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Nothing Lasts Forever: MIPS Edition


What a long, strange trip it’s been. MIPS Technologies no longer designs MIPS processors. Instead, it’s joined the RISC-V camp, abandoning its eponymous architecture for one that has strong historical and technical ties. The move apparently heralds the end of the road for MIPS as a CPU family, and a further (slight) diminution in the variety of processors available. It’s the final arc of an architecture.

I must admit that I'd not paid much attention to MIPS over the years, it was always one of those 'other' CPUs out there in the wild somewhere. Sun's SPARC family is still around, according to Wikipedia. DEC's Alpha CPUs survived DEC being eaten by Compaq, and Compaq then being eaten by Hewlett Packard, but ended up being phased out of existence. Ironically, that was because Intel's Itanium was seen as the future... and you can guess how that worked out.

Meanwhile, the descendants of the MOS 6502 and Zilog Z80 chips soldier on in embedded systems. And the ARM architecture has colonised pretty much everywhere else.

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