Thursday, July 18, 2024

“I knew Open Source hardware was a necessity to redesign into newer hardware”

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Q. What types of cores (processor, memory, controller, communication, etc) are most abundant on OpenCores.org?
A. The OpenRISC processor project is very popular and many commercial companies use this processor in their products. And, of course, all peripheral input-output (Ethernet, PCI, USB, SPI, UART and different memory controller) projects are also popular.

Q. Is there any computer-aided software engineering tool recommended by OpenCores.org?
A. We strongly promote Open Source electronic design automation (EDA) tools like Icarus Verilog simulator, GHDL VHDL simulator and GTKwave waveform viewer.

We feel that it is important to get a complete Open Source EDA tool-chain that allows engineers to design and simulate at the register transfer level, and perform synthesis. It is vital to learn all these in order to become professional engineers in hardware design.

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Q. What about tools for circuit simulation, logic simulation, FPGA/ASIC design, etc?
A. There are more Open Source tools available than people know. We use many of the tools that are, for example, collected in one of Fedora’s projects, the Fedora Electronics Lab (http://spins.fedoraproject.org/fel/#portfolio).

Q. Are the Open Source IP cores available on OpenCores being used only for verification, etc, or has a chipset been designed and manufactured completely using Open cores?
A. There are lot many companies using IP cores from OpenCores in their designs for commercial products. The companies are, however, not marketing it actively as they do not want to ‘flag’ this to their competitors. Linux had the same trend initially until it was noticed as strength and companies started publishing that they used Linux. The same will soon happen with OpenCores.

ORSoC has helped many commercial companies to implement OpenCores IP cores into their commercial products within every industry segment (telecom, multimedia, industrial, space, etc). As I said, 95 per cent of them are not publicising it; that is all.

Q. Is uptake of the Open hardware concept slower than the Open Source software?
A. The hardware community is much smaller than the software community. This forces us to be more active in order to get feedback and promote the advantages. But we have seen a drastic change after the software community started to accept Linux and other Open Seource software systems. Open Source hardware is a couple of years behind software, but I can assure you that we will se the same impressive growth in Open Source hardware in the coming years.


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