Xilinx Inc. and 21 third-party intellectual-property vendors have formed the Common License Consortium and an initiative called the SignOnce IP License to simplify the core-licensing process.
Through the initiative, Xilinx and its AllianceCore partners will provide mutual customers with a single set of licensing terms to streamline user access to the more than 450 cores offered in total by Xilinx and third-party core providers, said Rich Sevcik, senior vice president and general manager of the FPGA products group at Xilinx.
"The whole promise of IP-why people thought of using IP [in the first place]-was to integrate large blocks quickly and get large chips to market quickly. But in reality, the number one inhibiting factor to IP design has been legal negotiations," said Sevcik. "This initiative solves that problem."
Before the program, Xilinx and each third-party vendor had distinct licensing terms, and negotiating those terms often required six or more months, Sevcik said. Now, customers can review and execute a single license when accessing FPGA cores from multiple suppliers. That streamlines the purchasing process and allows engineers to implement cores sooner in the process, according to Sevcik.
"We've taken our own license and have convinced all of our AllianceCore partners to join the program and adopt our license as their own," said Sevcik, noting that the effort to sign up the consortium partners had taken a year and a half.
Customers who already have a Xilinx IP license have to sign the new license, Sevcik said. "It is essentially the same license we have used, but now customers have access to 450-plus cores from all our AllianceCore partners." Customers won't have all the legal hassles when licensing a core but will still have to negotiate a price for each core.
There are two versions of the SignOne IP License. The Site License gives users access to the IP in question for an unlimited amount of projects within a 5-mile radius of where the license is granted. The Project License limits use of the IP to a single project. The licenses are typically granted for FPGA netlist versions of a given core.
Current consortium members include ARC Cores, CAST Inc., Deltatec S.A., Derivation Systems Inc., Digital Communications Technologies, Digital Core Design, Dolphin Integration, Eureka Technology, iCoding, Loarant Corp., Memec Core, Mentor Graphics, NewLogic Technologies, NMI Electronics Ltd., Paxonet Communications Inc., Perigee LLC, Rapid Prototypes, SysOnChip Inc., Virtual IP Group, Xilinx and Xylon.
All LogiCore products from Xilinx and many AllianceCore products from participating suppliers are listed on the Xilinx IP Center Web site ((www.xilinx.com/ipcenter).)
Actel Corp. has announced the availability of its SRAM-based VariCore embedded programmable gate array (EPGA) cores on the 0.18-micron process from Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing. VariCore EPGA cores target implementation in ASIC and ASSP systems-on-chip.
The company bills the VariCore IP as a complete front- to back-end embedded "soft hardware" reprogrammable core family that adds flexibility and reduced design risk to ASIC and ASSP SoC designs.The cores will be available for license directly to Chartered customers from Actel.
Actel is offering a developer's kit, containing an emulation board with the Chartered version of the 0.18-micron VariCore EPGA development chip, for circuit evaluation, debug and test. The kit, which is licensed and supported by Actel, includes a test chip, pc board, LCD, interface hardware, test design and documentation. The kit interfaces directly with the VariCore Compiler EPGA place and route and SoC-interface tool.
Pricing for VariCore EPGA cores will vary based on a sliding-scale model of license fees plus royalties. See varicore.actel.com for information.