From Open Software to Hardware Revolution

Satu Thoughts

Today everyone is happily surfing with their smartphones and tablets sending updates to social media without actually realising that these apps wouldn’t exist if there hasn’t been a big revolution in SW in the form of Open Source SW.

Not so long ago only few gurus were able to do coding and develop applications. The computers and their SW were few and quite expensive. Today, however, anyone can be a SW programmer, develop applications and create web sites. It can be just as easy as “drag and drop”.

Now, stop to think for a while and imagine all the electronic devices around you. Tablets, smart phones, PC’s, TV’s, activity wearables, cars, washing machines.. the list is endless.. and they all have microchips in them… and who develops the chips? Contrary to SW development where millions of programmers can develop and contribute the SW business, microchip development is done by only a few thousand chip specialists around the world working in medium or big companies.

HW development is years behind SW, and whole industry is closed. Actually, HW and especially microchip development is the last closed technology area. One needs a thick wallet and many special skills that are not typically in everyone’s portfolio, same way as in SW some years ago.

It’s no accident that e.g. big investment banks like Oppenheimer have noticed the rise of Open Source movement also in HW. However, to really open HW development for the masses there needs to be community, affordable tools, open source IP’s and an environment where development can be done. These all boost each other and what’s remarkable that the openness eventually boosts the whole existing technology in terms of new human resources, skills, ideas and open reusable IP’s.

Community, open IP’s and open EDA tools are already emerging. The closed field of microchip development is starting to open. SIROIC wants to be part of this HW revolution with siroHUB.

Stay tuned.