Running Linux on RISC-V hardware is already possible, but you'd have a choice of low-end platforms like Kendryte K210 [cnx-software.com] that's not really practical for anything, or higher-end board like SiFive HiFive Unmatched [cnx-software.com] or PolarBerry [cnx-software.com] for which you'd have to spend several hundred dollars, or even over one thousand dollars to have a complete system.
So an affordable, usable RISC-V Linux SBC is clearly needed. We previously wrote about an upcoming Allwinner RISC-V Linux SBC [cnx-software.com] that will be mostly useful for camera applications without 3D GPU, and a maximum of 256MB RAM. But today, we have excellent news, as the BeagleBoard.org foundation, Seeed Studio, and Chinese fanless silicon vendor Starfive partnered to design and launch the BeagleV SBC (pronounced Beagle Five) powered by StarFive JH7100 dual-core SiFive U74 RISC-V processor with Vision DSP, NVDLA engine, and neural network engine for AI acceleration.
[...] Based on our previous article about SiFive U74 [cnx-software.com] core, performance should be similar to Cortex-A55, so a dual-core U74 RISC processor will not have that much processing power compared to other Arm boards, but the network accelerator should make it competitive against other AI boards like Coral Dev Board mini [cnx-software.com].
One obvious item missing from the specifications is a GPU, and I was told while the first batch scheduled in March will be GPU less, but the next batch – slated to be manufactured in September – will come with an Imagination Technologies GPU.
BeagleV will be supported by mainline Linux and a Debian-based software image will be provided. I can also see mentions of Fedora and FreeRTOS. The RISC-V Linux SBC will be open-source hardware just like other boards from the BeagleBoard.org foundation meaning hardware design files, firmware, and the software will be made available publicly.
Related: SiFive Announces HiFive Unmatched Mini-ITX Motherboard for RISC-V PCs [soylentnews.org]