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May 23, 2014

Chip makers form open source group to boost MIPS adoption

Long list of firms line up to promote architecture to rival ARM from devices to data centres.

By CBR Staff Writer

Imagination Technologies has teamed up with other semiconductor companies Broadcom, Cavium, Ikanos, Ineda Systems, Ingenic Semiconductor, Lantiq, Nevales Networks, PMC, Qualcomm to form an open source consortium called ‘prpl’ to support MIPS architecture.

The group will be supporting MIPS architecture to encourage the adoption of a wide range of open source software, from data centre to devices, which will run on MIPS processors.

Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie said, "For Imagination, this is an important new initiative in the further development of the MIPS ecosystem."

"With more than three billion units shipped, MIPS is one of the world’s leading CPU architectures,"Yassaie said.

"prpl will enable developers to draw on considerable resources to deliver applications and devices that share open source innovations created by some of the best minds from member companies to both B2C and B2B markets."

"The efficient, optimized, interoperable and scalable effort will enable the further development and proliferation of devices that benefit from the remarkable efficiency of the MIPS architecture and its unique features in areas such as hardware multi-threading, 32/64-bit compatibility and hardware virtualization."

Imagination plans to bring together open source projects under one roof, which is based on MIPS processor to make them accessible free, tool chains, associated libraries, common platform, debuggers, probes and software, and build environments for all users of MIPS.

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The group will leverage each other’s expertise and focus on their core domains and participate in specific prpl Engineering Groups (PEGs).

Key target areas of the foundation will be data centre, networking applications, digital home and embedded/IoT market.

prpl pronounced "Purple" will also support and complement initiatives like OpenWrt to complement OpenWrt drive carrier grade features to the next level.

MIPS chips are low power processors used in mobile devices and embedded applications similar to ARM processors. But in terms of popularity, it lags behind ARM processors, and Imagination Technologies has been pushing for its greater adoption since it bought MIPS Technologies in 2012.

The foundation will also contribute to the Linux community with OS distributions for MIPS including Android, Arch Linux, CentOS, Chromium OS, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, MEOS (MIPS Embedded OS), Montavista, OpenWrt, Redhat, Tizen, Ubuntu, WebOS and Yocto.

Separately, Imagination has announced collaboration with Oracle to enhance Java for embedded and the Internet of Things application which include Java support for 32-bit and 64-bit MIPS processors.

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