[Fedora-electronic-lab-list] Fedora Project, give me 20 Million Euros or Free EDA software

Chitlesh GOORAH chitlesh.goorah at gmail.com
Fri Jan 30 21:40:45 UTC 2009

Hello there,

Before reading the mail, be brave people read this blog post first,
especially people from FESCo:

Do comment on that blog post. Afterwards you read my email.


I found it sad that I have to write this email today. Well, it is part
of my contribution to both opensource software and opensource EDA
software communities.

The subject of this email is "Fedora Project, give me 20 Million Euros
or Free Software" ! Unfortunately, I'm not kidding and even 20 Million
Euros is not enough.

Well, let's get to the point !

-- Abstract

I wish to maintain a package called OVM. This package is opensourced
by the two giant EDA Vendors : Cadence and Mentor Graphics, under the
Apache 2.0 license.
However, since there is no opensource tool to use OVM, FESCo has
freezed its entry.

Since when opensource software is more important than opensource content ?


-- About OVM: Open Verification Methodology

The OVM is based on the IEEE 1800 SystemVerilog standard and supports
design and verification engineers developing advanced verification
environments that offer higher levels of integration and portability
of Verification IP. The methodology is non-vendor specific and is
interoperable with multiple languages and simulators. The OVM is fully
open, and includes a robust class library and source code that is
available for download.

-- Explanation of the "Don't kill OpenSource EDA software and its community" cry

About 90% of the opensource software you can use it as a replacement
of another proprietary software. However in the EDA industry this is
not true. There is NO EDA software (whether proprietary or opensource)
that can replace another. If someone tells you the contrary, export
him/her to planet Mars on the spot. NO EDA software is used by users
as the rpm is provided. For each project, you will need to tweak the
software as a user. That's one of the reasons why frontend digital
designers like Tcl and Perl.

Unlike the rest of the opensource SOFTWARE packagers, my users have NO
interest in opensource EDA design tools if in the end they can't
produce hardware with them!!

Why ?

I have 2 types of users ! the students and the hardware amateurs.
But these are not the ones I'm fighting for ! I'm fighting to seduce
the right people to encourage mass Fedora deployment with EDA tools.
These "right" people are lecturers and EDA engineers. You have noticed
that I didn't mention "analog/digital" engineers yet.

Lecturers will _find_ the right tools for the students so that they
can market themselves when looking for a job.
EDA engineers will be _contacted_ by big vendors to help him choose
the right tool for his/her "analog/digital" engineers. Some EDA
engineers will even be invited for several expensive hotels/dinners.

While the opensource software community talks about how they are proud
of AIGLX, fedora, OOo, Amarok, KDE4,..., I am sad to say that I can
not say the same for Open Hardware.

With Fedora Electronic Lab, we do not only attracted users with
respect to opensource EDA tools, but FEL contributors are heavily
divided into the following communities:
- opensource software : by shipping free EDA tools
- open Hardware : by targeting these persons

I will only consider that WE were successful with FEL if open Hardware
projects/companies HAVE USED opensource EDA tools to design their
hardware. This is a goal. A goal to reach and show what we can
achieved with opensource software.
I'm not talking about ghdl being used to simulate OpenSparc T2 for
example, I'm talking about completing the whole Open Hardware project
to Silicon. Amateurs/home made pcbs is simple.

Bridging these two communities, give us(Fedora)[#1] extra
responsibilities, which we are currently the opensource Leader in EDA
deployment. These responsibilities include maintaining the health of
the opensource EDA software community and encourage continuous
deployment. Unlike the opensource Linux ECO system, the EDA world is
dictated by:
- research and development in silicon.
- infinite number of standards.
- various quality-class proprietary EDA tools are available for free download
- ....

