Newsletter April 2010
OpenRISC Announcement - Bleeding edge Linux port
The team from OpenCores and ORSoC are vary pleased to announce the impending release of a set of work that has focused on updating the OpenRISC Linux kernel (2.6.34) and uClibc library ports (0.9.31).
The update will see an approximately three year gap bridged for the OpenRISC ports of the Linux kernel and uClibc, with both being bought up to bleeding edge versions. Support for BusyBox 1.17 also comes with these updates.
The updates are in their final stages of testing in simulation and on hardware, and will hopefully be made available in the near future.
Updates in other areas include tidying up and various improvements of the OpenRISC architectural simulator, or1ksim, and other OpenRISC related items.
We expect to see these updates released on OpenCores very soon. By enabling support for the latest and greatest from the world of open-source OSes and libraries for the OpenRISC platform we hope to see increased uptake and participation in the project from all. The team at OpenCores are forever tweaking and improving parts of the implementations that exist, allowing them to be used with greater ease and reliance.
We hope to generate further interest in the OpenRISC project, and potentially gain new contributors and supporters of the platform. We expect that by updating the port for the Linux kernel and supporting software that we will see increased uptake of the technology and greater participation from the community. As well as this, we hope to release further tools and documentation that will help people get started with the OpenRISC platform.
There are always problems inherent in aiming for software reuse, however the combination of reusable IP and driver software essentially results in a two-for-one deal. Considering the attention the software development receives in modern designs, it's good to know that when using highly portable open-source IP and low-level drivers, they start off on an effective and dependable note.
Stay tuned for further news of the release of the kernel and much more!
Update from OC-Team
This topic gives you an update of what has been "cooking" at the OpenCores community during the last month.
This month activities:
- Solved some minor bugs
- Added webshop page
- Power supply mailfunction, switched hardware
- Blocked potential Internet overload attack against OpenCores, increased our sensitivity level in our intrusion-detection-system
Our message to the community:
- Please try to upgrade your projects to reach the OCCP level (OpenCores Certified Projects), read more about what is needed of your project to achieve this in FAQ-Projects.
- Please make sure that all design-files including documentation are stored the project SVN repository. The "Downloads" page is only meant for pictures or document that are intended to be visible on the "Overview"-page. No design-files are allowed on the "Downloads" page.
Here you will see interesting new projects that have reached the first stage of development.
Free and open source double precision Floating Point Unit (FPU).
Development status: Beta
Apr 20, 2010: Added Logo
Apr 19, 2010: Added Description and initial check in
RS232 Protocol 16550D uart (mostly supported)
- language : systemVerilog IEEE 1800-2005 (Quaruts2-9.1sp1 Support)
- scale : fpga cyclone3 800cell, >50Mhz
- bus : wishbone
Development status: Alpha
Mar 31, 2010: Change Other project properties
16,32,64 bit microprocessor - simulator source configurable.
16 bit fixed instruction length. All instructions conditional.
up-to 128 instructions. 64 registers.
Run-time instruction configuration / code obfuscation.
Simulator software includes macro assembler, console debugger and interpreter using host system calls.
Development status: Stable
Mar 26, 2010: Project description
ao68000 - Wishbone 68000 core
The OpenCores ao68000 IP Core is a Motorola MC68000 binary compatible processor.
•CISC processor with microcode,
•WISHBONE revision B.3 compatible MASTER interface,
•not cycle exact with the MC68000, some instructions take more cycles to complete, some less,
•Uses about 7500 LE on Altera Cyclone II and about 45000 bits of RAM for microcode,
•Tested against the WinUAE M68000 software emulator. Every 16-bit instruction was tested with random register contents and RAM contents. The result of execution was compared,
•Runs Linux kernel version 18.104.22.168 up to init process lookup,
•Contains a simple prefetch which is capable of holding up to 5 16-bit instruction words,
Development status: Beta
Mar 28, 2010: Description clarification
Mar 28, 2010: First upload.
