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

Cole Poirier colepoirier at gmail.com
Sun Oct 18 14:25:55 BST 2020

On Sunday, October 18, 2020, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton <lkcl at lkcl.net>
> On Sun, Oct 18, 2020 at 10:52 AM Staf Verhaegen <staf at fibraservi.eu>
> wrote:
> > 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.

I concur. I believe that our process of transparency and ethical
development is one of our main selling points. The market is ripe for
something that is genuinely security and privacy focussed. We’re pursuing
what is as far as I can tell the only real way to do this, which is fully
open and transparent development. Security by obscurity hasn’t ever worked,
it’s time to attempt to put one more nail in that coffin!

> > 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).

Right. Yes the fact that the chip is being developed transparently does not
imply transparency of business dealings that use this development. That
would be an endvaour doomed before it started. Highlighting this
distinction in a very clear and easy to understand manny is something I’ll
have to work on as I write materials for explaining our chip and our
business objectives (derived from the existing material on the wiki).

> > 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.

At least we can thank them for that.


> but that's not how investors typically think.
> they're coming round.

Yes. The old paradigm is decaying, it’s being shown with increasing
frequency of examples how foolish it is, and how destructive it’s
*inevitable* consequences are. Time to start a new paradigm that won’t
involve billions and billions of dollars of security breaches and the
untold cost of the status quo of insecure spying processors and firmware.


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