The Sun Sets

posted in: Chip Design Mag | 4

I’m reading about Sun getting acquired by IBM and started thinking about how awesome Sun was for EDA companies in the late 80’s. I was at Silicon Compilers and we started out offering EDA tools on VAX running VMS, then tried to port to Apollo, and finally Sun.

The early Sun boxes just seemed to run faster, stay up longer and were easier to port to than Apollo.

IBM AIX was an OK OS to support but never really got much market share in the EDA space so was quickly discontinued.

IBM seems to have really adopted the Open Source and Linux trends, so I wonder what that means for Solaris?

Sun’s share in the EDA space has been steadily declining since the hey days of the 80’s. It appears that Linux is the eventual winner for EDA operating systems. I wish IBM well in their pursuit of Sun.

4 Responses

  1. Boycott Novell » Links 22/03/2009: $200 GNU/Linux Sub-notebooks, Metapad Becomes Free Software

    […] The Sun Sets Sun’s share in the EDA space has been steadily declining since the hey days of the 80’s. It appears that Linux is the eventual winner for EDA operating systems. I wish IBM well in their pursuit of Sun. […]

  2. Daniel

    So IBM got cold feet and backed out of this merger, so now how will Sun get back to business and re-invent itself to stay relevant?

  3. PeterD

    Daniel, I have to disagree with your comment “Sun’s share in the EDA space has been steadily declining since the hey days of the 80’s.”

    Sun never had it so good until about 1998, with dominant market compared to all other OS choices. My colleagues and I did what we could to help our management at Sun understand that EDA wasn’t a “workstation business” any more and that Solaris on the x86 platform was a viable (if somewhat slow and clunky at the time) alternative to MS Windows which was the only other choice.

    But, the Dot Com excitement overwhelmed our voices. Sun even tried to kill off Solaris x86. Into a vacuum rushes a solution – Linux on the x86 platform – and the rest is history.

    I’ll assert that in that decade of late 80’s to late 90’s that decline you mention is a decline from absolute monopoly to simply dominant market share. By my calculations, and with reasonable backup through easily obtained public information, I’d say that Sun’s EDA market share in the mid to late 90’s leveraged over a $1B (yes, billion) in hardware sales per year. That’s not so bad!

  4. Daniel

    Peter,
    In the 80’s I remember EDA tools running on many OS choices: VAX VMS, IBM AIX, Apollo, Sun, MIPS, SGI. Are you claiming a monopoly in EDA in the 80’s?
    Today I’m seeing Linux as dominant in the EDA OS space. Do you agree?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *