Global open hardware standards organization RISC-V international recently announced that Intel was joining their roster. The news comes as a surprise to many, who see Intel - the famously closed-source monolith - as unlikely bedfellows with an open ISA standard.
The announcement comes alongside a $1B pledge from Intel supporting innovation in chip architecture and design. The new fund seems to apply to pretty much any company working with any architecture as long as they are "building disruptive technologies for the foundry ecosystem."
While there are many details to the new announcement, the inclusion of other architectures in this venture is notable. Alongside x86, Intel seems to be equally favoring those working using Arm and RISC-V ISAs.
Several companies have announced partnerships with Intel, too, including SiFive, Esperanto Technologies, Andes Tech, and Ventana Micro. It seems like a strange world when Intel might just be the most prominent supporter of innovation in Open Instruction Set Architecture (OpenISA). The cat is not only out of the bag but helping the mice find a new hole.
Intel Take the RISC
It might seem strange for Intel to offer so much that is seemingly not in its best interest, but it wouldn't be the first time. Intel has made significant efforts in recent years to repaint the companies image and dedicates a considerable amount of time to open source projects and tools.
For us Makers, it means interesting mixed architecture chipsets on a new range of boards in the future. Today, RISC-V dev kits are cheaper than ever, and there's never been a better time to learn the basics!