IBM’s Cell Processor Going Open Source?

EETimes is reporting that IBM, Toshiba and Sony, in an attempt to gather support from the Open Source community, are releasing the new chip’s full specificaitons and software libraries.

The Cell Processor is the processor powering the Sony’s new Playstation3 (PS3).

The IBM Corp. fellow who led the design team said his company currently has no plans to make Cell-based chips for its own systems or for the merchant market. Instead, IBM has set up a team in its engineering services division to help others custom-design versions of Cell that could be made in IBM’s fabs.

A representative of Toshiba Corp., the development partner most likely to pursue the merchant market with Cell-based designs, said the company will release hardware reference designs and a software development platform for Cell. Details about the cost and timing of those products were not available. Toshiba has said it would use the chip in a television set in 2006.

In this light, IBM, Toshiba and the third Cell partner, Sony Corp., are turning to the open-source community to drum up interest in the architecture.

“Our intention is to open up the Cell software architecture. The idea is to get the industry to help us evolve the basic software layers,” said IBM’s Jim Kahle, the Cell team leader.

Read the full story at EETimes.

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