Came across an article on EDN that talks about software piracy in EDA land.
Apparently 30% to 40% of all EDA software use is via pirated licenses.
Imagine what this means in terms of lost revenue to EDA vendors, and to endusers, it might be argued that a rival design team is spending far less on far more software licenses – and getting their products out to market much quicker.
Sounds like an echo of problems plaguing the general software, music and film industries?
If fewer and fewer people buy legitimate licenses (software, songs, movies etc.) then perhaps fewer EDA vendors (artists) will be able to make a good living, and there might eventually be less EDA software (works of art) for endusers.
The cloud has been talked about as a potential means of prevention.
According to a Cadence spokesperson,
“When we have software as a service, either at our own cloud or an external Cadence-certified cloud, we basically retain control of the environment, including the licensed server. Licensing becomes a non-issue.”
There are few doubts as to whether a cloud computing solution will help mitigate software piracy, given its degree of control and flexibility for both vendors and endusers.
But there is a deeper side of the issue that we shouldn’t ignore, and that is when there is an arms race, both sides would do better to embrace each other rather than compete to see who can create the better licensing mechanism or more elegant key crack.
As a Chinese saying goes, “道高一尺魔高一丈” – loosely translated as, “When the priest advances one foot, the devil advances by ten” – a perpetual arms race, essentially, which is probably going to bleed the vendors dry and cause inefficiencies for legitimate users in the long run.
What I’m trying to express is, there must be a more effective middle ground where EDA vendors and endusers can come together in a win-win situation.
The cloud is a wonderful place to meet in the middle, affording each side:
- effective means of control and usage
- smooth trial and feedback
- efficient delivery and support on a large (in EDA anyway) scale (Larry Disenhof, group director of export compliance and government affairs at Cadence, estimates that one third of such piracy could be turned into revenue)