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Developing Software on Linux. Tim Marriott Mel Nicholson ICCAD 2003. Introduction. Why Linux? Porting to Linux Developing on Linux. Why Linux?. The question should be “Why the PC?” Inexpensive Performance What is wrong with Windows as the OS? It is too different from Unix

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Developing Software on Linux

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Developing software on linux

Developing Software on Linux

Tim Marriott

Mel Nicholson

ICCAD 2003



  • Why Linux?

  • Porting to Linux

  • Developing on Linux

Why linux

Why Linux?

  • The question should be “Why the PC?”

    • Inexpensive Performance

  • What is wrong with Windows as the OS?

    • It is too different from Unix

    • Major EDA software runs on Unix

    • The initial port is tough and the continued support is difficult

  • Linux is a robust OS that is very close to Unix

    • The initial port is easy and the continued support is also easy

    • It is in the right place at the right time

Why linux1

Why Linux?

  • We port to Linux because customers want it

    • Fast Hardware

    • Inexpensive Hardware

    • It’s an easy port

  • We develop on Linux because it increases our productivity

    • Fast Hardware

    • Inexpensive Hardware

    • Not a steep learning curve for our developers

Porting to linux

Porting to Linux

  • Porting Overview

  • What Linux to choose?

  • Problems with the Linux Support Story

  • The Enterprise is Coming

  • Porting Issues Encountered

Porting overview

Porting Overview

  • Linux is really just another flavor of Unix

    • The port was not difficult

    • The issues encountered were no more difficult than between flavors of Unix

  • Very few problems were encountered

  • OS and hardware configuration took the most time to get right

What linux to choose

What Linux to Choose?

  • Versioned Linux was the gating factor to delivering a port

    • Can’t base a product on all variants of the OS that the open source community produces

  • Various companies supply versioned variants of Linux

    • Red Hat, SuSE, Caldera, Mandrake

    • Synopsys chose Red Hat

Problems with the linux support story

Problems with the Linux Support Story

  • Linux companies didn’t deliver a true enterprise support structure

    • Versions are not compatible

    • No long term support of versions

    • No compatibility guarantees between patches

    • Versions release very often

  • ISV’s stay with old versions for long periods of time

    • Synopsys is still based on Red Hat 7.2

  • Linux companies have recognized the flaw

    • Enterprise versions are becoming available

    • Consumer versions are unfriendly to business

The enterprise is coming

The Enterprise is Coming

  • Red Hat now only supports an Enterprise version

    • Yearly subscription based support

    • Guaranteed binary and API compatibility between versions

    • 12-18 months between major releases

  • Cost will increase

    • Stability will offset the additional cost

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS $179 - $299 on x86

      • $792 on Itanium and AMD64

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Porting issues encountered

Porting Issues Encountered

  • Calling fclose() on a file that is not open crashes

    • Be sure to only call fclose() once per open file

  • Binary files are not platform independent due to Little Endian byte order

    • Must decide where you want to handle the conversion when reading/writing binary files

Porting issues encountered1

Porting Issues Encountered

  • Gcc doesn’t increment i++ until the end of the statement

    • result = foo(x[i++], x[i]);

    • Increment some other way

      • i and i+1 is one option

  • C compiler has problems with nested function calls and function calls in “if” statements

    • Use separate statements instead

Porting issues encountered2

Porting Issues Encountered

  • “/bin” and “/usr/bin” are separate directories

    • Make sure command location is defined for Linux

  • Default sorting order is not the same

    • Set environment variable LC_ALL to C

Porting issues encountered3

Porting Issues Encountered

  • Can’t initialize global scope to be stdout or stdin

    • stdout/stdin are not constant expressions and are therefore not suitable for initialization

  • If a NULL pointer is passed to fclose it will crash

    • Check the pointer

      • if (fd)


Porting issues encountered4

Porting Issues Encountered

  • intptr_t is not defined in int_types.h

    • It is defined in stdint.h

  • SIGEMT is not defined

    • Do not use SIGEMT

Porting issues encountered5

Porting Issues Encountered

  • The default floating point precision varies

    • Uses native support of underlying hardware

    • Different results for register operation versus loaded

    • Makes golden-file based regression testing difficult

    • IEEE compliance options incur a performance penalty

Developing on linux

Developing on Linux

  • Linux Development Model

  • Office Productivity Tools

  • Developer Tools

  • GUI Development

Linux development model

Linux Development Model

SCM Data


Linux Box


4 GB Memory



Big Local


Windows Desktop

Computer Room

Office productivity tools

Office Productivity Tools

  • Windows Desktop avoids the office productivity tool issues

    • OpenOffice and StarOffice available on Linux

      • MS Office compatible

    • CodeWeavers CrossOver Office

      • Allows MS Office to run directly on Linux

    • VMware dual operating system capable

Developer tools

Developer Tools

  • Compilers

    • Gnu (gcc, g++)

    • Intel Compilers

  • Debuggers

    • gdb

    • Graphical front end, ddd

Developer tools1

Developer Tools

  • Editors (IDE’s)

    • Emacs, Vim

      • Highly configurable editors

      • Can tightly integrate gdb and SCM systems

    • Kdevelop

      • Full integrated MS Visual C++ style IDE

  • Source Control Systems

    • Clearcase, Perforce, CVS, RCS

Developer tools2

Developer Tools

  • Memory Debug

    • Purify (Available Soon)

    • Valgrind

  • Performance

    • Quantify (Available Soon)

    • Kcachegrind

Developer tools3

Developer Tools

  • Test Coverage

    • Purecov (Available Soon)

    • Gcov

  • Scripting Language

    • Perl, Tcl/Tk, Python, JavaScript

Gui development

GUI Development

  • Native GUI toolkits available

    • Gnome GTK+ is a C based public domain toolkit

    • LessTiff is Motif compatible library

    • Tcl/Tk provides scripting type capabilities

    • Java, AWT or Swing

    • Qt is a C++ class library commercially available from Trolltech

      • KDE is written in Qt

      • Portable across Linux/Unix/Windows platforms

      • Public Domain version available

  • Synopsys standardized on Qt



  • The PC has given us fast, inexpensive hardware

  • Linux enables EDA on the PC

  • Enterprise Linux makes this a viable solution

    • Stability, Compatibility, Predictability

  • Linux is a winning platform for EDA!

    • For customers and developers

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