Von Vignau said that all interested parties are welcome to buy a membership for Spirit consortium. The membership will allow members to review and voice opinions about what should be in the standards. They will also get access to the form at and the API after it is finished.
But the founding consortium members ARM, Beach Solutions, Cadence Design Systems, Mentor Graphics, Royal Philips Electronics, STMicroelectronics, and Synopsys will have the final say in what the standard will be. The companies put this restriction on it to speed up the creation of the standard.
"This is not a consortium that Synopsys wants to be on five years from now," said Joachim Kunkel, vice president of marketing for Synopsys IP and Design Services. "We want to see this standard completed very quickly and not drag on too long."
Despite the EDA Industry's track record of infighting through standard processes, the big three EDA companies don't see this particular standards area as one that would warrant a big fight, noted representatives of Cadence, Synopsys and Mentor at the press conference. In fact, consortium founders said all founding companies the will likely contribute some of their own technologies to the effort to help speed it thro ugh the process.
Many of the vendors already have their own encapsulation formats and tools, but, said von Vignau, the tools currently don't talk to one another.
Beach Solutions and Mentor already have proposed and donated their respective XML formats to the consortium, and a working group has already been assigned to evaluate each and perhaps meld the two together to create the final standard. The standard will encapsulate important information about IP blocks, such as clocks, signals, and test strategies and perhaps more in XML so that the broad spectrum of vendor and in-house tools can draw the IP data those tools need to work properly. The format will accompany or be embedded in IP blocks.
Another working group will look at devising a versatile API so all the EDA tools can be adjusted to accept whatever XML based format the consortium devises. The group expects review of different proposals to be completed by year's end and work on the standard to begin early next year.
"I think the IP vendors will gain the most from this standard," said von Vignau. "It means they only have to create one file instead of many files for each core they offer."