Showing posts with label Open-Source. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Open-Source. Show all posts

Developing Silicon IP with Open Source Tools


The electronic design automation (EDA) tool industry is big business, and commercial licenses are extremely expensive. Open standards have driven many proprietary EDA technologies to be publicly released as free/libre open source software (F/LOSS) and some have become IEEE standards. In this article, author Arthur Low reviews the history of key advances in ICs and EDA tools. The common theme presented in this article for the driver of technology innovation is the requirement to develop the most advanced microprocessor possible. Today, a low-cost, high-value-added business model can efficiently serve the market for IC subsystems licensed as intellectual property (silicon IP) in the form of compilable source code. Alternatively, for larger SoC designs, engineering budgets can be shifted from the purchase of a relatively small number of high-cost EDA tool licenses to open source EDA technologies that can be run on massive compute-server farms. The two business models are not theoretical, but realistic. The author explains how his company (Crack Semiconductor) developed commercially successful cryptographic silicon IP using entirely open source EDA technologies and how another company (SiCortex) pushed the limits of IC design and open source EDA tools by simulating and verifying a massively parallel supercomputer.

Fedora Electronics Lab


Fedora Electronic Lab (FEL) comes to fix one big problem in the opensource community.
The problem is : there is no one who provides opensource EDA solutions for the real life. Although it is one problem, it is very complex in itself. In real life, designers use EDA software to design chips or circuit boards. Thereby the designer requires a set of hardware design tools to design his/her chips. However the same set of hardware design tools does not apply for every hardware design project.
FEL is the vision child of Chitlesh Goorah [Interview @ http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Interviews/FEL)]...

FEL is..
* Fedora's EDA portfolio,
* an opensource EDA provider and
* opensource EDA community builder.

Advantages
* Deployable in both development and production environments.
* No kernel patches are required, making it easy to deploy and use.
* No licenses required and it is free.

Main Highlights:
"Fedora Electronic Lab" targets mainly the Micro-Nano Electronic Engineering field. It introduces:
* a collection of Perl modules to extend Verilog and VHDL support.
* tools for Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) Design Flow process.
* extra standard cell libraries supporting a feature size of 0.13┬Ám. (more than 300 MB)
* extracted spice decks which can be simulated with gnucap/ngspice or any spice simulators.
* interoperability between various packages in order to achieve different design flows.
* tools for embedded design and to provide support for ARM as a secondary architecture in Fedora.
* tool set for Openmoko development and other opensource hardware communities.
* a Peer Review Web-based solution coupled with Eclipse IDE for Embedded/Digital Hardware IP design.
* PLA tools, C-based design methodologies, simulators for 8051 and 8085 microcontrollers and many more ...

FEL live CD can be downloaded here..

Shareware VLSI CAD/CAE/EDA Software!


Checkout our Shareware VLSI CAD/CAE/EDA Software! section below to benefit from the numerous tools the Academic community has to offer. We will be updating as quite often as possible as we find more tools. Please comment to share the links you have found that will be of interest here. We really appreciate your support.

Updated to get the links here in this same post!!!

Open-Source EDA Tools - No supporters?


Why is there a lack of usable open-source tools in the commercial EDA industry? The academic world has many tools to boast of but not many are industry worthy! Hypothetically, all the best software tools in the world should be Open-Source due to the kind of collaboration that can be leveraged from all the smart brains the industry can offer. Why is it not happening like other software specific applications?Why isn't there a IBM or SUN in the EDA world that can do what these two did to the software world? Why Synopsys and Cadence are shying away from these burning questions? Is it a matter of time this may happen due to the current state of the global economy or is it due to the present state of industry consolidation which may rule out any scope all together? As a matter of fact, when Google hires it engineers it looks at what open source projects the candidate has worked on during his free time! Do we have a pioneer who can think in these terms? Can Mentor Graphics or others start this trend?

There is indeed a very important factor in the lack of traction for open-source in EDA. They are the engineers. Engineers who have both domain expertise and skills to make a meaningful contribution to any sophisticated EDA tool are relatively very small. Even if they did, all of them are already working either for EDA giants or for internal tools groups at other big semiconductor firms that have strict employment agreements. It is possible that most of these specialized people aren’t particularly free to contribute to an open source EDA in their “personal” free time.

I would really appreciate your comments and opinions on this important Topic.