Newsletter May 2010
OpenRISC Announcement - Updated OR1200 processor
The team from OpenCores and ORSoC are very pleased to announce the impending release of a set of work that has focused on updating the OpenRISC OR1200 processor..
The update will include several bug fixes and generic improvements that was discovered during the Linux 2.6.34 porting activity. This OpenRISC update together with the Linux 2.6.34 will take the OpenRISC platform to a completely new level ie. bleeding edge.
These updates are in their final stages of testing in simulation and on hardware, and will hopefully be made available in the near future.
We expect to see these updates released on OpenCores very soon. By improving the OpenRISC processor and 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 OR1200 processor 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 updated OR1200 processor and much more!
The Verilog to HTML converter
The verilog to HTML converter is a perl script that converts your Verilog HDL design into webpages. Not only does this script generate nice looking webpages but also adds the following browser functions:
- links to modules
- pop-up window lets you find source, definitions etc
- a convenient hierarchical view of your project
- alphabetic index to modules, signals, tasks and functions
The uses of this script are many. The obvious is to use this as part of documentation of open source IP developed in Verilog. The user can easily traverse hierarchy and get a convenient first walk through the code. Other uses includes getting to know a design that are about to be retargeted to a new technology. As a tool to quickly getting to know a new design this is a very good tool.
This script uses an underlaying verilog parser. This parser can be the basis for other perl scripts. One example could be a script generating a Makefile to be used for synthesis.
These free perl scripts can be found at www.burbleland.com/v2html/v2html.html
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 minor Forum-page bugs
- No issues this month
Our message to the community:
- Let us know what kind of products we should add to the OpenCores webshop.
- 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.
I2C slave to WishBone master interface.
Development status: Planning
May 22, 2010: Initial project setup
Adjustable Frequency Divider
The Adjustable Frequency Divider is a divide-by-N clock divider. Its size is programmable and can divide an input frequency by any number (even or odd). The frequency can be programmed on the fly in silicon, this is good for clock dividers in PLLs that have multiple channels for example.
Development status: Alpha
May 15, 2010: updated status, ASIC not back from fab yet
May 13, 2010: added overview section to project home page
May 9, 2010: Setup of project page
Open Source missing from EC's Digital Agenda
The release this week of the Digital Agenda by the European Commission (EC) has done little to ease the concerns of those who believe the EU is slipping further away from the use of Open Source Software (OSS) and open standards.
Regarding the issue of open source and standards, the Digital Agenda hinges on the European Interoperability Framework (EIF). The EIF document specifies the nuts and bolts of the EC's approach to what standards and systems to use. When the EIF was first released in 2004, it appeared to be unambiguous in its definition and support of OSS.
However, a recent draft version of the EIF, seen last November, saw a change in the EC's definition of OSS and standards. It substituted its existing direct and meaningful language with a less specific and more confusing definition of a "spectrum of approaches" towards specifications and software.
This was seen by those supporting Open Source as a the result of work by those with interests, such as royalty or license payments, in keeping proprietary systems and standards in use.
In February this year the newly appointed European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, gave a speech hinting at the goals and actions the new Digital Agenda would outline. The document was to be ambitious, aiming to keep Europe at the forefront of 21st century economic and social developments.
In March it was announced there would be a public consultation on the European Interoperability Strategy, also concerning the EIF. This grabbed the attention of those worried about the draft changes to the EIF, and we saw many encouraging the public to contact the EC and express their own concerns with the strange new definition of Open Source.
Jeremy Bennett, CEO of Embecosm, released an open letter (link) to the EU Commissioners responsible, saying he was "very concerned that the draft of the new [EIF] completely redefined what is meant by Open Source Software, to include closed source software".
Glyn Moody of ComputerWorldUK.com said the draft EIF "revealed a staggering re-definition of what openness meant by suggesting that “closed” was part of the “openness continuum”" and urged people to submit comments in favour of a shift back towards adopting a definition of true open standards.
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) looked at the evolution of the EIF over several drafts and concluded that "in key places, the European Commission has taken on board only the comments made by the Business Software Alliance, a lobby group working on behalf of proprietary software vendors. At the same time, comments by groups working in favour of Free Software and Open Standards were neglected, e.g. those made by Open Forum Europe."
The release of the Digital Agenda this week has done little to address the widespread concern with the change in attitude of the EC towards true Open Source and open standards. The Agenda reinforces the EIF document's role in outlining the approach of the EC to the adoption of standards. The Agenda also fails to mention "open source" directly.
The FSFE's President, Karsten Gerloff, has said "while it includes some important building blocks for Free Software, the omission of Open Standards rips a gaping hole in this agenda."
La Quadrature du Net, a digital rights group, has said that "the deletion of the reference to openness in the Digital Agenda is a clear defeat for innovation and competition on the Internet".
A spokesman for the Commissioner has countered the criticisms telling ZDNet UK "the language in the document makes clear our intentions, people shouldn't get too hung up about terminology. What counts will be the follow-up actions."
It remains to be seen if the EC will address these concerns with future revisions of the interoperability framework. However, it appears the concerted, long term effort of those with interests in seeing proprietary, royalty earning, platforms and standards have paid off.
OpenCores supports an approach involving the use of Open Source and open standards wherever possible. We would like to see the European Commission reaffirm its commitment to supporting and adopting Open Source and open standards wherever possible. OpenCores encourages those who are also concerned with the changes in the European Interoperability Framework to contact the relevant Commissioners, or your local MEP, and convey your views.
By Julius Baxter of ORSoC