Firstly, please take this in the manner it’s given: as some questions concerning real issues that I strive to solve, not as a complaint or a casting of shade on the project.
When I heard about the SiFive unmatched, I immediately became excited. I have wanted for some time to put together a workstation that is seriously and completely under my control. Obviously, the issue of a video card is still an issue (SiFive just doesn’t address that … which is fine). I actually have a VT320 around here somewhere. :).
Anyways, someone I trust at the FreeBSD project (because I haven’t had time to do more of my own research) has identified the following as not free and open in the SiFive Unmatched:
- The Firmware the trains the DDR memory
- The Firmware that trains/configures the PCI bus
- The PHY (might be talking about the hardware) and HMAC for the included NIC
- (quoting more directly here) plus all the other ancilliary chips that aren’t the CPU or it’s secure enclave (intel ME equivalent).
I’d certainly be disappointed if there was something similar to IME (Intel Management Engine) that we don’t control on these chips. But as for this … and the others, I suppose I’m asking if this is true and if this can be addressed. I don’t necessarily need to build my own computer, but I want a computer for which I know and control all of it’s components… and I’d like it to be more modern than things I can build in my basement (like my multiprocessor 68040 project).