09.09.2011 21:24

List of various opensource HW projects

The open source approach in SW is quite common. There is however a big lap in HW. Well at least in the hype. The reason is simple. You can hardly simply copy the HW data and run it to consume the effect. You need to make something out of the matter and that's what is hard.. after all it is hardware.

There is one small exception - you may use a universal HW platform like a computer. It is called FPGA, that allows you to make HW out of software. This is very nice approach, but is expensive. You read right, you have to pay for hardware to have open source hardware.

There is more levels in what open HW means. Simply this is either low level (like something you can make out of silicon or in silicon) or something you can build from existing components based on a freely available printed circuit board layout. Here is my short list.

- this is real 32bit CPU in VHDL form - you can make your silicon out of the source, or maybe synthesize it into FPGA.

NatAmi Native Amiga - Amiga reimplementation with higher frequencies in FPGA
Minimig - mini Amiga reimplementation using FPGA http://www.minimig.net/

Speccy 2010
ZX Evolution
ZX ULA - even though ZX ULA is, from today's perspective quite simple, in general it is not that simple to re-implement it. It is even more complicated as every version of ZX and clones had a bit different ULAs where various corner conditions caused some side effects. Chris Smith was probably the first one to map this and he also promised to create a VHLD code for ZX ULA. Nevertheless if we have and ULA, we still have problems with original ROM content that is not free.
Here is and effort to write open replacement for ZX Spectrum ROM Open SE Andrew Owen ZX Spectrum ROM rewrite
ZX Spectrum SE
ZX in Altera/Terrasic DE1 board
Another ZX in Altera/Terrasic DE1 board 2011

Raspberry PI Broadcom GPU with integrated ARM - will probably not be open source HW, just layout may be available
arduino Atmel AVR MCUs
beagleboard TI open HW platform with OMAP/ARM
Neo FreeRunner
OpenPandora - complete handheld design with case, keyboard etc. ARM
PandaBoard OMAP4433 (dual arm)

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