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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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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