The move is part of a cunning plan to offer more robust support and educational tools for the active RISC-V community, and enable operating systems, hardware implementations and development tools to scale faster.
Rick O'Connor, executive director of the RISC-V Foundation, in a press release that RISC-V is hardware equivalent to the open source principles that guide the Linux project,
"ISA is open source, is not subject to patent encumbrances, and is available under the BSD license. Licensing fees for Arm or MIPS ISAs -- both of which are fundamentally RISC in principle -- can be avoided by using RISC-V."
Alternatives like Alpha, SuperH, MIPS, and even Intel's own Itanium processors have fallen by the wayside, as organisations using those ISAs in their products have had difficult adjustment periods transitioning away, while patent encumbrances largely prevent third parties from continuing development or providing drop-in replacements for those technologies.
"RISC-V's open nature prevents these issues, as it is possible for any organisation to extend or customise their implementation, and any organisation can produce their RISC-V processors", O'Connor said.