A Trustworthy, Free (Libre), Linux Capable,
Self-Hosting 64bit RISC-V Computer

Gabriel L. Somlo <somlo at cmu dot edu>, 2019-07-04 ⎯ 2020-05-08

NEW: latest build process at https://github.com/litex-hub/linux-on-litex-rocket;

Or skip directly to the self-hosting demo.

1. Motivation

My goal is to build a Free/OpenSource computer from the ground up, so I may completely trust that the entire hardware+software system's behavior is 100% attributable to its fully available HDL (Hardware Description Language) and Software sources.
More importantly, I need all the compilers and associated toolchains involved in building the overall system (from HDL and Software sources) to be Free/OpenSource, and to be themselves buildable and runnable on the computer system being described. In other words, I need a
self-hosting Free/OpenSource hardware+software stack!

I don't own or otherwise control a silicon foundry, and therefore can't fabricate my own ASICs, so I will build the "hardware" component of this computer on an FPGA, ensuring that any programming of (and bitstream generation for) the FPGA happens with Free/OpenSource tools. I consider the tradeoff to be worthwhile and advantageous from a trustworthiness standpoint: The following is a list of links to additional resources, documents and early experiments related to building the system described above: