The Products
The Products

Whiteley Research is developing the XicTools line of integrated circuit design tools for Unix/Linux, Apple OS X, and Microsoft Windows. These tools are targeted for the design of small and medium scale digital and analog integrated circuits, primarily those using cutting-edge technologies where performance is paramount. However, the tools provide capibilities for working with very large layout files, even with a modest computer. The product line emphasizes flexibility and control in physical layout at the gate level. The XicTools suite currently consists of Xic, a graphical editor, and WRspice, a circuit simulator, plus accessory programs and utilities. Derivatives of Xic include XicII, a layout editor, and Xiv, a layout viewer and file manipulation tool.

The XicTools binary distributions support any recent Linux distribution, FreeBSD 7.0 or later, Apple OS X 10.4 or later, and Microsoft Windows. Although the programs run under all Windows releases, the Windows XP/Vista operating systems will provide greater stability and improved performance. Other platforms and operating systems can be supported, including Solaris and HPUX. Contact Whiteley Research for more information.

Xic

(More info here.)
Xic is a graphical editor for physical layout and schematic capture. A main window and multiple pop-up windows provide editing capability for the electrical (schematic) and physical views of a cell. The WRspice simulator is called upon in a seamless manner to provide point-and-click simulation capability while in electrical mode. Schematics can be generated by extracting the netlist and device parameters from a physical layout, or from a SPICE listing provided by the user. SPICE and other netlist format output is available from the schematic, or directly from the physical layout.

Interactive design rule checking is provided, as well as the more conventional batch-mode checking of physical layouts. Arbitrary angles are supported in physical geometry. Properties can be assigned to objects, and the property setting mechanism can be used to modify the geometry of objects.

A simple, non-lisp scripting language and interpreter is provided, with a debugging window that allows single stepping, breakpoint setting, and variable tracing to facilitate script development. A large collection of interface functions is provided, which enables the user to automate many tedious layout functions. Scripts can be executed through a "user" menu, by clicking on a label in the layout, or by clicking on an anchor in the HTML-based help viewer.

Xic provides an extensive help system and on-line documentation. The system is intended to by customized by the user, as the file formats involved are simple and well documented. Scripts can be executed, files loaded into Xic for editing, or simulation runs initiated by WRspice by simply clicking anchors in the viewer. This provides a very powerful documentation tool to the Xic user.

Xic provides netlist and parametric extraction and verification. Xic also provides a built-in partitioning editor for the FastCap and FastHenry programs for three-dimensional R/L/C extraction, as well as a simplified interface to these programs.

Xic is multi-lingual, and will read and write files in GDSII, OASIS, CIF, CGX, and the native format. Any of these file types can be read into Xic without prior knowledge of what they contain - Xic will add layers, etc., as needed. A single, text-mode technology file provides all of the technology-specific information used by Xic. Most of the attributes in the technology file can be set from within Xic, and a new or updated technology file can be generated with a mouse click.

Despite the high level of flexibility and power, Xic is designed to be intuitive and easy to learn. Short-cuts, macros, and scripts provide the potential for highly efficient and productive operation. See the Xic description for more information.

XicII

(More info here.)
XicII is a very capable yet inexpensive ic layout editor based on Xic technology. It provides the same user interface as Xic, and is fully compatible, but is configured specifically for physical layout editing. See the XicII description for more information.

Xiv   

(More info here.)
Xiv is a very capable yet inexpensive ic layout viewer and layout file manipulator based on Xic technology. It provides the same user interface as Xic, and is fully compatible, but does not provide the object-level editing capability. It does retain the full capability for working with layout files, including format translation, windowing, clipping, flattening, layer filtering and aliasing, cell name modification, cell hierarchy extraction, and more. See the Xiv description for more information.

WRspice

(More info here.)
WRspice is an all-new SPICE-compatible simulator, written in C++. It is compatible with with the industry-standard SPICE syntax and many extensions used in other commercial SPICE simulators. It offers a more fully-featured plotting capability, new vector manipulation functions, artificial-intelligence based automatic units tracking of vectors, and more.

