Alessandro's blog

Free Software and related stuff

ORconf: Towards a Free Silicon Foundation

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.