[coreboot] RISC-V HiFive Unleashed board added to coreboot - has PCI-e slots via exp board

Nico Huber nico.h at gmx.de
Sun Jun 24 22:43:39 CEST 2018

On 24.06.2018 21:37, Taiidan at gmx.com wrote:
> On 06/24/2018 02:59 PM, ron minnich wrote:
>> On Sun, Jun 24, 2018 at 11:47 AM Jonathan Neuschäfer <j.neuschaefer at gmx.net>
>> wrote:
>>> "While we’d love to provide you with this information, we believe we
>>> cannot. However, we can’t prevent anyone from disassembling the fsbl and
>>> copying the values sent to the blackbox DDR register map."
>> and ... there ends my interest in the hifive. A shame.
> I can't understand what their target audience is? who would buy such a
> thing? who do they intend to sell these to? I mean the open source
> people can buy the now very affordable Talos 2L and the cheap-soc people
> can buy one of the many of ARM boards that litter the marketplace...I
> don't get it.

I don't think you can compare the HiFive Unleashed with the Talos. They
really target completely different people and use cases. You could as
well ask, why produce smart watches, when people can afford the Talos?

Talos is a workstation it doesn't fit anywhere but a workplace where
somebody else pays the power bill. So you can't even compare it to
cheap ARM SBCs, HiFive aside. It's a professional product, nothing to
play with, but something to work with. And it's open. It is marketed
as open. It is designed to be open. It is based on an open platform.

I guess the HiFive Unleashed targets people who want something new to
play with without further investment* on one side; and on the other side
those that really want to make their own chips in the future and would
benefit from the free (as in free beer) that RISC-V is. That SiFive
actually prefers open systems too, didn't prevent them to provide the
Unleashed which was never planned to be fully open. The plan was just
to get a Linux capable RISC-V SoC as soon as possible, I guess. It's
designed to be open-source compatible at the OS level. We know too well
what that means.

Maybe RISC-V failed (to provide an open platform) and is already borked.
For me, all hope died when I heard that Linux will require that SMM like
nonsense, although I never thought it would change the game per se. You
always need somebody to invest into an open chip.

But here is the good news: RISC-V is free (as in free beer). Anybody can
salvage all the parts that make sense. If you create an open RISC-V com-
petitor, you can use the same compilers, 90% of the Linux support etc.
even the better part of the chip design. So investing into RISC-V still
isn't all for naught. If somebody wants to try in the future what many
people just hoped for (without doing anything), 90% of the work will
already be done.


* For a Talos 2 I would have to refurnish my living room.

More information about the coreboot mailing list