I wrote a while back about Sun’s decision to GPL the design for its Niagara T1 chip.
Also, the problem of having to use proprietary software to work on the chip design seems to be solved. This is an excerpt from the SimplyRISC homepage:
The development environment of the S1 Core can run on any Unix/(GNU/)Linux box and no commercial tools are required, since both simulation and synthesis of the Verilog files of the design can be performed using the free software Icarus Verilog.
Way, way cool.