Published on September 18th, 2009

Rebuttal: Software Development Principles Should be Applied to IC Design

Simon Butler makes the case here that software configuration management (SCM) systems like Perforce and Subversion are being used by a very large number of software engineers: “Software Development Principles Should be Applied to IC Design.” So what is good for software engineers should be good for hardware engineers. Therefore, why invent a new wheel for the much small audience of hardware designers.

I guess Microsoft would like to make as similar argument about number of users of Windows and question the need for other operating systems. Yet Linux is alive, well and the predominant platform for design engineers because it serves the needs of design engineers much better than Windows.

Most software development flows involve a relatively small set of tools like text edtitors, compilers and debuggers and SCM systems are typically built for managing relatively small text files that users create directly.

Hardware design flows, especially analog mixed signal and custom design flows, are far more complex and use graphical tools that generate large volumes of binary data. Clearly, some of the requirements of managing hardware design data are distinctly different than managing software files.

Therefore ClioSoft has built a design data management solution specifically tailored for hardware design flows. This allows us to do things like build features to optimize use of disk space, manage collections of design files as single composite design objects,and provide rule-based technologies to recognize design data from any flow. Since we don't just build an integration veneer on an SCM system we have the expertise and complete control of the technology to provide end-to-end support to our customers with both issues and enhancements.

Pickup trucks and big rigs can both haul cargo. Even though there are far more pickup trucks on the road it makes sense for Costco to stock its warehouse using big rigs.

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