MIPS Open-Source Group Takes Aim at ARM, Intel
Vendors like MIPS owner Imagination, Broadcom and Qualcomm are looking to drive MIPS adoption with the Prpl Foundation.Imagination Technologies is taking the open-source route in hopes of driving wider adoption of its low-power MIPS processor architecture in everything from small devices that are part of the Internet of things to servers and networking gear that run in data centers. Imagination and several other vendors—including Broadcom, Qualcomm, Cavium and PMC—have created an open-source consortium that is designed to draw in developers who want to make software that can run on a range of systems powered by MIPS processors. The companies announced the Prpl (pronounced "Purple") Foundation May 22 to rapidly grow the reach of the MIPS architecture and make it more competitive against more dominant platforms like ARM and Intel's x86 chips. It also will find competition from the OpenPower Foundation, IBM's effort to open up the Power architecture to bring it into more system and devices. "For Imagination, this is an important new initiative in the further development of the MIPS ecosystem," Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie said in a statement. "With more than 3 billion units shipped, MIPS is one of the world's leading CPU architectures."
There was a time when MIPS was among the leading RISC processor architectures, running in systems from the likes of Silicon Graphics (SGI) and communications products from Cisco Systems and others, Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64, told eWEEK. However, it struggled over the past few years as its ownership changed, going from independent to being under SGI's control and then back to being independent.