CELF conference feedback

Sébastien Bourdeauducq sebastien.bourdeauducq at lekernel.net
Tue Nov 2 07:02:18 EDT 2010

Le Tue, 02 Nov 2010 10:38:15 +0000,
"Phil Endecott" <spam_from_qihw at chezphil.org> a écrit :
> > Were you able to intro Milkymist to some people thanks to 
> > the Milkymist sticker?
> Not really.  Although the milkymist sticker does have a URL, it only
> says "interactive VJ station", and not "copyleft FPGA CPU".

OTOH a copyleft FPGA CPU/SoC without an application and product already
using and demonstrating it seems not to go very far. See OpenRISC for an
example (it also sucks technically, but nevertheless it should be good
enough to make simple things like arduinos) or LEON3 (it's much better
than OpenRISC, but almost no one is using it except researchers). As
you said, end user functionality is what attracts people.

Of course, they are companies which have been successful with IP cores
only, but:
1. I do not believe in the service-based free software business model
(which is what a "copyleft IP core" company would use). Companies using
it are little more than IT outsourcing businesses, doing whatever some
other company tells them to (i.e. little freedom to innovate).
2. The ASIC business has a strong culture of secrecy and heavy legal
protection, which does not seem very compatible with copyleft. This is
why hardware modules are pedantically called "IP cores" while software
modules are simply called "libraries".

Bottom line: I think doing everything from RTL (or below) to product is
a good thing. Back to the original subject, perhaps we simply should
make different stickers depending on what people we give them to :)


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