By Gordon Hands, Lattice SemiconductorMarch 07, 2007 -- dspdesignline.com
FPGA designers are embedding soft microprocessors in an increasing number of designs. As a result, FPGA vendors and third-party Intellectual Property (IP) vendors have developed a number of soft microprocessors that are licensed in a variety of ways including the most recent model, Open Source.
Because designers typically will invest significant time in the development of software code for their soft microprocessors, it is important that they understand the implications of the associated licensing models. Difficult Decisions
Once the decision to implement a soft microprocessor is made, designers must determine which licensing model best meets their needs. There are four principle licensing models used by FPGA vendors for soft microprocessors and microcontrollers.
Third-party IP vendors most typically use the paid IP model. Although the approaches taken by the third-party vendors are not discussed in this article, most of them are similar to those of the FPGA vendors.
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