Alessandro's blog

Archive for October, 2015

ORconf: Towards a Free Silicon Foundation

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

I attended the ORconf-2015, held at CERN, an impressive event with a dense schedule. Free hardware/gateware development is proceeding at a great pace, and the amount of free CPU cores out there is so large that next year the conference will change name.

With 100 attendees, it exceeded any expectation, and registrations had to be closed because of space limitations; Olof Kindgren recalled how it started with around 20 people in 2012.

I’ll skip on the impressive technical content, and concentrate a little on the management/political points. The “community” of free and open hardware is now at a critical point, and involved parties agree we need to work more on the management, to gain wider acceptance and market penetration of these approaches. Also, the most famous repository,, is somewhat stagnant, and development is mainly happening elsewhere.

All (or most) people at ORconf is quite strong about the topics of free information for a free society, so the dicussions were constructive, and I really hope we’ll be able to get the wheel rolling. The new initiative called FOSSi Foundation looks an interesting one, and I think we all should keep an eye on it: it is driven by the right people, and there is really a lot of community-driven intelligence out there.

There already is the “” initiative, which is concerned with physical objects and looks more aimed at companies than at communities. The FOSSi Foundation is willing to act in the world of digital RTL design, currently not covered by umbrella organizations, but very alive and active.

From,the FOSSi manifesto which is short and goes straight to the point, I’m very confident this initiative is going in the right direction, and I’m personally trying to be part of it, at least as a lurker — currently my only role in the HDL technical world, whose code is still “r-x” for me.

FSFE in Rainews

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

I’m a little shy to begin my blogging with some self-promotion, but you may consider that this is an FS-related news item in the press, and it may be a useful reference to point to. Or not…

After the news item about by new role as vice-presidente of FSFE, I was interviewed by (in Italian).

My friends, those used to my ramblings, noted is that my answers are obvious, but the questions are interesting.  The journalist is a free software user (desktop, raspberry, …), though not as involved as the typical FSFE supporter, and he asked these questions, thinking about his readership:

  • Would FS even exist without cell phone adoption.
  • What is FSFE in relation to FSF.
  • Why the rules about procurement are not obeyed much.
  • What about free hardware. Maybe Arduino can be the bait.
  • Volunteer, sponsored or financed by the public.

I fear my friends are right, these are the questions we must answer, if we want our commitment and efforts to be useful for society at large.