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.

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  1. One underlying assumption here is that the giants must take the lead. It might be useful to question this assumption.

    Thanks mainly to Berkeley, but also others, there already exist what seems to me is the foundation of an open source eda platform.

    It seems possible that a properly organized volunteer effort (perhaps led by GNU?) could yield an industrial grade open source EDA suite.

    An open source, industrial grade EDA suite would be a huge leap forward in the history of the IC as it would open the IC development field to those without investment banking connections. We must organize and make this happen.

  2. Please see my recent article on this subject on Developing Silicon IP with Open Source Tools at the Open Source Business Resource:

    Arthur Low


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