Is MIPS Dead? Lawsuit, Bankruptcy, Maintainers Leaving and More…

When in 2018, Blu posted a guest post entitled “Baikal T1 MIPS Processor – The Last of the Mohicans?” I thought maybe it was too pessimistic with regard to the future of MIPS architecture.

At the time, MIPS belonged to Imagination Technologies, but soon the company had its own financial problems and had to sell MIPS assets to Wave Computing. The latter eventually announced the launch of MIPS Open Initiative early last year,  so there was some hope as interest might pick up to compete against RISC-V and Arm again.

But in recent months, MIPS related news has not been so good. First, Wave Computing decided to end MIPS Open Initiative in November 2019, then Paul Burton and Ralf Baechle removed themselves from the Linux kernel MIPS maintainer list in February 2020, as their work with MIPS ended leaving Thomas Bogendoerfer as the only maintainer.

But this month, things turned for the worse, with CIP United filing a lawsuit against MIPS LLC on April 6, before announcing the company had obtained exclusive MIPS license rights for mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau on April 11, 2019 (Click on News in top menu of this link).

In an article dated April 19, Semiwiki reports Wave Computing has now filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy letting all employees go. So it looks pretty bad, although there may still be some MIPS processors coming out of China in the future. but I’d expect hardware and software developments around the MIPS architecture to be seriously limited going forward, and MIPS may just eventually die off leaving the space to other IP vendors like RISC-V and Arm.

Thanks to anonymous for the tip

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