The open-source movement has been evolving for a long time, from open-source software and standards to open-source hardware and tools.
The continued growth of the open intellectual property (IP) movement will continue to open new markets. But there are significant challenges, including security risks.
The allure of open-source hardware is the flexibility for designers to create their own CPU-based platforms. Advocates believe that freely available open-source systems will encourage a new wave of processor innovation and create new market segments. These advocates point to the increasing amount of open-source IP that is available and being implemented in many new chip designs. But what about verification?
While the design community is encouraged, the verification engineers are cautious. In the past, instruction set architectures (ISA) used with intellectual property (IP)-based processors came from a single source, e.g., Arm, Intel, AMD, etc. These ISAs utilized industry verification tools and methodologies. What will it be like with open source ISA as in RISC-V systems?