Encore intends to explain basic microprocessor principles. Starting at a the simplest micro sequencer based level, all the way up to pipelines, caches, mmu, multi-datapaths etc
Development status: Planning
Apr 2, 2010: Updated the project description
OpenSPARC-based SoC is a project aimed to create a SoC based on OpenSPARC cores (T1 and T2) with OpenCores and other open-source peripherals added, and having Linux/OpenSolaris running on it.
Development status: Alpha
Mar 30, 2010: Initial release added to SVN, documentation pending
Mar 30, 2010: Setup SVN
Code Zero is being ported to the OpenRISC.
It has recently started a project at OpenCores to port Code Zero against the OpenRISC processor. We eagerly look forward to this project and will follow its progress with high interest.
Below you can read two articles from “Elektroniktidningen” regarding B Labs, the company developing Code Zero.
Article 1: New micro-kernel is open source
British B Labs develops an operating system of the type L4 - the new kind of micro-kernel that Sysgo from German and Open Kernel Labs from Australian commercialize. Unlike those B Labs will make its implementation on open source.
Founder Bahadir Balban is a young British software engineer with a master's degree from Imperial College in London, 2004. After graduation, he worked four years on ARM, inter alia, to implement Linux on Multi-core versions of ARM11.
The name of the company 'B Labs' recalls 'OK Labs', an Australian company that had great success with their implementations of the L4-technology - a breakthrough in micro-nuclear area from the 90s - and placed it in half a billion mobile phones.
WB Labs microkernel is called Zero Code and is intended to be used to virtualizes operating system in embedded systems, such as cell phones.
There are some academic implementations of L4 which is open source - this is the first time someone tries to commercialize a version based on open source code. Code Zero is now in version 0.3 and is licensed in version 3 of the Linux GPL license.
Zero Code supports Arm kernels, including a quad version of the upcoming processor core Cortex A9.
B Labs markets the technology as a way to consolidate and migrate existing software to multi-cores. The focus is on Linux and Security - Code Zero can create watertight bulkhead between the virtual operating system that runs on the processor.
B Labs will be presenting its technology at Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, USA, on April 26 to 29
Published by Elektroniktidningen at www.etn.se/51134
Article 2: B Labs: ”We are ready for multi-core"
The Electronics magazine “Elektroniktidiningen” has had a chat with Bahadir Balban, the man behind the microkernel Code Zero - the first commercial open source implementation of micro-kernel technique L4.
British B Labs has released version 0.3 of its microkernel Code Zero It is an implementation of the L4 micro-kernel technology that was developed by researchers in the 90's and can be used as a hypervisor - to run other operating systems in virtual processors.
This is the first time that an entire L4 kernel is released as open source. Since before, the company Genode Labs has an L4 system where some components are open source.
The company that has had the most success with a L4-deployment units is "OK Labs" and "B Labs' may sound like a name game with that brand. But it denies Bahadir Balban, B Lab's founders.
- It symbolizes the three B:s in my name, Bahadir Bilgehan Balban. If there is any inspiration, it is beyond that it would be "Bell Labs" and their innovative engineers who created the C programming language and operating system Unix and Plan 9, "says Bahadir Balban.
Do you foresee any problems with intellectual property to other L4-implementors as Sysgo and OK Labs?
- If you mean in terms of L4-technology, I see no problem at present. L4 is a completely open design. As for copyright, we have written our software from scratch. I just think it's great that there are different suppliers - it contributes to diversity.
When do you think the Code Zero has matured to be put into service?
- We need several months to release a version of a virtualized Linux, but the core of Zero Code itself is actually ready for multi-cores. We released support for quad-core Cortex A9 in December 2009 and will demonstrate the technique for the first time at Multicore Expo at the end of the month, "says Bahadir Balban.
How many engineers do you have on B Labs?
- I can not give any figures, but I can say we are a start up businesses with good resources.
Have volunteers started to engage in open code?
- Several pieces have signed our licensing rules for code contribution, and a quite some people have subscribed to our mailing list. It is our source code itself that arouses interest. However, it has not yet received any significant code contribution as such usually require very high experience in designing operating system kernels. I expect a growth in community activities when we release our Linux Kernel in a few months, "says Bahadir Balban.
Published by Elektroniktidningen at www.etn.se/51124