Wilsonville, Ore. Claiming to offer the first complete, full-custom IC design solution on Linux, Mentor Graphics Corp. has announced that its entire suite of IC Station products is now available on the open-source operating system. Mentor is supporting Red Hat Linux version 6.0 and is promising identical functionality to the Unix-based IC Station tools.
IC Station comprises over a dozen individual tools that allow schematic capture, full-custom layout and interactive verification. Until now, all of these tools were available on Unix platforms only. This isn't Mentor's first Linux port, however: The Calibre IC verification tool, which is not part of IC Station, has been available on Linux in recent months.
The IC Station Linux port serves two different types of customers, said Ernie Koeroghlian, business unit director of Mentor's custom IC design unit. He said that large semiconductor vendors want to provide a way for their designers to work at home or at off-site locations. Small fabless semiconductor houses, on the other hand, want low-cost platforms such as the PCs that run Linux.
"The fabless houses might start out with free software or with a low-cost solution, and then find out it's not integrated very well," said Koeroghlian. "They then want to move up to a more integrated, higher-performance layout tool."
Koeroghlian said that Linux-based tools are equivalent to Unix tools in performance, and that Linux appears to be very stable. "The port went very well; it was really easy," he said. "It's also easy for people to develop in that environment, because it's just another Unix."
Koeroghlian suggested running the Linux products on PCs that have "the fastest processor and the most amount of memory you can buy. I wouldn't run them on anything with under 500 Mbytes of RAM," he said.
IC Station tools include Design Architect-IC, a schematic capture package; IC Graph, a full-custom layout editor; IC Device, a set of parameterized device generators; IC Blocks, a mixed cell-and-block placement and routing tool; and IC Rules, an interactive design rule checker. Linux and Unix pricing is identical. Specific pricing information is available at Mentor's Web site.