LONDON Programmable-logic developer Xilinx Inc. has launched a consortium that aims to provide one licensing agreement covering a range of intellectual-property (IP) suppliers.
The Common License Consortium, set up by Xilinx and most of its AllianceCore members, is a potential competitor for the Virtual Component Exchange and its standard IP contract model, though Xilinx has initially limited membership to its existing technology partners.
The consortium's SignOnce license allows customers to use IP netlists from any of the members on a site basis or a project basis under one set of terms and conditions, rather than requiring users to negotiate terms with every IP provider.
"We are seeing more designs where you have multiple cores and you have to go to different providers," said Dave Nicklin, segment solutions marketing manager for Xilinx. "This initiative is to make using cores almost like using components."
Though the concept is currently restricted to Xilinx partners, Nicklin said, SignOnce could gain wider usage and recognition. "It could be a model for other people to follow," he said.
Altera Corp., Xilinx's main rival, was not available for comment. The consortium's 22 founding members include Mentor Graphics' Inventra IP division and configurable-processor designer ARC Cores.
"We see this as a significant development, since ARC's mission is to help system-on-chip designers accelerate their development and get their products to market quickly," said Emmanuel Benzaquen, ARC's strategic-alliance manager. "With our involvement in the Common License Consortium, we can help our customers take several more months off their development cycle."
ARC uses a Xilinx Virtex-E FPGA in its ARCangel 3 hardware-prototyping development system. "A customer can now create a complete, complex system-on-chip, including several cores, with just one set of tools and also one single license," said Benzaquen.
Nick Flaherty is a n editor at Electronics Times, EE Times' sister publication in the United Kingdom.