09-22-2010 11:52 PM
Just found this posted on comp.arch.fpga:
A sad decision. Understandable since ISIM development costs a lot and Modelsim licenses too, so why pay for both.
For me it means that the students will install some Modelsim Student version, which needs manually compiled libraries and binding to ISE with endless asking "Why isn't it working on my laptop???"
Would be nice if Xilinx would provide precompiled libraries and some automated installation procedure to support the student version.
And: No, the studednts won't change to ISIM, because they need to know how to work with modelsim for the higher semerster courses where they have to work with features ISIM doesn't offer. Why teach/learn two tools when one can do it all and is vendor independent. ;-)
09-23-2010 06:38 AM - edited 09-23-2010 06:41 AM
Thanks for your feedback and it is well taken. While MXE as a path is removed, you should be able to work with other offerings from Mentor. The problem with the student edition is that we dont have access to download the test the SW and that is why we cant ensure it works correctly.
That said let me work with our my Mentor Graphics counterpart to see if we can atleast look into adding support for the student version in compxlib, that i believe is the main issue you see correct? I am not committing to add support, just committing to do the investigation to see what it would take.
Also you did mention that there are features that ISim does not offer. Can you expand on what some of these are? I would like to ensure that this in our roadmap.
09-24-2010 12:04 AM
are there no students as internals at xilinx that can assist you with some software testing on their compters. ;-)
(I know...the legal issues are probably way more complicated than the technical ones.)
The advanced features I addressed are such as code coverage, psl or systemverilog Assertion Based Verification.
There may be much more little features that I can not compare, because I just made a shallow test of ISIM.
So without knowing if ISIM is already capable of the following I'm going to list just two GUI features, that the students need quite often when analyzing waveforms for their lab reports:
1) Combining multiple signals to busses to show a numerical value (hex, signed, unsigned).
2) Multiple time markers with time measure values to display the difference between them.
We allow our students to use ISIM at home and even for their reports, as long as they provide the compile and sim scripts too. Fortunately the ISIM script language is similar to that of Modelsim.
But we advise them to learn to use Modelsim as well, because they need it in their outer courses.
Besides, when I say Modelsim I actualy refer to Questa just out of old habit.
Since we are able to get our CAE-software via Europractice we have most of Mentors FPGA related products and ISE-System Edition to work with.
While the students can use it in our lab, they also need similar tools that work on their laptops. While the webpack is very good for the synthesis part, we always appreciated the availability of Modelsim XE (Starter).
Now there opens a gap, that needs to be filled without causing too much hassle for the students.
Thanks for your reply and efforts in this matter.
09-24-2010 08:31 AM
Again thanks a lot for your detailed feedback!
We have a fixed licensing structure we work with legal on the products we get from Mentor, although I will still see how much work it would be to get access to PE Student Edition.
Code coverage, PSL and SystemVerilog Assertions were some of things we were not going to get from MXE and that is why we decided that this is something we need to invest in ISim and thus we have it on the roadmap. Does PE Student edition support this? When I look at the feature comparison I dont see any of these (except code coverage) I believe for PE.
The other two basic features you mention:
1) Combining multiple signals to busses to show a numerical value (hex, signed, unsigned).2) Multiple time markers with time measure values to display the difference between them.
Both of these are already supported in ISim. We had these capabilities with our 11.x new GUI that we have. If you wanted to take a quick look at the latest version, please see the video here:
One of the main reasons we decided not to go any further with MXE was due to the fact that it really was not scalable for where we wanted to go with the push-button simulation needs. For example as Xilinx delivers more and more SecureIP -based models, MXE will be less and less useful..
MXE needs to work on Linux as equally as Windows..
While we understand the GAP, I really dont think the right thing is to train students only in ModelSim, as in the real world students may end up in companies that support IUS, VCS, ISim or even Aldec. Although looks like students are coping with this as it really is not that much work once you know one simulator to switch to another :).
09-27-2010 03:12 AM
many thanks for your detailed comments.
Surely, Modelsim Student edition is only capable of replacing Modelsim XE(Starter).
For the basic courses that is sufficient. For the higher courses we have Questa licenses on our servers.
I took a look at the video. It's nice to see that ISIM has matured a lot compared to the first versions.
Thanks for mentioning the Linux and Secure-IP issues. It makes the decision more comprehensible.
(e.g. I always had trouble compiling the encription libs for Questa on Linux (We don't use M$-OS in the lab) . Everything else worked fine)
We are aware of the existence of other simulators. That's why we allow students to use them, if they like.
But to keep the courses consistent and to avoid the overhead of teaching a different tool for each course we choose to use just one tool.
But we don't focus on teaching GUI-Usage. Instead we encourage the students to create scripts. thus they understand what they are doing, and when some error occures it's very convenient to have a look at the script and explain what went wrong, instead of discussing the mousclicks of the last 5 min. or so, which the student won't remember anyway.
We think that someone who is capable to write a script for some simulation flow is able to do that for most any tool, since the main difference may be the syntax, but not the basic procedure (analyse, elaborate, simulate etc.)
09-27-2010 06:53 AM
Again thanks for your comments!
I had a question about the issues that you were seeing with compiling the encrypted files on Questa on Linux..
Can you elaborate exactly what you were seeing? I see it working on my end..
Is there a case open on this?
09-28-2010 12:17 AM
no, there's no case opened, because since we haven't used any encrypted IP yet, the missing libraries caused no harm.
Since I have just freshly instqlled ISE12.2 and Questa 6.5c, I have to do a new library compilation anyway.
I send you the report via private message when I'm done.