be taken back. Not only would it destroy any trust they build over the last years, it would make no business sense as well. They need more collaboration, not less. The POWER ISA will be governed from the openPOWER Foundation from now on, hence IBM is not in full control anymore.

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