Exciting news about an FPGA company embracing open source tools:
The Benefits of Open Source…
Fast forward to 2020 – I believe we are at a similar moment in our industry. The Programmable Logic (FPGA/eFPGA) market is multi-billion dollars in size and expected to grow at a moderate pace of >7% per year over the coming five years. Another subset of the semiconductor market is the open source RISC-V IP, software and tools market – predicted to grow at nearly 7X that of the FPGA Market. That begs the question… “Why is an open source standard creating such a large market so quickly?”
We believe one key reason is that open source hardware and software enable flexibility and freedom. We should not mistake freedom for free, there are proven business models built on open source that benefit the user, the community and the companies that actively participate (e.g. Red Hat with Linux).
Open source FPGA tools have been around for a long time, being used primarily by hobbyists and in academia. Over the past few years, this situation has evolved, with an increasing number of new developers with software backgrounds gravitating towards open source FPGA development tools, including design teams at some of the largest companies in the electronics industry.
With companies like Google and Antmicro, as well as several universities, making significant contributions to them, these tools are only going to keep getting better. This active participation has improved the quality of results, user experience, and encouraged broader adoption. To see what the open source community has done without direct and active Programmable Logic company participation is nothing short of remarkable. And it makes one wonder what could be possible if Programmable Logic companies participated more actively. Building a sports car is so much more efficient and effective when the engine specifications are shared with the design teams.