Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Apr 2006 17:12 UTC, submitted by Andy Updegrove
Hardware, Embedded Systems "Last summer, IBM set up Power,org, to promote its PowerPC chip as what it called 'open hardware.' This year, Sun launched the open source project around the source code for its Niagera microprocessor. But what does "open" mean in the context of hardware? You have to pay to participate meaningfully in, as well as pay royalties to implement - it's built on a traditional RAND consortium model. To use the Sun code, though, its just download the code under an open source license, and you're good to go to use anything except the SPARC name. All of which leads to the questions: 'what does open mean in hardware, and which approach will work?"
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more open than thou
by chekr on Thu 13th Apr 2006 00:40 UTC
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Back in september of last year when IBM where spinning power as less proprietary than sparc I wrote an email: to Jill Holt of IBM asking for clarification on a few issues. Needless to say she did not clarify anything.

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RE: more open than thou
by kaiwai on Thu 13th Apr 2006 05:00 UTC in reply to "more open than thou"
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Of course not, like IBM"s Linux marketing, its all smoke, mirrors and nothing of any thing substantial.

Like I kept asking IBM appologist, when they sold IBM pc's, when are we going to see desktops and workstations preloaded with Linux?

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by JohnMG on Thu 13th Apr 2006 15:11 UTC
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Thanks for posting the link to that article. Nice to hear that Sun seems to be doing the right thing here.

OpenSPARC T1 source components are covered under multiple open source licenses. The majority of OpenSPARC T1 source code is released under the GNU General Public License.

I'd like to hear from the experts if all the important stuff in T1 is GPL'd, or if everything but the important stuff is GPL'd. If it's the former, then all I'll need is for someone to sell a nice Mini-ITX with one of those T1's on it. ;)

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I think that Sun seems to be doing the right thing here too. Which is not always the case...

They are taking risks aswell, but they are somehow forced too, if they want to bite a bigger chunk of the processors market, and actually fight Intel and AMD.

Yes, it is a risk aswell, since other big companies or big 'state' companies, in China for instance, could take advantage on that open harware knowledge to release a processor at bargain price. They could easily take advantage of the "low cost of production", and the economics of scale that its production machine already has and create a powerful CPU at lower than than "Sempron" prices!
And all this without encountering major licence and patent problems, like in the case of their'Mips' kind of version CPU.


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by Treza on Thu 13th Apr 2006 17:02 UTC
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One shall mention the Leon core which is a free open source Sparc clone originally developped for space-borne applications. The Sparc specifications are free since a long time, the new thing is that Sun delivers sources for their own chips.

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