Libre RISC-V Open-Source Effort Now Looking At POWER Instead Of RISC-V

Written by Michael Larabel in RISC-V on 20 October 2019 at 01:38 PM EDT. 51 Comments
Well, here is a surprise... The Libre RISC-V project that is trying to build an "open-source GPU" more along the lines as a Vulkan accelerator is looking at other options besides RISC-V. While RISC-V is royalty-free and open-source in nature, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton is not content with the RISC-V Foundation and is evaluating the likes of POWER and MIPS.

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton of the Libre RISC-V project isn't fond of the RISC-V Foundation in not respecting their "Libre goals" and the foundation's business interests have the Libre RISC-V crew without access to the foundation's private mailing lists and other resources. LKCL wrote, "We cannot even get access to documentation explaining how to propose newextensions." He doesn't appear to have any criticism of the architecture itself but rather how the organization stewarding it is treating the effort / community collaborations not ranking high compared to their commercial/business members.

So while RISC-V may be open-source in nature, Luke is looking at other alternatives like the open-source POWER ISA under the OpenPOWER Foundation as well as the recently opened MIPS ISA. MIPS and POWER have become more open following the increasing successes around RISC-V.

In a mailing list post this weekend he notes that he is seriously eyeing POWER and so far that ISA is looking like it may work out for their purposes. Their previously expressed goal for this Vulkan accelerator is to be able to deliver around 25 FPS @ 720p and 5~6 GFLOPs. With a POWER play, it's possible they could get better performance but also run a higher power budget compared to their original 2.5 Watt target.
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