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Debian Hardware Hacking Build

Experimental Port of Debian To OpenRISC 56

Via Phoronix comes news that Debian has been ported to the OpenRISC architecture by Christian Svensson. Quoting his mailing list post: "Some people know that I've been working on porting Glibc and doing some toolchain work. My evil master plan was to make a Debian port, and today I'm a happy hacker indeed! ... If anyone want to try this on real hardware (would be very cool to see how this runs IRL), ping me on IRC [#openrisc on freenode] and I'll set you up with instructions how to use debootstrap - just point to a repo with the debs and you're all set, the wonders of binary distributions." For those who don't know, OpenRISC is the completely open source RISC processor intended as the crown jewel of the Opencores project. A working port of glibc and a GNU/Linux distribution is a huge step toward making use of OpenRISC practical. There's a screencast of the system in action, and source on Github (at posting time, it was a month out of date from the looks of it). Christian Svensson's Github account also has repos for the rest of the toolchain.
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Experimental Port of Debian To OpenRISC

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  • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @08:12PM (#46363957)

    You don't need a multi-billion dollar plant to make the processors. You just need to pay someone who does. You can get small quantities of ASICs made for around $2-5k by taking advantage of programs that put many designs from different people on the same wafer.

  • Re:Here's a question (Score:5, Informative)

    by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @09:40PM (#46364575)

    You can easily get a 32-bit processor running at 50-100MHz on current low end parts. Linux runs perfectly well at such speeds. A modern compositing Xorg desktop will likely be bog slow but a console will run just fine. These aren't supposed to be used as general purpose desktop replacements.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @10:49PM (#46364895)

    OpenRISC has been implemented as an ASIC, mainly in embedded systems, so you can't do out an buy an OpenRISC motherboard (yet). Apart from that, your option is to implement it with an FPGA.

  • RE Open source chips (Score:5, Informative)

    by olof_k ( 2093198 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @04:07AM (#46365785)
    Hi, Having worked on the OpenRISC project for ~4 years I thought I could share some insights here, as the licensing question pops up all the time. The RTL for OpenRISC and most of the peripheral controllers that are used are licensed under LGPL, not GPL. While we all know that this is a software license with some concepts that don't translate well to hardware, the consensus is that LGPL means that you are obliged to shared modifications of the LGPL-licensed core, while GPL-licensed RTL would require the whole SoC to be GPL.

    This is a view that we in the OpenRISC community share with the Open Source Hardware developers at CERN and other groups. This has also been tried by IP lawyers for a large company that wanted to use OpenRISC about ten years ago.

    As for ASIC implementations it could be worth mentioning that there are ASICs running or1200 (the original LPGL-licensed OpenRISC implementation) in Samsung Digital TVs, in some of the Allwinner SoCs, Zigbee ASICs and other places, so it has been done many times over the years

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