If we want to have computing freedom, we're going to need computers that are safe and don't lock us out. Having actually well designed architectures (x86 sure ain't it) would be nice too. RISC-V is a beam of hope:

- India is making progress on fabb'ing their own RISC-V chips
- FOSDEM video on RISC-V

Got other interesting RISC-V links?

The hi-five looks like a cool and powerful RISC-V dev board, but it's not on sale anymore afaict

Show thread

The HiFive1 is still available, but is less powerful than the HiFive Unleashed

Still would be good for experimenting, though.

Show thread

@cwebber In what way would you expect a RISC-V to actually improve user experience.

I dont think ive ever been "locked out" of my computer because of my choice of cpu...


- No consumer wants Intel ME (or AMD's equiv) low-level spyware, but except that Intel won't remove it because IIUC it's key to Intel's team-up with Hollywood's DRM stuff.
- Hardware bugs end up being system-wide bugs. See Meltdown, Spectre, but there are others too. Users have no control over fixing that stuff. There's no community opportunity to even *audit* it.
- We're moving into an era increasingly where it's very hard to install FOSS software on devices.

@cwebber All valid points. What does RISC-V do to address these issues. Just make it open source basically (a huge step in its own right).

@cwebber Awesome. I'm an EE and a CE. Just havent had time to catch up on the RISC-V stuff. So this is right up my ally. Thanks for the info.

@cwebber @freemo Another point might be the boring aspect of price, as e.g. with Intel CPUs you pay for a one-size-fits-all package despite often not needing e.g. the integrated GPU
@cwebber @freemo I think the last point is right, and so that's why we should support open hardware projects, especially for things like laptops.

@bob @cwebber Im all for open source/hardware. That decision alone tends to solve many problems.

@cwebber @freemo

> We're moving into an era increasingly where it's very hard to install FOSS software on devices

ME is undesireable, but it doesn't prevent you from installing your libre os of choice. hell, i even have OPTIONS when it comes to which Android device i want to flash with LineageOS or CopperheadOS. people flip out about SecureBoot, but none of the supposed threats ever materialized. all of my hardware even lets me enroll my own keys.

i do agree that more open hardware is better, but the tired FSF approach of screaming about how doomed we are isn't productive imo.

@cwebber @freemo

- We're moving into an era increasingly where it's very hard to install FOSS software on devices.

Which is why System76, Purism, etc are so vital.

@cwebber I really hope we'll see another run of the unleashed, 900$ is kind of expensive for basically an rpi but at FOSDEM they said it would be 100 if they could commit to a run of 100k or something like that...

Would feed my addiction for home-servers on weird architectures :)

@cjd Yeah... also, I think Trump's trade war stuff is a total nightmare, but... I guess for this there may be an interesting side effect in that India and China are looking to free themselves from US companies, and look to be investing in RISC-V

Looks like Western Digital will be switching over to RISC-V too for all their computers that run your hard drive (yes, your hard drive does have its own computer)

@cwebber @cjd Yep, WD ships over a billion CPU cores a year, going on 2 billion. Their publicly stated aim is to go all RISC-V over time.

@notclacke @cwebber @cjd That's nice but it's no promise that they don't have, say, a closed-source IME-like "security" coprocessor attached to them anyway.

@notclacke @icefox @cjd Even if that's the case, WD shipping a bunch of risc-v machines should advance RISC-V, which raises hope for the advancement of RISC-V generally.

@cwebber @cjd @icefox Yes, exactly.

Do I prefer proprietary software on Linux over proprietary software on Windows? Why, yes, I do.

Do I prefer locked-down backdoored proprietary CPUs with an open and well-designed ISA over locked-down backdoored proprietary CPUs with a proprietary legacy patchwork ISA where there are alternative open hardware implementations? Ugh, but, yeah, I'm gonna have to say I do.
@cwebber @cjd @icefox I made an excursion into the #riscv tag and found a post that suggested that WD would buy their cores from SiFive, but looking into it further, it sounded like pure speculation.
Yeah, counterevidence to the WD+SiFive speculation:

They are reportedly working with, which, to my knowledge, does not offer open hardware.

@cwebber I recall someone installing Linux on a harddrive w/ a couple of ARM cores.

China used to be doing something with MIPS at some point, Loongson laptop, also Baidu is running everything on ARM cores...

@cwebber The HiFive unleashed should still be available, at least I ordered one only a few weeks ago

@cwebber though according to the updates they're sold out? This is strange, they did let me place the order.

@cwebber The CPU is dead. It's death has been forseeable as long as I've been in software, which is thirty-five years now. We've reached the physical limits of throughput on a single core.

The future has to be massively parallel; and any architecture which isn't designed for massive parallelism is industrial archaeology, not the future.

@simon_brooke a compromised massively parallel system is still a compromised system

@cwebber Oh, sure. But the point is, building a processor which doesn't have at least six peer-to-peer buses is yesterday's game. It has no place in tomorrow's.

The actual instruction set is a separate issue - although my preference is keep it simple.

Can't find a port / version that would work with RISC-V thou :(

@notclacke @cwebber
I will certainly keep an eye on that!
I also hope that RISC-V will be avaible for consumers in the near future too

Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!