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posted by janrinok on Friday May 20 2022, @09:56AM   Printer-friendly
from the dont-put-some-of-your-eggs-in-too-many-baskets dept.

Tech war: China bets on open-source RISC-V for chip design to minimise potential damage from 'being cut off' by US sanctions

A growing number of Chinese chip design firms have adopted open-source RISC-V in their chip designs as an alternative to Intel's proprietary X86 and Arm's architecture, in a bid to minimise potential damage from US sanctions and to save on licensing fees.

[....] "[This] gives Chinese companies access to a global open standard instruction set architecture (ISA) ecosystem," said Stewart Randall, head of electronics and embedded software at consultancy Intralink. "So Chinese companies can have access to, and create, their own cores or chips based on it."

However, some industry experts said China's adoption of open-source RISC-V architecture would not shield them from all US sanction risks, as America still holds the trump card when it comes to electronic design automation (EDA) tools, the key software needed for chip design, as well as chip manufacturing technologies.

If you really want to create your own cores from scratch, without licensing anyone else's IP, is it truly possible to do so with RISC-V?

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Tech war: China bets on open-source RISC-V for chip design to minimise potential damage from 'being cut off' by US sanctions


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Friday May 20 2022, @11:15AM (15 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Friday May 20 2022, @11:15AM (#1246539)

    As awful as Russia may be, other not-yet-quite-enemies of the United States have taken good notice of how the US uses its private tech sector to bully other countries around, and how vulnerable they are to the whims of the administration du jour when they rely on US tech.
    In the case of China, they first saw it when the US decided to target Huawei.

    I am not surprised one bit that China wants to regain its tech independence. I won't be surprised when bona fide US allies quietly decide to progressively follow suit and regain their own independence, just in case another crazy POTUS gets elected and the US changes tack with them.

    The result is that the US will slowly slide into irrelevance. Was it worth it, mostly for crass hegemonic purposes, as opposed to defending itself against a real, imminent military danger, I'm not sure.

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  • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Friday May 20 2022, @12:02PM (3 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday May 20 2022, @12:02PM (#1246545)

    China and the US went from being straight-up enemies for most of the Cold War to being frenemies since the 1990's. Exports to the US market, which really opened up during the Clinton administration in a big way, has been the engine of economic growth for China, and also why they've pegged their currency to the US dollar. While at the same time being the US's most difficult political enemy on the world stage.

    The risks to the US involved in messing with China are far greater than messing with Russia: The main thing Russia can do short of launching their nukes is cut off oil and gas exports to Europe, which is exactly what Putin is starting to do but the Europeans are sorting it out at least for the short term, but can't really do too much of that because the Russian economy depends on those exports to be able to buy any imports from other countries so it's not something he's likely to quit cold turkey. Whereas China could crash the US dollar and really screw up a large percentage of American businesses very quickly if they wanted to, in addition to whatever they pulled militarily against US allies like South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Friday May 20 2022, @03:24PM (1 child)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Friday May 20 2022, @03:24PM (#1246596) Journal

      Also, the US is a net exporter of gas now. The US oil & Gas industry is making a killing right now trying to supply that shortfall. That could be good, bad, whatever.....but cutting off O&G exports to Europe is a money making opportunity for the US.

      • (Score: 2) by ncc74656 on Monday May 23 2022, @09:01PM

        by ncc74656 (4917) on Monday May 23 2022, @09:01PM (#1247321) Homepage

        the US was a net exporter of gas

        FTFY. We were until fairly recently, but then the senile sundowning shithead stole an election and put an end to that. If we were still a net exporter of petroleum products, we wouldn't be paying $5+ per gallon at the pump.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20 2022, @05:46PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20 2022, @05:46PM (#1246637)

      Not that simple, things have been changing. China has been moving away from the dollar, trimming holdings and reducing exposure. Even if they could crash the dollar (to some extent) that would actually be good for US exporters, because suddenly US exports would be hugely more competitive on the world market. The real damage would be collateral, hurting other economies that rely on dollar-denominated stuff.

  • (Score: 2) by unauthorized on Friday May 20 2022, @04:04PM (9 children)

    by unauthorized (3776) on Friday May 20 2022, @04:04PM (#1246604)

    As awful as Russia may be, other not-yet-quite-enemies of the United States have taken good notice of how the US uses its private tech sector to bully other countries around

    I mean, this is nothing new. Cuba is still under a US blockade against international law for 80 years now and the UN has been slamming them over it every single year for the last four decades. China itself has been hit by US sanctions several times and as recently as 2020 so it's not like this comes as any surprise to them, they've been planning independence from US tech for at least two years now as they announced in late 2020 IIRC when they published their current five year plan.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20 2022, @04:46PM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20 2022, @04:46PM (#1246615)

      I've never understood the Cuba situation my whole life (it's an embargo, not a blockade; I've heard the Canadians find Cuba to be a very nice site for vacationing). I understand that there is a very vocal south Florida group made up of formerly wealthy Cubans that is deemed to be politically important, but it has surprised me how long they've managed to affect policy. For a long time, I suppose, the US wouldn't change policies while Castro was in power because that would mean he "won" or something, but really. If it really was about the evils of communism or whatever, history has showed that all you need to do is completely open and normalize relations and let Western consumerism do its job and the grand resorts and casinos [rarehistoricalphotos.com] (and McDonalds and Walmarts) will return and flood the island, it's just that it most likely won't be in control of the families that used to control them (which, of course, is the whole political sticking point to begin with).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20 2022, @05:59PM (7 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20 2022, @05:59PM (#1246644)

        It's quite a bit more complex than that, and has very little to do with dispossessed families. The embargo, such as it is, has been gently easing anyway.

