Home > Cadence, EDA, EDA Consortium, EDA industry, EDA tools, Mentor Graphics, Synopsys > Now, there is EDA software piracy!

Now, there is EDA software piracy!


Great! That’s what was required!! As though software piracy isn’t enough, there is now an article about EDA software piracy!!!

According to the article, the anti-piracy committee of the Electronic Design Automation Consortium (EDAC) estimates that 30-40 percent of all EDA software use is via pirated licenses. That’s a huge number!

What are the chief reasons for EDA software piracy? Surely, it can’t be attributed to the Far East countries alone, and definitely not China and Taiwan, and perhaps, India, for that matter.

Everyone in the semiconductor industry knows that EDA software is required to design. There are hefty license fees involved that companies have to pay.

Designing a chip is a very complex activity and that requires EDA software. EDA firms send out sales guys to all over the country. Why, some of the EDA vendors are also known to form alliances with the technical colleges and universities. They offer their EDA software to such institutes at a very low cost.

Back in 2006, John Tanner wrote an article in Chip Design, stating: EDA tools shouldn’t cost more than the design engineer!

However, how many of such EDA licenses are properly used? Also, has the EDA vendor, who does go out to the technical institutes made a study about any particular institute’s usage of the EDA tool?

The recently held Design and Automation Conference (DAC) showered praises on itself for double-digit rise in attendance.  Was there a mention of EDA piracy in all of that? No way! If so, why not?

The reasons are: the EDA industry already churns out a sizeable revenue from the global usage of EDA software. EDA firms are busy trying to keep up with the latest process nodes and develop the requisite EDA tools. New products are constantly being developed, and so, product R&D is a continuous event! Of course, in all of this race, EDA firms are continuously looking to keep their revenues running high, lest there is an industry climb-down!

Where then, are the reasons for EDA firms to even check, leave alone, control piracy?

An industry friend had this to say regarding EDA software piracy. “It is the inability to use certain ‘tool modules’ only at ‘certain time’. Like, if a IP company wants to just run PrimeTime (Synopsys) few times to ensure its timing worthiness before releasing that IP, and doesn’t need it after that. However, it is is not possible to get such a short time license.” Cost and unethical practices by the stake holders were some other reasons EDA users have cited.

Regarding the status in India, especially, the difference isn’t that much, from say, China. Another user said it is not such a prevelant, ‘worrisome’ aspect, yet. Yet another EDA user said that EDA piracy is there more in the sense of ‘unauthorized’ usage than ‘unpaid’ usage — not using it for what it is supposed to be used for. For instance, using academic licenses for ‘commercial developments’, etc.

That leads to the key question: can EDA software piracy be curtailed to some extent? One user feels that yes, it can. Perhaps, Microsoft type ‘detection’ technologies exist. However, another said that the EDA companies’ expenses have to do, so it can be more than actual losses. Hence, they are probably not quite doing it!

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  1. Suresh Kumar Shukla
    July 8, 2011 at 3:39 am | #1

    30-40 percent is very high as a figure. There is only a small time gap of false satisfaction. By cheating on the suppliers, businesses will very soon find cheaters on the customers side.

    My worry is not that EDA companies will loose revenue, but that there will be low-morale, poor-business-sense, prison-like companies, where employees will join to suffer. I hope realization comes fast and corrections happen quickly.

  2. SM
    July 8, 2011 at 9:23 am | #2

    The practice is very minimal, when compared to our MS Office type practices by users, in that sense it is NOT a killing, bleeding worry to the EDA vendors and ecosystem, at least in India.

  3. July 8, 2011 at 9:28 am | #3

    Hello Suresh, quite agree with you. Let’s hope some sense prevails.

    Hello SM, ‘unethical’ practices, including greed are the reasons, too, obviously.

    Best wishes ;)

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