By D. Jeff Dionne
Development of open source silicon platforms applicable to difficult real world use cases, much as Linux has become in the operating system space, quickly run into difficulty. A CPU ISA or small system on chip is only one part of a platform. The diverse and complex interfaces, signal processing, and compute tasks such a platform is called upon to provide mean a system approach is necessary.
We outline our experience building the J-Core platform, and how scratching our own itches lead to counter intuitive design decisions. Designed from the ground up to cover mixed signal processing in systems with complex and secure edge computing tasks, we also needed portability to multiple FPGA families, low cost silicon processes, and scalability for performance on advanced process nodes.
J-core is a completely open source platform, from the transistors through the OS and end user applications. Designed in the context of real world product development and deployments, the resulting platform is unique in the open hardware space.
D. Jeff Dionne
Jeff is the original author of the uClinux kernel and OS. He has been designing and building open embedded systems with linux since the 1990s.