        Cuba has persistently presented itself as a hostile power to the USA, ever since Castro took over. This has never changed. Sure, they sometimes remember to put on the poor suffering martyr mask, but in geopolitical terms they've not been friendly to the USA in any way that I can think of, for decades. Now it's all very well to say that they don't have to - and it's true, because they don't have to. However, the USA doesn't have to lift the embargo either until Cuba stops being dickish.

        If Cuba wanted to do a volte face and patch things up, there's a to-do list that they can follow. They just don't want to.

        AND THAT MAKES THEM POOR SUFFERING MARTYRS UNDER THE GLEAMING FASCIST CORPORATE JACKBOOT OF NEOIMPERIALISM!!!

        ... or so they say.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20 2022, @08:58PM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20 2022, @08:58PM (#1246697)

          They will love us if we just starve their children some more. And stop any shipments of modern medicine and technology. They WILL love us then.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21 2022, @02:57AM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21 2022, @02:57AM (#1246767)

            You only love Cuba because it's communist. It's been run by a brutal Latin American dictator. The slogans probably sound good to your ear, though.

            It's not "the people of Cuba" who run Cuba, but the Castro family, and they could have turned their back on communism at any point and opened up their economy TO THEIR OWN PEOPLE, but they never did. The govt still owns everything.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21 2022, @03:35AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21 2022, @03:35AM (#1246770)

              The embargo doesn't really affect the Castro family. It only hurts the regular people. Maybe you think capitalism/socialism/communism is a religious thing - anyone who doesn't agree with your preference is heathen and can be treated in a less humane way?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21 2022, @04:54AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 21 2022, @04:54AM (#1246787)

              Brutal Latin America dictator? You mean like Batista?

            • (Score: 4, Informative) by unauthorized on Saturday May 21 2022, @06:51AM

              by unauthorized (3776) on Saturday May 21 2022, @06:51AM (#1246794)

              Ah yes, a brutal dictator who engaged in such evils as building housing, schools, hospitals, but worst of all expelling the legitimate [themobmuseum.org] businessmen [themobmuseum.org] who flourished under the gentle regime of the US-backed Good Guy(tm) Batista and build those wonderful resorts and casinos among other legitimate businessmen pursuits such as empowering women to engage in sex work and overcoming unjust sanctions on consumer goods.

              It's not "the people of Cuba" who run Cuba, but the Castro family, and they could have turned their back on communism at any point and opened up their economy TO THEIR OWN PEOPLE, but they never did. The govt still owns everything.

              Yeah, you are full of shit. The government of Cuba explicitly allows private property [columbia.edu] by constitutional law and there have been various forms of state-sanctioned private enterprise in Cuba since the 80s.

        • (Score: 2) by unauthorized on Saturday May 21 2022, @06:57AM (1 child)

          by unauthorized (3776) on Saturday May 21 2022, @06:57AM (#1246795)

          Cuba has persistently presented itself as a hostile power to the USA, ever since Castro took over.

          Oh, what did they do? Did they stage an invasion on America? Did they try to assassinate your president 300 times? Do they engage in hostile espionage against your country to this day? Have they made open and explicit attempts to prevent free trade between the US and other sovereign nations? To a country which formerly imported 80% of it's food?

          Oh wait, that's the US doing all of those things against Cuba. Cut the crybully crap, Cuba is not the hostile actor here.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 22 2022, @05:30PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 22 2022, @05:30PM (#1247056)

            cuba is "bad" 'cause they allowed the soviets to install a nuclear launch facility... which ofc soviets did "out of the blue" one morning 'cause bored and not because of 'murikan nuclear tipped jupiter missiles stationed in turkey...

            cuba violated the "NIMBY" principal.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20 2022, @05:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20 2022, @05:46PM (#1246638)

    The result is that the US will slowly slide into irrelevance.

    Your geopolitical analysis is flawed. Here, take a look at this list of economies by size: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal) [wikipedia.org]
    Sure, if you just look at the US and China, the US is barely winning. But when you consider that the rest of the free world is as big as the US and China put together, and they are more likely to follow the lead of the US than that of China, things are a little different.
    The US is the undisputed leader of the free world, having an economy five times the size of it's nearest competitor. And the free world, having 60% of world GDP, is not going to slowly slide into irrelevance.