After eighteen months of hard work, it’s done: the RISC-V processor trace spec is ratified. This is excellent news and everyone involved should congratulate themselves on a job well done. Read the news here on the RISC-V Foundation website. The RISC-V specifications, including Trace, are all available to view here.
The trace encoder allows developers to see the code the processor is executing. When you consider how time consuming the task of debugging and integrating tools and extensions can be (typically over half of a developer’s time), its importance is clear. It’s vital that developers can select vendors with the knowledge and confidence that their hardware and tools will support a standard: now and in the future. Ultimately, it means less time and fewer headaches for RISC-V developers.
For the last eighteen months as Chair of the RISC-V Processor Trace Task Group, I’ve seen the lengths the team has gone to, to prioritize getting this done and ultimately making a robust standard available to RISC-V developers for the 21st century. The support for RISC-V continues to grow consistently, with an increasing number of commercial implementations, and we see new application areas opening up all the time.
If you’re looking to get a RISC-V project up and running, it’s worth knowing that our standards-compliant open source trace encoder (TE), recently donated to the community and made available via the OpenHW Group. Our open source TE implementation includes test benches and verification tests. You can read more about it in our recent announcement or get in touch with us.