Among the industry standards, OVM IEEE 1800 SystemVerilog standard is
under an acceptable license for Fedora's inclusion. As you have surely
guessed the ODF standard was not made standard by some cheap geeks. It
costs money, time and development strategy. We (opensource community)
have nothing such thing to create a standard for electronics! We don't
currently have an opensource simulator for SystemVerilog. Now imagine
OOo without ODF support. Will the opensource software community dump
the ODF initiative ? We don't have human resources[2] to just pop a
simulator tool for systemverilog out of the blue.

Growing Numbers of SV users:

You have certainly heard couple thousands layoffs in the semiconductor
industry this month. Companies are taking drastic measures to cut
expenses, I believe FEL will be attractive for them. Unlike the normal
fedora user, these companies will do mass fedora deployments from the

VMM also suffers the same issue.

--- Additional notes:

I referred "us(Fedora)[#1]" because I strongly believe Fedora IS THE
ONLY ANSWER for the opensource EDA community.
Sorry, users from non-Fedora-based distribution should seriously
change their professional career if they are doing ASIC design.
Why ? : Electronic Design Automation Consortium has established EDA
Industry OS Roadmap guidelines for which platforms EDA vendors and
customers should target for design starts.
For Linux Users, you have RHEL and SLES. Please don't get excited
Linux was attractive because Vista failed to impress the EDA market.
If Windows 7 prove otherwise, EDA Vendors will provide less Linux
support. While these are proprietary software, they are the only way
to program their hardware devices. Take for example, you buy a
development FPGA kit from Altera or Xilinx, you can only program your
FPGA will their free tools on windows. It is free and users don't need
to care about its source code as they can have good support from their

Hence, I have shown you how my users will think and how easy we can
lose linux users. I'm not talking about helping proprietary software,
but avoid dumping software that have been opensourced and are still
being maintained.

human resources[2] : Unlike a normal software, electronic simulation
tools should be mature. Because the hardware being developed are the
one you will find in your brand new cars, airplanes, in various
medical devices. Since these are life critical applications, the
designer will not want a 2-week developed simulator. That is why I'm
saying that I don't think we will see a simulator so soon. According
to FESCo, no simulator -> no entry. Hence I see, no OVM entry before
the next five years and I will have to inform the opensource EDA
community that either the major opensource EDA Leader has discarded
the appreciation of this opensource content and initiative.

--- Conclusion

Have a look around you further than fedora. Have a global view on the
Linux communities.

Answer the following questions:
- Who is the one focussing on electronics for the best electronic user
experience ?
Hint : compare Ngspice release and LTSpice release !
- Why is that one giving better solutions and user experience ?
- Has OS user experience being more important than electronic design
experience ?

- Can you bear that you have deliberately giving up Open content ?

Unlike OOo which tends to give OS user experience by replacing
Microsoft Office. For FEL, I don't have replacement of 70% of the
proprietary tools. If you are shutting down the doors on OVM, you are
also claiming fedora is not promoting open content, but only OS user
experience ? I would recommend FESCo to cancel/revisit each Feature
wiki page proposal as they provide more than OS user experience. Also
have a look at the EDA community promoting our Fedora everywhere:
google for more.

Iverilog (which to me had more chance to provide SystemVerilog support
quickly) are focussing on Verilog-AMS which is also very important.
Mixed signal is all around now. The opensource EDA community don't
have that human resources. The 20 Million Euros is about balancing the
losses of that OVM was turned down.

perl-Verilog currently under the Fedora umbrella has incorporated some
extra systemverilog support. This new release will hit fedora mirrors

I am not attacking anyone. I'm just reflecting the current reality. If
Fedora is not an answer for opensource EDA software, the opensource
You will laugh about this :

Give me an example of a software that is free in windows but need a
license on Linux.
It is the case in Electronics.

Help me find an answer to:
"What are the verification solutions Fedora provide ?"

What can opensource software community answer when EDA vendors give
away their software for free ?

I'm going to sleep with failure in my mind.
Good night.

A mature opensource EDA software costs at least 20 Million Euros.
Don't dump opensource CONTENT!

PS: in Belgium today, we have carried out meteorological measurements
with Hardware designed under Fedora.

Kind regards,

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