Jan 9, 2019 – Hex Five’s Don Barnetson is excited to join the RISC-V Foundation Marketing Committee as Co-Chair with Ted Marena. As early supporters of RISC-V, we have seen it develop from a small group of technical evangelists to the community of over 200 companies and thousands of individuals we have today.
The RISC-V Marketing Challenge Ahead
The technical accomplishments that are the RISC-V specifications need to be matched by an equally impressive marketing effort in order to address the commercial barriers that a new technology faces.
Building Awareness Up the Stack
At the Core and SoC level, the case that Patterson and Hennessy have made around single threaded code performance peaking is well understood. However, as we move further up the software stack the problem is less well understood and RISC-V is not yet well recognized as a solution.
A recent informal survey of the Open Source Community by OSS Capital indicated that only 41% of them even know what an ISA is:
POLL: Do you know what an ISA is? (Instruction set architecture). Be honest!— Joseph Jacks (@asynchio) January 6, 2019
We need to build a clear argument supported by case studies of how RISC-V can be a solution to scalability in examples and language targeted from the bottom to the top of the stack.
Broaden the Commercial Push
RISC-V has been blessed with some really innovative companies that have nearly singlehandedly driven RISC-V commercial adoption. This is awesome and is how many communities get started; but to maintain RISC-V’s growth rate we need to broaden this work to include move views and companies.
Broadening does not necessarily mean slowing down, but it does require more work up front in alignment so that the burden of execution can be carried more broadly. The RISC-V Foundation has a key role to play here in driving this effort.
RISC-V – The Most Secure Platform Ever.
At Hex Five, we believe that security is fundamental to the success and adoption of an ISA.
Legacy approaches of security through obscurity simply don’t work and have resulted in many of the vulnerabilities that have been so newsworthy in the past year. As other ISAs throw their hat into the Open Source ring, RISC-V brings a community and transparency that enables us to build trust with adopters.
The technical committee has delivered a RISC-V ISA with best in class core security, and an ecosystem of companies has built that into many compelling commercial ready solutions. As the RISC-V security specifications advance to cover the SoC platform in 2019; RISC-V will have an unmatched capability set.
The marketing opportunity ahead is to tell the incredible RISC-V security story more fully using examples and language that resonates up and down the stack: from an SoC architect, through to an embedded software engineer, up to a Kubernetes administrator and chief security officer (CSO) of an organization.
Standing On the Shoulders of Giants
At Hex Five, we’ve been beneficiaries of the once in a generation effort that is the RISC-V ISA. We’re very honored and excited at the opportunity to contribute back.