Oct 22, 2020
349: Open Down to the Transistor
1 hr 14 min

Drew Fustini (@pdp7) spoke with us about building Linux, RISC-V cores, and many other things. Links, so many links!

Drew is a board member of the BeagleBoard.org Foundation and of the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA.org). He is an open source hardware designer at OSHPark (he recommends their blog!). He writes a monthly column for Hackspace Magazine, for example The Rise of the FPGA in Issue 26 and  Intro to RISC-V

Yocto is a tool to help build a Linux distribution specific to your board and application! Bootlin offers free training material for Yocto and OpenEmbedded (as well as many other things such as Embedded Linux and Linux kernel development). Or there is a video: Buildroot vs Yocto: Differences for Your Daily Job - Luca Ceresoli at Embedded Linux Conference. Or look at Embedded Apprentice Linux Engineer (e-ale.org). Or maybe another video: “Yocto Project Dev Day Virtual 2020 #3: Yocto Project Kernel Lab, Hands-On, Part 1” by Trevor Woerner.

RISC-V is an open source processor core. Well, cores. But you can try them out in hardware even if you don’t want to play with an FPGA. The SiSpeed Longan Nano has a GigaDevices microcontroller dev board (with an OLED on board!, more info).

Did you know you can run Linux on RISC-V? The cheapest method is emulation and Renode is brilliant for that. Here is Drew using it on the train (twitter). Sipeed boards with Kendryte K210 start at only $13 and can even run Linux (tutorial). There are also affordable open hardware FPGA with free software toolchain support like the ICE40 based Icebreaker and Fomu. For a bit more money, the bigger ECP5 can run Linux. Or look at Greg Davill’s wonderful Orange Crab. For a lot more money but on silicon, the Icicle with Microchip PolarFire SoC is aimed at corporate use.

Or you can produce your own physical chips. For free (for a limited time). See the talk from Tim Ansell - Skywater PDK: Fully open source manufacturable PDK for a 130nm process

Drew attends a lot of conferences, here are highlights from the past:

Here are some future conferences he’s planning to attend:

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