April 12, 2004
64-bit Computing Linux Style
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The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop a complete Unix-like operating system which is free software. From the GNU.org website: "Free software" is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of "free" as in "free speech," not as in "free beer." Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:
SCO Group, inheritor of the intellectual property for the UNIX operating system, has sued IBM for more than $1 billion, alleging Big Blue misappropriated SCO's Unix technology and built it into Linux.
SCO has been threatening Linux users since last May, when it sent 1,500 of the world's largest enterprises (one third of Fortune 500) warnings letters about their Linux use. On March 3, 2004 SCO announced that it had filed suit against Linux end user AutoZone its alleged violations of SCO's UNIX copyrights and that it would file suit on March 4 against DaimlerChrysler for unspecified damages for alleged violations of its UNIX software agreement with SCO.
Enterprise Linux users have been guaranteed support from most of the vendors and the key industry players in the event they are sued by SCO. The threat of legal action against a Linux user has prompted a spate of indemnification plans from the major vendors. HP, Novell and Red Hat have announced programs to protect their Linux customers. But IBM is holding firm to its plan to not indemnify its Linux customers. Sun Microsystems and Microsoft have recently bought SCO licenses. Legal maneuvers by one side or the other are an almost a weekly occurrence.
Mechanical CAD, CAM, CAE Systems and 64-bit computing
As an aside, let's review the platform support provided by the parallel Mechanical CAD industry. CADAM and CATIA began as mainframe applications. CADAM was ported to an IBM personal computer especially designed for the Japanese market with extra memory and graphic capabilities. This version, called Mirco Cadam, was for some time the leading mechanical CAD product in Japan. . CATIA was ported to an IBM workstation by Dassault Systemes. IBM was the exclusive marketing and sales channel for CATIA. CATIA was later ported to other UNIX workstations.
A majority of CATIA users are still on UNIX at CATIA V4. In 2003 Dassault introduced an architectural re-write rather than a port of CATIA labeled CATIA V5 which ran on both UNIX and Windows. However, it took several years after its introduction before CATIA V5 supported the full breadth (dozens of modules) and depth (feature set) of the CATIA V4 offering.
SGI. This time there was no hardware content. Both now offer Windows versions. In February 2003 PTC announced Pro/E Wildfire and only this product's availability on 32-bit Linux in partnership with HP. SolidWorks and SolidEdge were introduced as Windows compliant solid modeling systems. There were never any UNIX versions. Parasolids the kernel modeler of the UGS PLM is available under Linux.
The major system requirement of MCAD system is high end graphics for color shaded images, animations and for visualizations of analysis results such as stress contours and mode shapes.
Solid modeling data bases are double precision (64-bit) while some older 2D data bases are single precision. In importing the single precision data into solid modeling systems, some have experienced problems due to lack of precision. Lines that share end points and shape boundaries that appear closed in 2D on the screen and even when plotted don't within the tolerances required by 3D systems.
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Letter to the Editor
In your recent Bits & Bytes discussion with Dale Pollek, CEO of Chip MD, he is quoted as saying that analog and mixed-signal design teams are only doing a subset of the analysis that is needed. If they are using traditional SPICE tools then they will not have the speed or capacity they need to simulate todays complex designs across a wide range of operating conditions. Designers have tried using the 1st generation of fast SPICE simulators which have improved speed and capacity but with little success. They were digital-centric tools built on event-driven solvers and simplified device models, but they were incapable of accurately reproducing analog behavior.
Nassda's hierarchical fast-SPICE circuit simulator does not suffer from these deficiencies and enables designers to do complete analysis of complex designs. We've found that many users of our next generation HSIM simulator are benefiting from the speed, capacity, and accuracy it provides for analog and mixed-signal circuits. Our proprietary analog detection methods and hierarchical solver allow users to analyze designs with SPICE accuracy that were infeasible in the past with "fast SPICE" tools.
At the 2002 International Cadence Usergroup Conference, Cliff Weiner, et al, of Motorola reported that HSIM matched Spectre simulation results on a 10-bit ADC while consuming one-sixth of the CPU time. You can find this report at http://www.nassda.com/Wiener.pdf, and learn more about the experiences of analog and mixed-signal designers at companies like ST Microelectronics, Intersil, and National Semiconductor by reviewing the technical articles and customer quotes at
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Weekly Industry News Highlights
Cadence to Acquire Neolinear; Neolinear Technology to Accelerate Design Cycle and Enhance Silicon Yield
Cadence and MIPS Technologies Deliver Encounter Reference Methodology for Industry's Highest Performance 32-Bit Core Family
MIPS Technologies and Synopsys Announce Galaxy(TM) Design Platform Reference Flow for High Performance 24K(TM) Core Family
Gartner Says Worldwide Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment Sales Experienced a 10 Percent Increase in 2003
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