[Libre-soc-dev] silicon catalyst starting in canada

Staf Verhaegen staf at fibraservi.eu
Sun Oct 18 13:42:19 BST 2020

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton schreef op zo 18-10-2020 om 12:46 [+0100]:
> > Investors typically are not fond of open source based business models
> i'm talking with both a customer and an angel investor who completely
> get that full transparency is the only way that they are going to
> satisfy customers as to the security and auditability of the final
> product.
> these customers are absolutely sick and tired of proprietary firmware
> and ever since the Intel Management Engine fiasco are extremely
> concerned about back-door spying co-processors.
> explaining that to an investor is real simple and if they don't
> understand that this is what the *customer* wants then we simply
> politely end the conversation and move on to the next investor.

Problem is that investors may say they understand it until they realize
along the way they can't realize the ROI target.
Look at what happened to owncloud that was forked by original founder
to nextcloud when owncloud investors pushed to project to an open core

> > as you typically can't achieve the ROI they have in mind with an open
> > source business model. Problem with open source is that you will get
> > competition before you can reach the ROI investors typically want on
> > their investment.
> not if the customer list is confidential, and the product being
> developed is an "ancillary" to an existing well-established product
> line with those customers.  then the competition simply has no idea
> who to sell to, and even if they did, they'd have to become a
> competitor to the *main* business (selling products at USD 3,000 a
> time, where our ASIC will be a $20 component in that product).

But this is only valid for the existing customer(s); for any new
customer you will compete and your competitor likely does not have the
same ROI requirements so may be able to live on lower margins.

> > Of course (real) open source developers see this as a
> > feature and call it community rather than competition
> indeed.  the RISC-V community which is extremely large shows that
> cooperation is in fact possible whilst still making money and having
> nobody (significantly) stamping on each others' businesses and
> customer lists.

I consider the RISC-V community still in their honeymoon period and
time will tell if they will be able to mimic open source hardware
development as Linux has done for OS development. For example I see
possible conflict of interest between SiFive and the open source RISC-V 


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