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Google fosters the open source hardware community

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Open source silicon promises new challenges and opportunities for both industry and the open source community. To take full advantage of open silicon we will need new design methodologies, new governance models, and increased collaborations between industry, academia, and not for profits. A vibrant free and open source software community has been vital to both Google and our customer’s success. We look forward to supporting the new domain of open source silicon to similarly benefit all participants.

Working through its Open Source Programs Office (OSPO), Google is actively engaged in helping seed the open silicon space. Specifically by providing funding, strategic, and legal support to key open hardware efforts including lowRISC and CHIPS alliance.

lowRISC

lowRISC is a leader in open silicon community outreach, technical documentation, and advancing the goal of a truly open source system on a chip. We have long supported lowRISC’s mission of transparently implemented silicon and robust engagement of the open source silicon community, providing funding, advice, and recognizing their open source community leadership by selecting them as a Google Summer of Code mentoring organization.

Similar to the benefits of open source software, we believe our users will derive great outcomes from open source silicon. Besides enabling and encouraging innovation, chip designs derived from a common, open baseline will provide the benefit of implementation choice while still guaranteeing software compatibility and a set of common interfaces. With regards to security, the transparency of an open source approach is critical to both bugfinding and establishing implementation trustworthiness.

"Google has encouraged and supported lowRISC since the very start. They clearly share our optimism for what open source hardware can offer and our community-driven vision of the future. We are excited by the expanding open source RISC-V ecosystem and look forward to lowRISC community IP being deployed in the real world,” said Alex Bradbury, Co-founder and Director. “We believe lowRISC can act as an important catalyst for open source silicon, providing a shared engineering resource to ensure quality, provide support and help to maintain IP from a range of partners.”
lowRISC board members (L to R): Dominic Rizzo (Google), Alex Bradbury (lowRISC), Gavin Ferris (lowRISC), Dr Robert Mullins (University of Cambridge), Prof. Luca Benini (ETH Zürich), and Ron Minnich (Google, not pictured).
A first example of Google’s ongoing collaboration with ETH Zürich and lowRISC is the recently released “Ibex” RISC-V core. ETH Zürich donated their Zero-riscy core as a starting point and technical work to extend the core was done across all three organizations. You can learn more about Google’s collaboration with lowRISC on the RISC-V core here.

Furthermore, Google is excited to announce that it is joining the board of lowRISC, with the appointment of Dominic Rizzo and Ronald Minnich as corporate directors.

CHIPS Alliance 

Along with our increased funding, support and collaboration with lowRISC, we are also happy to announce our status as a founding member of the Linux Foundation’s CHIPS Alliance project. CHIPS Alliance features an industry-driven, collaborative model to release high-quality silicon IP and supporting technical collateral. Most recently, in collaboration with CHIPS Alliance, we released a Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) instruction stream generator to aid in the verification of RISC-V cores. We believe such open sourcing of verification tools will prove critical to the long-term success of the open source silicon community.

Google has been an early, strong supporter of the open silicon community. We believe deeply in a future where transparent, trustworthy open source chip designs are commonplace. To get there, we are committed to establishing a collaborative, community-focused, open source basis for free and open silicon design.

By Parthasarathy Ranganathan, Distinguished Engineer, Google and Dominic Rizzo, Open Silicon Tech Lead, Google 

Summer is here! Welcome to our 2019 GSoC Students!

Monday, May 6, 2019


After reviewing 7,555 student proposals, our 206 mentoring organizations have chosen the 1,276 students they will be working with during the 15th Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Congratulations to our 2019 GSoC students and a big thank you to everyone who applied. This year’s students come from 64 countries!

The next step for participating students is the Community Bonding period which runs from May 6 through May 27. During this time, students will get up to speed on the culture and code base of their new community. They’ll also get acquainted with their mentor(s) and learn more about the languages or tools that they will need to complete their projects. Coding begins May 27 and will continue throughout the summer until August 26.

If you were not selected for this year’s Summer of Code - don’t be discouraged! Many students apply more than once to GSoC before being accepted. You can improve your odds for next time by contributing to the open source project of your choice directly now; organizations are always eager for new contributors! Look around for a project that interests you and get started.

Happy coding, everyone!

By Stephanie Taylor, GSoC Program Lead

Season of Docs announces participating organizations

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Season of Docs has announced the 50 participating open source organizations! You can view the list of participating organizations on the website.

Technical writer applications open on May 29, 2019 at 18:00 UTC. 

During the technical writer exploration phase, which runs from now until May 28, 2019, technical writers can explore the list of participating organizations and their project ideas. They should reach out to the organizations to gain a better understanding of the organizations and discuss project ideas before applying to Season of Docs.

For more information about the technical writer exploration phase, visit the technical writer guide on the website.

What is Season of Docs?

Documentation is essential to the adoption of open source projects as well as to the success of their communities. Season of Docs brings together technical writers and open source projects to foster collaboration and improve documentation in the open source space. You can find out more about the program on the introduction page of the website.

During the program, technical writers spend a few months working closely with an open source community. They bring their technical writing expertise to the project's documentation and, at the same time, learn about the open source project and new technologies.

The open source projects work with the technical writers to improve the project's documentation and processes. Together, they may choose to build a new documentation set, redesign the existing docs, or improve and document the project's contribution procedures and onboarding experience.

How do I take part in Season of Docs as a technical writer?

First, take a look at the technical writer guide on the website. The guide includes information on eligibility and the application process.

The technical writer exploration phase runs from April 30 - May 28, 2019. During this period, you can explore the list of participating organizations and their project ideas. When you find one or more projects that interest you, you should approach the relevant open source organization directly to discuss project ideas.

Then, read create a technical writing application and prepare your application materials. On May 29, 2019 at 18:00 UTC, Season of Docs will begin accepting technical writer applications and publish a link to the application form on the website. The deadline for technical writer applications is June 28, 2019 at 18:00 UTC.

Is there a stipend for participating technical writers?

Yes. There is an optional stipend that technical writers can request as part of their application. The stipend amount is calculated based on the technical writer's home location. See the technical writer stipends page for more information.

If you have any questions about the program, please email us at season-of-docs-support@googlegroups.com.

General timeline

  • April 30 - May 28: Technical writers explore the list of participating organizations and project ideas.
  • May 29 - June 28: Technical writers submit their proposals to Season of Docs. 
  • July 30: Google announces the accepted technical writer projects
  • August 1 - September 1: Community bonding: Technical writers get to know mentors and the open source community, and refine their projects in collaboration with their mentors.
  • September 2 - November 29: Technical writers work with open source mentors on the accepted projects, and submit their work at the end of the period.
  • December 10: Google publishes the list of successfully-completed projects.
See the full timeline for details, including the provision for projects that run longer than three months.

Care to join us?

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about participating in the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Examine the timeline, check out the FAQ, and apply now!

By Andrew Chen, Google Open Source and Sarah Maddox, Google Technical Writer

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