Ordie is a completely open microcontroller built using the latest open source technologies. Ordie brings together multiple projects to produce a microcontroller capable of being used in a wide variety of projects, all while still providing all of the chip design files as open source, including the GDSII file submitted for fabrication.
The world of chip design has been very insular since the beginning of the silicon age. University students learn how to use proprietary tools, then go directly into industry once they graduate. Outside of this sphere, the chip design industry is a black box, with the general public only getting a glimpse of some of the finished products, and then only after many years of work have been poured into it.
Ordie will be completely open. This means that we won’t be able to use the latest 5nm process, but instead means we will use available, open PDKs. Consequently, the chip will not have a large amount of RAM or flash storage built-in.
Despite the small amount of storage, Ordie will still have enough to be useful. This may include doing interesting things with controlling external devices through clever IO blocks, or it may include interesting power control circuitry. Ordie will be useful, and not simply a proof of concept.
Many designs are tied a specific platform. In silicon, many advanced projects are tied to a particular foundary or fab. Ordie will be portable to multiple processes in order to take advantage of changes in the market.
There is absolutely no way Ordie could be developed in isolation. Ordie relies on tools and files designed by others, and Ordie will collaborate with those projects by submitting patches and improvements, and by adding technology to the stack that improves the design flow.
Ordie is just getting started, so there’s not much here yet.
Ordie is developed on GitHub under the OrdieProject group. The administrative contact is Sean ‘xobs’ Cross.