PPC64 Open ISA and A2I Core along with the PPC64 Open Hardware Notebook PCB and Libre-Soc project.
This year IBM released the A2I POWER processor core design and associated FPGA environment. In 2019 IBM opened the POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). The Power Progress Community released the PCB of the Notebook Motherboard based on Power Architecture with Cern Open Hardware License. Libre-SOC is a software-hardware project that aims to deliver a physical POWER compliant SOC that comes complete with a CPU, GPU, VPU, and DDR controller. We will discover these concrete projects
Around 6 years back, we started as a group of FOSS, PowerPC and Open Hardware enthusiasts, with beginning to work on PowerPC Notebook project which was designed around GNU/Linux using Open Hardware. We had very limited funding with limited skills to work. But our enthusiasm and motivation led us to reach fabrication stage for the motherboard. Finally this year we could successfully design its PCB with the help of collaborators and limited funding from donors. There were many challenges faced in this process. Since PowerPC processors have been around for more than 2 decades, but the current implementation on Notebook was difficult to take in the market. Coming to the performance in Big Endian mode is maximized in this with many software need to be patched. In future we plan to upgrade our PCB design to the more recent packaging technology for the processor. Also, with increasing collaborators, it would be possible to design more smaller and cheaper PowerPC board.
The tentative deadline for Phase1B is 18th November so there are two weeks left to donate the remaining 2600 euros. If we will reach the goal, the PCB with SI bus simulation should be ready by the middle of December.
In this case in before the end of 2020 we start working on production of the Prototypes together with the Prototypes Donation Campaign.
We have to give a name to the motherboard, suggestions still remain open few days more on our forum.
Our Open Hardware license and endianness suggestions at OSS 2020
Why not a software license such as GPL? Hardware licenses are specific for hardware so they are written using the appropriate words: manufacturer, devices, CAD tool…
Why we choose the CERN Open Hardware Licence v1.2? We think it offers a better protection for the licensor compared to other hw licenses such as TAPR Open Hardware License
So, who are the licensor and the licensee? – In our project we (Power Progress Community) are the licensor and the licensee is the hardware producer. The Licensee may manufacture or distribute Products – Licensee could modify our work but the modification must be available under the same or equivalent license. Licensor is protected – Quality and responsabilities of the hardware belong to the licensee.
Other important notes – Firmware, drivers and any other software would require their own license. – Intellectual property belongs to the licensor. – Documentation must be provided in the right format to be modified (using a CAD tool).
In September 2020 we have published on our gitlab repository the Orcad source file with the latest version (v0.6) of the Electrical Schematics, you can go more deep on these board layout starting from the Orcad source.
The tentative deadline for Phase1B is 2th November so there are two weeks left to donate the remaining 3660 euros. If we will reach the goal, the PCB with SI bus simulation should be ready by the end of November.
In this case in December 2020 we will work on production of the Prototypes together with the Prototypes Donation Campaign.
We have to give a name to the motherboard, suggestions still remain open few days more on our forum
Thanks to the donations already received, the work on the PCB design can move forward and we estimate it could be completed by the End of September 2020. The date of publication of the PCB design will heavily depend on the results of the internal review process once we receive the first draft, hopefully it will not take long. The design of the PCB is meant to fit inside the Slimbook Eclipse body.
As we were unable to reach the goal by August, we are forced to postpone the deadline of the current Donation Campaign (Phase 1A) to the 15th of September 2020.
We kindly ask all followers, friends, and donors to concentrate their donations before the 15th September 2020, to ensure the end of Phase 1A to avoid an additional delay.
The plan is to deliver the PCB design with the end of Phase 1A, and right after that start Phase 1B “Fast SI bus simulations” on the 16th of September with a goal of € 5000 (around $ 5600). As a consequence, there will be no interruption in the donation campaign, it will transparently fade from Phase 1A to Phase 1B seamlessly.
In the last PCB update post we mentioned that a new version V. 0.5 ( June 2020) of the electrical schematics is in the works. After a few rounds of internal reviews, that new version is now finally ready to be publicly shared.
We have published in our repository this new version of the schematics.
Thanks to the project’s supporters (here a list of donors) we reached 76% of the goal of the current step.
It’s the first time that Power Progress Community and Acube Systems present together the project. This presentation is very comprehensive.
We thanks very much LugVi for the perfect organization and excellent work of video editing done with Olive in Flathub and the good participation from very active and expert people in free software and competent in hardware, that come from all the area (Veneto). It was very exiting and a pleasure to answer to all the questions!
Video of our presentation held the 15th November at sfscons.it Free Software Conference in Bozen, South Tyrol – Italy – where we have talked about “The Butterfly Effect of an Open Hardware Notebook Motherboard”.
We are happy to announce that we are finishing all the tasks required to launch our first crowdfunding campaign.
As you might know at this stage we will financing the electrical engineering and schematics of the motherboard. This work will be carried by ACube Systems if the campaign goal is achieved.
The campaign will be hosted in our current website and these days we are closing some requirements for the launch such as the WordPress plugin, text contents, videos and the secure payments integration through Paypal. We expect to have all ready during the second half of May.