Does the Future of Programmable Logic include You?


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Most readers of the Digilent Forums are aware of nVidia's recently failed attempt to purchase ARM Holdings. Most are aware of the successful purchase of Altera by Intel many years ago, as well as the more recent purchase of Xilinx by rival AMD. ( Did anyone not see this coming? )

Some of us have been in suspension waiting a very long time to see what Intel will do with it's new FPGA/ARM vendor franchise. Perhaps we now have the answer: Software Defined Silicon (SDSi).

Speculation is that this is start of a new paradigm in how a few tech "overlords" will control the future. Of course, no one knows the future for certain. But knowing the past isn't all that difficult, though perhaps interpreting the past correctly might be challenging. The new paradigm is that instead of making one design that has features disabled or hobbled in order to confuse customers and users and optimize profits, we will now will have computer chips with hardware that the primary vendor can change, on the fly, in situ on end customer product.. for a price of course.

So what do readers of the Digilent Forum think about the (probable) future?

  • Should CPU/GPU vendors be allowed to own programmable logic companies?
  • How do you see the future for companies relying on FPGA devices dependent on the tools owned by direct competitors?
  • Can anyone see a potential flaw to having a "fluid" HW capability in high-end computing platforms connected to world wide network that is increasing being abused by criminal gangs and nation states for nefarious purposes?

The Linux Kernel has been increasing its support for "non-static' hardware platforms in recent years, much to the relief of ARM based FPGA product vendors. Of course, not all computing platforms are Linux based or open source. ( Just thought that I'd toss this thought into the mix )

I've seen a depreciation of support for the HDL flow by all programmable logic vendors in recent years in the tools. I'm not optimistic. I hate to think of what companies like FB are imagining. Nothing gets imitated more than a bad idea that makes boatloads of money for a few oligarchs.

Edited by zygot
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