December 20, 2004
Free Software
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor


by Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!


Members are granted a perpetual license, with production / re-distribution rights in accordance with Si2's Internal Use and Distribution Agreement. A “General Release” is made available approximately 9-months following each “Member Release”. OpenEDA will continue to allow non-member downloads to encourage adoption through learning and evaluation, but with licensing restrictions that require membership for commercial, production use.


The benefit to small EDA companies is that they can focus on specific application development rather than on creating significant infrastructure thereby getting to market much quicker. The benefit to larger companies is simpler integration of their offerings into the design flow of prospective customers.




WHY FREE?


What is the motivation for companies to offer free software? Undoubtedly there are some individuals and even some companies that are acting from altruistic motives such as “the good of the industry”. Still, this can be hard to explain to stockholders. Some firms offer free readers in order to build an audience for materials created with their authoring tools. Some firms provide converters or translators to enable their products to coexist with competing or complementary products and to facilitate migration to their own products. Some firms do this to create awareness and to generate positive PR. Google et al offer “eyeballs” to firms who advertise on the
website. Some firms donate
software to consortia in the hope and belief that adoption of the software will make them more competitive as they have the most experience with the underlying technology and code and as their other products are the most compatible. Some firms provide free or low cost software in the hope of winning large service contracts. Some firm have built substantial business around open source software by providing easy to install versions, training, documentation, support and consulting. There is nothing very Machiavellian about these practices. It is all very transparent.


One has to question whether the availability of increasing amounts of free and valuable software will undercut the economic value of software in the minds of prospective customers.




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