Linux Lunges into the Limelight

Jeff Jussel, Vice President of Marketing for Celoxica - “Celoxica's tools for Software-Compiled System Design primarily target field programmable SoC devices and hence run on Windows to better integrate with existing FPGA vendor tools. Some of our customers have expressed interest in Linux versions of our products. The focus of this interest varies across organizations, in some there is a corporate IT move towards Linux, in others the corporate preference is Windows with some engineers using Linux workstations. Overall we have not found that our current Windows-only approach has become a purchase-critical issue - even in 'officially' Unix-only organizations, there seems to be a Windows PC available. Our current product set is developed and supported on Windows platforms, but we acknowledge in our product strategy that there is a growing interest in Linux. Our product code is readily portable to Linux and we are currently working on a commercial port to Linux, which we expect to have available as an early release version later this calendar year, with full commercial availability during 2004.”

Pete Hardee, Director of Product Marketing for CoWare, Inc. - “As a result of customer demand, all CoWare's tools are ported to Linux, and have been for the at least the last three releases. Our new ConvergenSC product family was our first release completely developed on Linux, then ported to Solaris. Customers investing in new hardware are buying Linux boxes. Customers love running three or four times faster on boxes that cost a fraction of the price of Unix workstations. Two or three years ago, there may have been some doubt. However, customers have been demanding Linux for years and have been getting it from most vendors for some time. If there are any managers who haven't woken up to Linux, just call them Rip Van Winkle! You can get Linux boxes for hundreds of dollars, running Pentiums at 2.5GHz. Even IT managers have got to love that. One important development overlooked by these questions, however, is the impact of Linux on embedded software. Embedded Linux as a real-time operating system is gaining favor and changing the game in the RTOS market. We'll be booting Linux live at DAC on a SystemC transactional prototype.”

Lauro Rizzatti, Vice President of Marketing at Emulation and Verification Engineering (EVE) - “EVE's software runs under Linux, and we may or may not port it to other platforms. Our software development environment is based on Linux and we will continue to design our future products under Linux. Our customers overwhelmingly like Linux. We have not lost any potential business because of Linux. Customers either use Linux today, or plan to adopt Linux soon. Engineers love Linux. Some IT Managers do, others do not. All EDA vendors either support Linux today or will support Linux in the near future.”

Alec Stanculescu, President and CEO of Fintronic USA, Inc. - “Fintronic was the first company to deliver a commercial Verilog simulator on Linux in 1993. Our development platform has been Linux since 1992. EETimes wrote an article in November 1999 presenting Fintronic as the leading Linux supporter in the EDA industry. Fintronic provides its most advanced features on Linux and on Sun. Our customers love the quality, performance, open architecture, support, and price of the Linux platform. Over the years, Linux has become more and more manageable, reaching a state today where it is as manageable as any Unix environment, but at a much lower cost. The help from ASL Inc., which provides our pre-installed Linux workstations, makes it a pleasure to maintain all the Linux machines in working order. The icon-based user interface, provided by Red Hat, makes Linux easier to use than in the past. The high quality, free compilers from GNU together with the increasingly high performance of the Pentium-like platforms make Linux on PCs ideal for both software developers and hardware designers.”

Brett Cline, Vice President of Marketing for Forte Design Systems - “All of the Forte products are supported on the Linux platform and are released on other platforms at the same time. We use Linux throughout the company as both a development and regression testing platform. The use and support of the Linux platform has two major benefits for us: 1) Some of our customers require it, and 2) as a development platform, it provides VASTLY superior performance-per-dollar to proprietary Unix systems. While some people may consider the support of Linux a burden, we consider it a benefit, since we now have the kind of compute farms and servers that we could not afford 5 years ago. We have heard the same thing from customers, some of whom have significant simulation-farms of Linux machines. The management of the Linux machines is, in our experience, no more difficult than the management of proprietary Unix solutions. Our engineers love them and our IT folks see no discernable difference (except that we now have a lot more of them).”

Jackson Kreiter, CEO at Hier Design Inc. - “We got our funding in a bleak time. It was during 9/11. So we wanted to stretch our budget as far as possible. At some point our little $20K Sun just couldn't keep up. My choice was a) buy another Sun, b) buy a much cheaper Linux box and port our software, or c) do nothing. Well you can't make any progress doing nothing, and we just didn't have money to buy another Sun, so Linux was the choice for us. And, on top of that, we got a 4x run-time improvement.”

David Knol, Engineering Manager for Infrastructure at Hier Design Inc. - “The majority of the Hier Design engineering staff - both R&D and AEs - use Linux as the primary platform for code development, as well as running live customer designs. A PC running Linux offers two huge benefits over a comparable Sun running Solaris - better than 4x the performance for less than 1/4 the cost. It boosts engineering productivity and keeps the CFO happy. Linux is preferred to Windows because it offers the security and stability that only a Unix environment can provide. We aim to release software on all our supported platforms at the same time. Most customers are already running on Linux. Most who aren't seem to be thinking they'll make the transition soon. The cost/performance factor that benefits us, also benefits our customers. 'Chasing this Linux thing' is an inaccurate description of our situation. It's been a 'no-brainer' for us from the start. Linux won't likely obliterate Windows anytime soon, although the Linux/x86 platform does appear to be a real threat to Sun. Often times, engineers do love Linux. You'll find all kinds of IT managers. But from an EDA standpoint, the cost/productivity advantage of Linux is compelling to any company, especially in these hard economic times.”

Ron Burns, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at InTime Software, Inc. - “We've ported all of our applications to Linux. We deliver simultaneously on Solaris and Linux. Our customers like our tools on Linux - we have had tremendous response regarding our tools on Linux. InTime's combination of RTL timing analysis and the Linux platform has given our customers an advantage in getting their products to market. We are spending the right amount of time on Linux and our customers are also spending the right amount of time. We are believers in Linux and do not think EDA is ambivalent. We really believe in speed, and Linux platforms are delivering speed.”

Magma Design Automation, Inc. - “All Magma products (since we have a single executable) have been ported to Linux. All of our products are 'co-developed' on Linux and released at the same time as the other platforms. Our customers tell us they must have Linux-based versions of our tool and the feedback vis-a-vis Linux is tremendous. We have spent the right amount of resources on Linux. It's true that engineers love Linux, but false that IT managers do not, or that EDA is ambivalent towards Linux.”

Mentor Graphics Corp. - “Mentor Graphics has ported a significant number of products to the Linux operating system and will continue to respond to customers who believe that Linux is an optimal EDA environment choice. However, as with product releases on other platforms, Linux releases may not always coincide with product releases on other platforms. Some Mentor Graphics customers request Linux-based versions of EDA applications and tools because Linux allows a choice of lower-cost and higher-performance hardware. However, they find it confusing to identify software tools and hardware products that match the available Linux distributions. Mentor Graphics is investing in Linux to meet these customer requirements. EDA has an insatiable appetite for computing performance, capacity, and technology. As Linux emerges in EDA, and other technical computing environments, IT managers must support the disruptive characteristics of an additional operating system.”

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