WRspice works seamlessly with the Xic graphical front-end for point-and-click schematic layout and simulation control, though WRspice is highly effective as a stand-alone tool. simulator. The device library includes the latest BSIM MOS models, and SOI models from Berkeley and elsewhere.

WRspice includes A powerful graphics post-processor for output representation. A toolbar with multiple graphical input windows provides point and click operation of the many features and modes of the simulator. The simulator is network-aware, and can use parallel processing to speed certain types of analysis, such as operating range and Monte Carlo. A scripting language and interpreter provide programmability for automation. See the WRspice description for more information.

Jspice3

(More info here.)
Jspice3 in an enhanced version of Berkeley Spice3f4, with an internal schematic capture capability. Although developed specifically for simulation of circuits containing Josephson junctions, Jspice3 is suited to other technologies as well. Jspice3 is provided as source code (redistribution restrictions apply). See the Jspice3 description for more information.

New! Jspice3 is free!
Jspice3 has been superseded by WRspice, and is obsolete and no longer under development. The last release, version 2.5, is now available in the free software archive.

Caveats

  • Jspice3 does not support Microsoft Windows. The code is supplied as a tarball that you must compile and run on a unix-like system. However, it may be possible to build Jspice3 using Cygwin with X-libraries, and run using a PC X-server.
  • It is not possible to provide a demo.
  • The program is supplied "as is" with no guaranteed support.
  • This is intended for students and experimenters.
How To Get A Demo

Whiteley Research will provide a free, one month trial license for all products to potential customers for evaluation purposes. The licensing requires some information about the computer that is to receive the installation.
Windows
The programs will run on Windows XP and later versions. Obtain the licinfo.exe program, and run it on your computer. This will create a file named "XtLicenseInfo" which should be emailed to demo@wrcad.com.
Unix/Linux/OS X
For OS X 10.6 and later (the "Darwin64" releases), the machine serial number can be used as the license key. This choice is optional but recommened, particularly for laptops. The problem with keying from the IP or hardware address is that both of these can change when logging on to different wireless networks. If the key changes, the programs will not run.

To get a license keyed by the machine serial number, click to download the maclicinfo script. Read the script text for instructions: from a terminal window, make the script executable, run it, and email the XtLicenseInfo file it produces to demo@wrcad.com. A temporary license file plus downloading and installation instructions will be provided in reply.

The programs are supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (or equivalent) or later, FreeBSD 7.0 or later, OS X 10.4 or later (yes, OS X is classified as "Unix/Linux" since its core is actually FreeBSD). Please provide the system's host name, and a static IP address or ethernet address. The licinfo shell script will print this information (be sure to chmod +x after downloading).

In either case, please include your name and organization, and email the information to demo@wrcad.com. A temporary license file plus downloading and installation instructions will be provided in reply.

Prices and Availability

Whiteley Research products are available directly from

Whiteley Research Inc.
456 Flora Vista Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94086 USA
(408) 735-8973
(408) 245-4033 (Fax)
email: mts@wrcad.com


Contact the company for overseas representatives. If you have questions or comments, please use the feedback form.

New!  Simplified price schedule
XicTools Product List Prices

Contact Whiteley Research for more information, and for

  • Custom Tool and Feature Development
  • Device Model Development
Why Choose Our Tools?

Our products offer features found nowhere else, unmatched support, reasonable cost, and easy installation and maintenance.

Given that the Internet is changing everything, our products are designed to be Internet friendly. For example, the help system doubles as a web browser, and the Xic graphical editor can open a design file served by an HTTP or FTP server from any machine in the world. The era of Internet-hosted design libraries, global workgroups, and Internet-based EDA applications is dawning, and our tools are uniquely ready.

Generation 3 only
The most recent releases are always available on this web site. The programs can be configured to automatically check for updates on startup, and updates can be downloaded and installed from "update" commands within the programs. The entire update process takes only a few seconds with a fast Internet connection. A copy of the existing program is retained, in case of trouble with the new release.

The programs are in a constant state of improvement. New capability is continually being added, bugs are fixed, operations are refined, and efficiency is improved. While most users don't bother to install every new release, users have the choice to update at their convenience and according to their needs. The release notes are available on this web site, and can be checked periodically for announcements of new features that the user might find useful.

