The new RISC-V chip promises to be a game changer in the open hardware field.
The lack of open source computer chips has always been a major obstacle to the development of free hardware. The supply is limited, which can limit the number of open hardware units, and suppliers have been known to substitute proprietary chips without informing the manufacturer. In recent years, such problems have been alleviated by single-board microcontrollers, like those made by Arduino, but these devices are useful mainly for dedicated hardware with limited capacity. Now, however, the situation is on the verge of changing – in no small part because of the emergence of the RISC-V (pronounced “RISK Five”) chip, which is starting to be used in proprietary and open hardware alike.