The OpenPOWER ISA EULA Draft Published - Generous For Libre Hardware
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 15 February 2020 at 07:44 AM EST. 44 Comments
HARDWARE --
Last summer it was announced that IBM's POWER ISA would be open-source and the OpenPOWER Foundation joining the Linux Foundation. Finally we're getting a look at how the end-user license agreement (EULA) is looking for those wishing to make use of the POWER CPU instruction set architecture.

The final draft of the Power ISA EULA was published this week that allows anyone to build their own POWER ISA compliant hardware royalty-free and with a pass-through patent license from IBM regarding the ISA.

The EULA is quite generous and should allow anyone (well, anyone capable of spinning their own SoCs / FPGAs) to create a POWER ISA compliant chip and quite accommodating for "libre" hardware projects. The final draft of this EULA can be found at OpenPOWERFoundation.org.

The Libre RISC-V project that has been aspiring to build their own graphics accelerator that originally was going to be based on the RISC-V architecture but now has been evaluating POWER instead is rather pleased with how the EULA is shaping up. Commentary on their initial evaluation of the POWER ISA EULA can be found here.

In particular from initial review the Libre RISC-V crew finds it to be libre-friendly, there is the royalty-free patent grant as long as the designed chip is fully compliant with the POWER ISA, and it shouldn't be pursued by patent trolls. LKCL noted, "First preliminary reading however, as Hugh kindly said privately to me, there's really nothing controversial, here, and it actually looks really good and extremely well-designed." So it's looking more and more like the "Libre RISC-V" accelerator may actually become POWER based.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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