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Can Open Source Hardware Emulate Linux?

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Linux
Hardware
Interviews

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Linux kernel’s release. Serving as the basis of the open source software movement, the open source code spawned hundreds of projects using free, public Linux distributions. The result has been a lengthy list of robust, stable and flexible products.

Given its success, can the same approach be applied to enabling the adoption of open source hardware? Can an instruction set architecture (ISA) like RISC-V create the basis for the proliferation of open source hardware in the same way that the Linux kernel served as the foundation for open source software?

The answer is both yes and no.

[...]

Rick O’Connor, president and CEO of the OpenHW Group, equates RISC-V with the Linux kernel “The RISC-V ISA is really what the kernel was for Linux at the beginning, and other open source software projects and initiatives sprung up as a result,” O’Connor told EE Times. “Certainly, the kernel was the seed on the software side 20 years ago, and the ISA is that same seed, I think, on the hardware side.”

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