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posted by hubie on Tuesday May 10 2022, @03:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the tuck-my-worries-underneath-my-ARM dept.

UK sanctions Russian microprocessor makers, banning them from ARM:

The UK government added 63 Russian entities to its sanction list on Wednesday [04 May]. Among them are Baikal Electronics and MCST (Moscow Center of SPARC Technologies), the two most important chip makers in Russia.

The two sanctioned entities will now be denied access to the ARM architecture since Arm Ltd., the licensee, is based in Cambridge, England, and will have to comply with the sanctions.

[...] The two firms are considered vital for Russia's technological independence efforts, as they are expected to step up and cover the shortages created by the lack of processors made by Western chip-makers such as Intel and AMD.

[...] While these processors [the most advanced processors Baikai and MCST currently supply], and the much worse mid-tier and low-tier chips that carry the Baikal and MCST sticker, don't feature impressive performance, they could keep some vital parts of the Russian IT section going during shortages.

Although Russia has eased licensing regulations on other sanctioned items, such as software, that will most likely not happen here.

[...] However, it is important to remember that Baikal and MCST processors are made in foreign foundries, like Samsung's and TSMC's, and those two wouldn't infringe Arm's licensing rules and international law to facilitate Russian interests.

Baikal, which holds a valid license to produce at 16nm, only has a design license for its upcoming models, not manufacturing, so the only solution is to take the production domestically and ignore the rules.

[...] The Russian government has already approved an investment of 3.19 trillion rubles (38.2 billion USD) to counteract this in April 2022, but boosting local production will take many years. In the most optimistic scenarios, Russian foundries will be able to produce 28nm chips by 2030.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10 2022, @09:15PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10 2022, @09:15PM (#1243926)

    Hopefully yes, but not inevitable.

    Sun's Sparc was freed a long time ago, and it has not taken over the world-- even Fujitsu is abandoning it. IBM's Power is an open ISA... ditto. MIPS was freed a almost 5 years ago-- I haven't seen anything new using MIPS announced since.

    I hope not only a free ISA takes over e.g., RiscV, but also a free asic implementation (to the extent that is possible). Bunnie's idea of firewalling off all proprietary IP blocks e.g., from the fab with small easily auditable shims would probably be the way to go here (couldn't find a link to the video presentation he did, but there is probably a link hidden somewhere on his site

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11 2022, @12:34AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11 2022, @12:34AM (#1243968)

    The difference is those ISAs did not start out free. There was one company that controlled it and then opened it up as basically abandonware.