Opencores raises community funding for Open Source processor chip

A while back, Rune Svendsen commented on this website about creating an open source FPGA. He suggested building an entire open source tool suite and an FPGA architecture. He suggested raising donations from the general public to fund the chip.

The comments to his suggestion were generally skeptical. The numbers just didn't work out. In fact, they were off by several orders of magnitude. But even though the numbers were off, the idea was great. It was wild and crazy, but still great.

A few days ago, Opencores launched a similar idea, and they put their money where their mouth is. They are requesting donations from their users to bake an Open SPARC processor. They might have read Rune's earlier comment, or they might have come with the idea themselves. I think this is a nice example of how to make wild and crazy ideas work.

Opencores is aiming for $100k, not for $10M or $100M as Rune had suggested. They are working towards a CPU rather than an FPGA. These decisions turn a crazy and far-fetched idea into a workable project. Today, just a few days after their announcement, there are 256 users who have donated a total of over $11k!

I am putting in my bit; If you can spare some money, please donate.


Looks great! I just made a

Looks great! I just made a donation.
Would be interesting if we could get this out to some more companies/corporations who might benefit from an open design like this. They tend to have a lot more money to spare for projects like this.
Where there's money to be made, there's generally money to be raised.

I'm posting a link to this on the Genesi forums.

Definitely a great idea!

Definitely a great idea! This would definitely be a vast benefit towards future innovation and development of an Open Hardware Ecosystem!

If the Open Source Software community has taught us anything, it's that we can only benefit from this. Future development of the next generation RISC ASICs has great potential!

Help to spread the word:

Digg: OpenCores Starts CrowdFunding Campaign for Open Source Processor Chip
Digg: Worlds first open-source OpenRISC processor ASIC

It is so great to see this

It is so great to see this community gain momentum like this. I have witnessed the transformation over the past year, and I think that a great big thank you to Sigasi is in order. You guys have truly opened the eyes of FPGA engineers everywhere to the power that software engineers have enjoyed for years, not just from an IDE standpoint, but that of a community of engineers, working together to force innovation in places where big companies have all but halted it.

And as far as the "size" of the FPGA market, the closer we get to teaching FPGA engineers to work at higher upon higher layers of abstraction, the larger the market will be. The reality is that software simply cannot take advantage of the level of parallelism possible in FPGAs. One day, I envision tools maturing to the point where engineers gain the agility to shift critical processing pathways into and out of gate-fabric on the fly.

Several key technologies for this to happen are beginning to enter the scene:

- Partial reconfiguration
- MyHDL Python->VHDL/Verilog
- Sigasi IDE
- Ever-increasing gate counts in FPGAs
- Plunify's cloud synthesis/place&route

We live in truly exciting times.