NEW ORLEANS Capitalizing on the cult following of Linux, Hewlett-Packard Co. is rolling out a line of workstations this week that are configured with the popular open operating system and targeted at design engineers.
The HP Visualize PL450 and the XL550 personal workstations are aimed at the low end of the workstation market and at design engineers unsatisfied with the progress of Windows NT and with tools ported to NT, HP officials said.
"There's a nice end-user uprising for Linux," said Roger Jollis, manage of worldwide marketing programs for HP's Workstation Systems Division (Fort Collins, Colo.).
Kathy Carlson, manager of EDA market development for HP, noted that NT is catching on in mechanical CAD but not nearly as much as once predicted in CAE.
"We need new tools all the time" in EDA, she said. "NT doesn't have all the open file structures and Linux has a lot of open support." For engineers, the (VIDEO CLIP) performance exceeds NT and "they can still get MS Office on it," she said.
The workstations will be pre-configured with Red Hat's version of Linux and sold through HP's VAR channel. The Visualize PL450 model runs a 450-MHz Intel Pentium III processor, deploys 128 Mbytes of SDRAM, and offers a 9-Gbyte ultra-wide SCSI drive. It is priced at $3,330.
The Visualize XL550 runs a 550-MHz Pentium III Xeon CPU and costs $4,525.
Almost overnight, Linux has caught on the EDA arena. Synopsys Inc. ported its VCS simulator to Linux earlier this year, and Avant! Corp. has ported its Polaris tool as well.
Steve Smith, marketing director for the Simulation Technology Group at Synopsys (Mountain View, Calif.), said his customers spend more than half of their design cycles verifying the functionality of designs. VCS running on the new HP systems "offers compelling price/performance points" for customers, he said.