A Free Architecture, Maybe?

Christopher Browne cbbrowne-HInyCGIudOg at public.gmane.org
Fri Dec 12 02:52:01 UTC 2003

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OpenRISC demo: Monday, December 15, 2003, 7pm

On Monday, December 15, at 7pm, OpenCores developer Damjan Lampret
will give the first public demonstration of an all-Open Source
System-On-Chip (SoC) right here at the Freedom Technology Center.

The new OpenCores System-On-Chip, developed and manufactured by
Flextronics Semiconductor, runs Linux, uClinux, or eCos. The SoC is
exclusively built with freely licensed OpenCores IP cores. The chip
includes the OpenRISC OR1200 32-bit processor, a Memory Controller for
SDRAM/FLASH/SRAM, a 10/100 Mbps Ethernet MAC, 32-bit, 33/66MHz PCI
support, and a 16550 UART.

Lampret said, "Are open source soft cores starting to have impact on
the semiconductor industry? Yes, slowly but irreversibly. What started
in 1983 with the GNU project is now starting in open source hardware
with OpenCores, 20 years later."

The demonstration will cover the System-On-Chip, how it was designed
and the manufacturing technology used. Special attention will be paid
to the processor, the OpenRISC. It is a completely new RISC
architecture developed using open source model. The GNU Compiler
Collection (gcc) was ported, along with the GNU Binary Utilities
including the assembler, linker, and debugger. An advanced simulator
was built that can simulate now only the processor but an entire SoC,
and of course a complete synthesizable RTL implementation was
developed. A live presentation will show how the GNU development tools
gdb and DDD can be used to download software code and debug it on the

The OpenRISC OR1200 has a memory management unit (MMU), so can run
either conventional Linux, which requires an MMU, or uClinux, which is
intended for processors without an MMU.


This certainly isn't a "barn-burner" as far as performance goes; it's
no 3GHz Itanic, but then I wouldn't much want the latter, either.

If a system was available at a reasonable price, I'd buy one for sure,
even though it be somewhat wimpy.
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