What: ORConf 2015
When: October 9-11, 2015
Where: Geneva, Switzerland
Who: Open Hardware OEMs/IHVs/ODMs/IBVs/ISVs
Why: NDAs, IP licensing fees, firmware blobs, non-ownership
Here’s the announcement from the lowRISC announcement mailing list:
Please join us October 9th-11th in Geneva, Switzerland for ORConf 2015 . The event is kindly being hosted by CERN at the IdeaSquare. Last year’s ORConf was home to the first public talk on lowRISC and we’re pleased this year it will also be hosting a series of lowRISC and RISC-V discussions, serving as a European lowRISC and RISC-V workshop. ORConf has in recent years grown to cover a range of open source hardware topics beyond the original OpenRISC focus. Expect presentations and discussion on free and open source IP projects, implementations on FPGA and in silicon, verification, EDA tools, licensing and embedded software, to name a few. The event will run from 13:00 until 18:30 on Friday, 09:30 until 19:30 on Saturday, and from 09:30 until 15:30 on Sunday. Friday will consist primarily of breakout sessions, planning, and discussion regarding lowRISC. If you are already contributing or your are thinking of getting involved and want to learn more, you are very welcome to join us. If you would like to present, please do submit a proposal either via the link at the ORConf website or to me at email@example.com. We hope to see many of you there – please register here: . If you haven’t been to the blog for a while and are wondering what’s been going on in the world of RISC-V and lowRISC, you may be interested in our summary of the presentations at the second RISC-V workshop .
LowRISC is related to RISC-V, both are Open Source Hardware ISAs, which IMO is needed for Open Source Hardware (and Free Hardware), else we’ll always have to deal with NDAs, IP licensing fees, and — on most platforms — closed-source firmware blobs, and not knowing what the system is actually doing behind the scenes. I hope the Linux Foundation, FreeBSD Foundation, Open Source Hardware Foundation, the Free Software Foundation (for Free Hardware) and other related groups plan on using CrowdSupply — or other crowdfunding source — to fund lowRISC/RISC-V-based hardware. You can’t expect change from the top, Microsoft and Apple drive the ISAs and have zero incentive to reduce NDAs, IP licensing fees and firmware blobs. I hope that in a few years Purism starts using RISC-V (or lowRISC, or OpenRISC) for their systems!
OpenRISC is a “Free Hardware” ISA, a GPL-based instruction set that has been around for a while. This conference is apparently open to other topics beyond OpenRISC, such as the newer BSD-licensed lowRISC and RISV-V peers. I don’t know why, but I’m guessing that OpenRISC hasn’t gotten more traction is due to hardware’s community’s fear of GPL, or they were just too early to market. It might be nice for the FSF to help OpenRISC more than they have, since it is the only GPL ISA, pehaps the heart of their Free Hardware? Then again, BSD-based RISC-V/lowRISC can easily be GPL’ed.
Note that the Call for Papers is open, there’s time to submit a talk…