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Canonical enables Ubuntu on Sipeed’s LicheeRV RISC-V board


on 25 October 2022

This article is more than 1 year old.

Canonical continues to expand the availability of Ubuntu running on RISC-V processors and hardware. Followed by a few announcements during the RISC-V Summit China 2022 we are proud to announce the Ubuntu release for additional RISC-V hardware – Sipeed’s LicheeRV board.

RISC-V, defining of open computing

Open standards and collaboration are strategic to both hardware and software across industries and geographies. In the last decade, open source and open standards have reshaped our world. RISC-V is the most prolific and open Instruction Set Architecture in history, which has led the hardware community to embrace open standards and collaboration at this level.

This open Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) is enabling a new era of processor innovation through open-standard collaboration with rapid industry-wide adoption. To become the industry standard ISA across computing, the RISC-V ISA enables software and hardware design freedom on architecture. The architecture can be applied to a broad range of processors, from low-end microcontrollers to high-end server-grade processors. 

Sipeed introduces more affordable RISC-V board

Sipeed focuses on open-source RISC-V Ecosystems and AIoT/TinyML Applications. It provides a series of RISC-V open-source hardware for developers and makers, from the Tang series FPGA board for RISC-V softcore verification and validation to the LicheeRV series hardcore RISC-V board. 

LicheeRV D1 board is Sipeed’s first RISC-V Linux Single Board Computer (SBC), with modularization design and all interfaces exported. It is popular in the community due to its small footprint and affordable price. Many classic open-source projects have migrated to LicheeRV. 

Open source initiatives are backed by Canonical

While RISC-V enables stable reference architectures and hardware, running stable software on new boards can still be challenging. The cornerstone of the necessary software is the underlying Operating System (OS), which provides reliability and stability. This demand makes development on Linux even more attractive, since Linux is the most popular OS for developers and hobbyists, across kernel, drivers, and distributions.

At Canonical, we believe that open source is the best way to accelerate innovation. It motivates us to enable a wide range of open source communities under the Ubuntu umbrella. However, open source software comes with its own set of challenges. Canonical aims to position Ubuntu as not just the reference OS for innovators and developers, but also as the vehicle to enable them to take their products to market faster by letting them focus on their core application without having to worry about the stability of the underlying frameworks.

RISC-V has a lot of potential and is becoming a competitive ISA in multiple markets. With this premise in mind, porting Ubuntu to RISC-V to become the reference OS for early adopters was a natural choice. 

Sipeed and Canonical bring Ubuntu to the LicheeRV board

“We are glad to cooperate with Canonical, make Ubuntu available on the LicheeRV D1 board”, said Ji Yaping, CEO of Shenzhen Sipeed Tech Ltd. “It is a first but significant step for our partnership, and we will continue to collaborate with Canonical to provide powerful and affordable RISC-V SBC, and even pad, phone, and laptop.”

The availability of Ubuntu running on the LicheeRV board comes from a long-term collaboration and a dedicated joint effort between the two companies.   With the help of the Sipeed engineering team, Canonical’s team ports Ubuntu to the LicheeRV board more efficiently and effectively. 

Ubuntu, backed by Canonical, provides a commercial-grade Linux distribution that is also free to use by innovators and developers. “Collaborating with Sipeed to bring TinyML to RISC-V developers with the new Lichee RV board, represents a leap forward in creating open hardware and software communities.  We are proud to have Ubuntu enabling the growing RISC-V community.” said Cindy Goldberg, Vice President of Silicon Alliance at Canonical.

Ubuntu on LicheeRV board is available now

The Ubuntu image is now available for Sipeed’s LicheeRV board, and we continue to deliver new features and a port to the latest Ubuntu releases for it . 

Sipeed’s LicheeRV board is supported by Ubuntu 22.10. Download the latest Ubuntu images for Sipeed’s LicheeRV board here.

For guidance and discussion on the images and the best ways to install them, please check the wiki here.

About Canonical

Canonical is the publisher of  Ubuntu, the leading OS for container, cloud, and hyperscale computing. Ubuntu is the OS for most public cloud workloads as well as the emerging categories of smart gateways, self-driving cars and advanced robots. Canonical provides enterprise security, support, and services to commercial users of Ubuntu. Established in 2004, Canonical is a privately held company.

About Sipeed

Sipeed focuses on AIoT edge computing and embedded AI solutions, including open-source RISC-V Ecosystems and AIoT/TinyML Applications, and provides a series of RISC-V open-source hardware for developers and makers.

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