[Librecores Discussion] FOSS and proprietary FPGA verification as a service

Philipp Wagner mail at philipp-wagner.com
Wed Aug 26 10:51:50 CEST 2020

Hi Christian,

Am 24.08.20 um 17:12 schrieb Christian Svensson:
> Has there been any recent discussion around enabling FOSS projects to
> simulate and build e.g. CI around the classical proprietary FPGA
> tools?
> E.g. Mentor ModelSim, Aldec Riviera, Synopsys VCS. Given that it seems
> there will be a long time until Xilinx/Intel start supporting
> open-source tools, it might be pragmatic to discuss enabling something
> like this.
> If we could for example figure out a way to offer build hosts to
> open-source projects, are there verification vendors that would be
> interested you think?
> I know of https://www.edaplayground.com/ as the prior work which makes
> me hopeful that maybe this is something that can be done.

I/we have tried various approaches to this, but haven't found a 
fantastic solution yet.

I was successful in getting "private CI" runs with various proprietary 
tools running, e.g. for cocotb (with Aldec Riviera-PRO) or for OpenTitan 
and lowRISC Ibex (with Synopsys VCS). These private CI runs show 
pass/fail state in pull requests, but we cannot share the full tool logs 
or outputs.

 From the perspective of a contributor opening a PR, it's a slightly 
frustrating experience if you see a failing run, but have no way to 
debug it. But from a project perspective, it's a great step forward, as 
the project maintainers don't have to manually test these tools.

Going beyond that, we unfortunately don't have generic licensing 
agreements in place which allow other projects to use the licenses 
associated with those CI runs. So offering something like edaplayground 
isn't possible, unfortunately.

We as FOSSi Foundation have been in contact with various tool vendors 
over the years and have brought up this issue again and again, and the 
private CI runs I just mentioned are result of some of those 
discussions. I'm confident that there will be further movement in that 
space, but we're not there yet.

So to summarize:

- We do have CI tooling (as part of LibreCores CI) to enable such 
private CI runs on FOSSi Foundation infrastructure. We can make that 
available to other projects.

- However, other projects need to "bring their own license". If you're 
interested for a specific project, please reach out to me and I can 
introduce you to some of our vendor contacts to discuss further.


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