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Where can you download, modify and share a silicon IP block just like you do, say, with gcc?

Nowhere.

The licenses of mainstream proprietary silicon CAD tools explicitly forbid publishing anything created with them. This is partially due to keep algorithms, such as place-and-route, more secret.

It is like writing a book with a proprietary word processor and then not having permission to publish it for not revealing how the grammar checker works.

Free silicon requires free CAD tools.

@fsi There's OpenCores. The tooling situation is a problem, though.

@mansr

OpenCores is specialized on FPGAs:
opencores.org/maintainers/olis

However, HDL code alone is not sufficient for silicon. It is just one input for the design loops involving place-and-route, parameter-extraction, timing-analysis, etc.

By creating FOS CAD tools we are bridging the gap between HDL and layouts.

@fsi could you also provide sources to claims like “The licenses of mainstream proprietary silicon CAD tools explicitly forbid publishing anything created with them.” please?

@kmicu

Not all CAD tool vendors publish part or all of their licenses, hence the list below is not exhaustive:
synopsys.com/verification/prot (section 2.2 comma 3)
s3.mentor.com/company/enduser- (section 4.1)

Those using such tools should refer to the text of their licenses directly.

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