Turtles All The Way: Running Linux on Open Hardware

Room 2
Time Slot: 

Patent expiration makes old technologies, such as the SuperH processor, interesting again. The last patent on sh2 (used in the Sega Saturn) expired in october 2014, and the last sh4 (dreamcast) patent expires in 2016. This lets us leverage existing kernel, toolchain, and userspace support on now royalty-free hardware.

We've implemented a cleanroom sh2-compatible processor design called ""j2"" with basic peripherals (serial, ethernet, mmc) in an FPGA, booted current Linux on it using existing open source toolchains, and released the VHDL under a BSD license. For our next trick we're adding SMP support and a dozen DSPs, and manufacturing some ASIC versions.

Our current website walks you through building/installing it on a Numato Mimas v2 FPGA board (about $50 retail), but we're kickstarting a cheaper and more powerful FPGA in a raspberry PI 2 form factor.