I just upgraded my laptop from Windows Vista to Windows 7 and it got me thinking about Mentor’s Falcon Framework. How are the two even related?

When Microsoft introduced Vista they assumed that the installed base of XP users would be excited to try something new and better. Well, history showed something like only 25% of the installed XP based dared to even try Vista after all of the horror stories about driver incompatibilities, bugs, increased memory usage, slow response, and lack of compelling new features.

When Microsoft figured out that Vista bombed in the marketplace they wisely renamed the successor Windows 7, no mention of that failed “Vista” to be ever spoken of again.

From a technology perspective Windows 7 will look and feel totally familiar to any Vista user. In fact, most all of your Vista drivers and applications will simply work in Windows 7. Marketing named this “Windows 7″ when it feels like Vista that starts a bit faster, and closes quicker. Oh, yes, they did add more eye candy, and some new features. In the next one year of use I will not be more productive than the time it took me to install Windows 7.

Let’s get back to EDA now and talk about Mentor Graphics and the Falcon Framework. This unified framework was supposed to make all of my EDA point tools look and feel the same, use the same database, and just make me more productive. History showed that the release of 8.0 was 2 years late and failed to deliver on it’s promises, so Mentor was knocked down in the revenue rankings.

falcon framework

Today at Mentor the word “Falcon” is not uttered, just like “Vista” is not talked about at Microsoft.

Mentor learned its lesson and now works with industry standards groups and adds value by being compatible and working in EDA flows. Examples include:

  • OpenAccess and OASIS for Calibre
  • BSIM3/4 models and HSPICE netlists for Eldo and ADiT
  • VHDL/Verilog standards for ModelSim
  • SPIRIT Consortium, OSCI
  • etc

A handful of Mentor tools still use the Falcon Framework technology (Design Architect, IC Station, …) however all new tools in the last decade avoid it.

Now if Microsoft could just build a web browser that conformed to W3C standards, or if W3C would at least have the power to enforce the standards that are written….