The RISC-V Foundation recently published a very informative article by Chairman of The Board Krste Asanovic that clarifies the difference between a specification and an implementation when it comes to open source. While the emergence of open RISC-V instruction set architecture has led to waves of excitement and innovation, there’s still plenty of confusion about how to talk about the RISC-V ecosystem and the correct terms to use. Asanovic’s explanation is incredibly helpful, and in an effort to provide the most relevant information to our community, we wanted to share his most recent article.
Commercial RISC-V ISA core vendors verify and guarantee their own core designs and provide technical support to their paying licensees, just like vendors of proprietary ISAs, except that RISC-V customers are free to choose among a large number of commercial core suppliers implementing the same standard ISA. In fact, RISC-V already has the largest number of compatible commercial core providers compared to any other ISA in history. This diversity of suppliers ensures a much richer variety of commercial cores with a greater stability of supply than any single proprietary ISA vendor can match.
– Krste Asanovic, Chairman of the Board, RISC-V
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