ARM sells the Juno development board for 10K USD. So by comparison, our HiFive Unleashed development board is not unreasonably expensive. But of course people don’t buy computers from ARM directly. You buy computers from computer companies that buy (or license) processors from ARM. Similarly you shouldn’t be looking for us to build computers, but rather for someone else to buy (or license) processors from us and use them to build computers. Meanwhile, we (and ARM) produce development boards for testing and software development for new cores and peripherals, and since these are produced in small quantities they tend to be expensive, but they aren’t intended for the consumer market.
Volume dictates price. The processors used in boards like the raspberry pi are produced for the cell phone market, and are manufactured in large quantities which is why they are cheap. Meanwhile, we are producing processors in small quantities for testing and software development. Small production runs means that they are necessarily expensive. This will eventually change when someone wants large quantities of RISC-V parts.
It is still very early in the RISC-V market. Give us some time, and I expect that there will eventually be lower cost boards that you can boot linux on. This may take another year or so.