Moving To Open-Source Software

By Ann Steffora Mutschler, System Level Design at chipdesignmag.com, September 23rd, 2010

With the typical cost of software accounting for 40% to 60% of an SoC, semiconductor OEMs are under more pressure than ever to meet margins. As a result, they are drawing on their ecosystem partners to provide a more complete foundation including hardware, software, FPGA prototypes, verification IP and virtual models, as well as an increasing demand for open source software support for their SoCs.

To be sure, software acquired through an open source model can allow faster time to market by leveraging publicly available technology. But the biggest limitation is lack of support, unless the software comes from a commercial provider.

How does this play outside in the hardware world? “Software is something you can change relatively easily, whereas hardware IP, once it’s in silicon you’re stuck with it,” said Simon Davidmann, president and CEO of Imperas and founding director of Open Virtual Platforms (OVP). “Another big difference between hardware and software is...

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