Sun heeft het ontwerp van z'n Microsparc IIep processor onder de eigen Community Source License (CSL) vrijgegeven. EETimes heeft het nieuws:
The adoption of open-source principles at Sun Microsystems Inc. continues this week when the company puts a Sparc microprocessor under its Community Source License (CSL) for the first time, hoping to spread Sparc's use in system-on-a-chip designs. Some in the open-source community have criticized the CSL for deviating from what they call true open-source licensing, and fellow processor vendors are questioning whether Sun can make the CSL work. But Sun's efforts beg an even larger question: whether the open-source policy that helped spawn the GNU and Linux software communities can do the same for a piece of hardware.
[...] Sun began its CSL movement last year with Java and Jini software and is gradually applying the license to other products. The idea is to create a community of designers that can share tweaks and upgrades to the circuitry via the Web, said Fadi Azhari, Sun's group marketing manager for Sparc.
In the case of hardware, that means Sun wants "to make Sparc the core for any system-on-a-chip (SoC) architectures," Azhari said.
Sun also wants to spread the architecture to smaller companies, as Microsparc is being aimed at systems-on-a-chip for small network-edge devices, such as set-top boxes. Azhari pictures such devices selling for between $10 and $15.
RTL files for Microsparc IIep are due to be posted on Sun's Web site on Tuesday (Sept. 14). PicoJava was the first core to be offered this way, in April, and an Ultrasparc core is promised by the end of the year. For Microsparc, the RTL code for the IIep core (complete with PCI controller and memory interface) will be available, along with a programmers' reference manual, application notes and a verification test suite.