Major bugs are fixed immediately in the infrequent case that they are found. Minor bugs are fixed in the scheduled release following their discovery. What is "major" and "minor" to the user should be communicated to Whiteley Research. If a user needs a problem resolved, that problem will be resolved immediately.

Whiteley Research can provide program customization, consultation and contract development on technology file generation, automation scripts, and other topics. Contact the company for information and quotations.

Platforms

Whiteley Research supports three great operating systems: FreeBSD, Linux, and OS X, plus Microsoft Windows. Our products perform equally well on the the three Unix-based operating systems. Under most conditions, performance under Windows is equivalent.

The FreeBSD operating system is a highly reliable and high-performance Unix for hardware based on the Intel processor family and clones. It is an augmentation of Berkeley BSD-4.4 Unix, amply supported with thousands applications, both commercial and public domain (including applications intended for Linux). The operating system has proven reliable in some of the most demanding network server applications, and has become the choice of many service providers and high-traffic web sites. For years, both of our sites, at two different ISP's, were "powered by FreeBSD".

While maintaining high reliability, it is reasonably up-to-date with respect to features and functionality. FreeBSD is the main development platform for all Whiteley Research products.

Linux, another Unix-compatible operating system, is also an effective and popular choice. The Linux distributions generally have more support for non-standard hardware, and provide the latest versions of popular software packages "out of the box". Linux is also considered to be easier for a newcomer to Unix to use and maintain. In short, Linux is more of a "desktop" system, whereas FreeBSD is more of a "server" system, but the line of separation is rather faint.

We have, however, encountered a numerical issue in x86 glibc-based Linux which may affect the results of programs ported from other operating systems. This is a difference from traditional Unix behavior and not a bug. This does not affect our products, and Whiteley Research unreservedly supports the major Linux distributions.

When equipping a work group for integrated circuit design, a high-end Intel/AMD system with high resolution graphics and monitor running FreeBSD or Linux has advantages over a proprietary workstation, beyond lower cost. Flexibility is a main consideration, including hardware compatibility with other operating systems, which enhances the system's utility. Raw performance can be equivalent to or better than all but the most expensive, top-of-the-line proprietary workstations. If the hardware breaks, repairs are inexpensive and may entail only a trip to the local electronics store. The initial purchase avoids the negotiation and uncertainty of dealing with workstation vendors' sales organizations and resellers.

How can a public domain operating system be "better" than an operating system supplied by a workstation vendor? Primarily because a large community of Unix experts, many of whom have worked on the Unix operating system for years, is connected into vast workgroups over the internet. These people have organized themselves into highly effective teams, motivated to produce the "best" operating system, bar none. The competition between the different projects, (e.g., FreeBSD and Linux) further accelerates progress. Since all source code is released to the public, the best new ideas migrate quickly. All the wealth of Microsoft could not buy this talent pool. These operating systems, FreeBSD and Linux, represent (arguably) the state-of-the-art in general-purpose operating system technology and (in the case of BSD) reliability. Graphical user interface technology for these operating systems (e.g., the GNOME and KDE projects) is advancing rapidly, but as it stands, Unix/Linux is not for the casual user or computerphobe. The Apple OS-X operating system is actually FreeBSD, with a proprietary graphical user interface. Persistent Internet rumors allege that Microsoft borrowed heavily from FreeBSD for the networking code in Windows. Thus, this technology is slowly working its way into the mainstream.

At present, the proverbial fly-in-the-ointment is compatibility. Some commercial software is not supplied in versions compatible with FreeBSD (or Linux, FreeBSD will run Linux software). Companies which require that software have no choice but to buy the recommended workstation, and probably hire a technician to keep it running. Whiteley Research will never force customers into buying expensive hardware.

Whiteley Research is now supporting the Windows operating system from Microsoft. Due to its widespread deployment, and responding to customer demand, we have made the (substantial) effort to port the products to Windows, and can now offer this option to customers.


Copyright © Whiteley Research Inc. 2014