LONDON A first commercial license for the Leon3 Sparc V8-compliant 32-bit processor has been signed with an un-named customer active within the consumer electronics segment, according to the processor's developer, Gaisler Research AB (Goteborg, Sweden).
Gaisler Research, founded by Jiri Gaisler in 2001 specializes in digital hardware design for both commercial and aerospace applications. In particular the company performs custom microprocessor development and fault tolerant computer system design. Tt was while working for the European Space Agency (ESA) that Gaisler developed Leon, a Sparc-compliant 32-bit processor, for which the design source code was made freely available.
Gaisler's company has recently been awarded a 500,000 euro (about $660,000) contract by ESA to provide support and maintenance of the Leon2 processor and to implement the fault tolerant functions for the successor, Leon3.
"This contract will formalize the maintenance and support that we provide to the European space industry for the Leon2 processor. The contact will also secure the development of the successor Leon3, which is more performant and also more suitable for system-on-a-chip designs," said Gaisler, chief technology officer and founder of Gaisler Research, at the time.
The Leon3 is related to the Leon2 Sparc-compliant processor which has been distributed by Gaisler under the GNU LGPL license, allowing free and unlimited use in both research and commercial applications. The commercial version of Leon3 was released in October 2004. The processor is capable of a 400-MHz clock frequency on a 0.13-micron manufacturing process.
The full source code of the Leon3 is also available under the GNU GPL license, for free and unlimited use for research and education, but Leon3 has a paid-for commercial license, which Gaisler describes as "low-cost".
The Leon3 includes multiprocessor support with a fault-tolerant version due to become available Q1 2005, suitable for both ASIC design as well as implementation in radiation-hardened Actel RTAX FPGAs. It includes a floating-point unit and AMBA 2.0 AHB bus as well as configurable caches.
The terms and conditions on the license agreement signed by Gaisler Research with the un-named customer were not disclosed except to say the customer is using the Leon3 as the processor core in a system-on-a-chip design.
"We are thrilled to sign our first commercial license agreement so soon after the first release of the Leon3 processor. The agreement also covers the follow on use of the processor and we hope that this is the start of a long relationship with this important customer," said Per Danielsson, chief executive officer of Gaisler Research.