EDA.ORG Internet Services

Welcome to the Accellera Internet Services machine. We are dedicated to providing access and support for Electronic Design Automation (EDA), Computer-Aided Design(CAD) and related activities. We have our founding in the VHDL standard as do so many of the organizations and groups in the EDA industry (IEEE Design Automation Technical Committee, VHDL International, etc.). The best listing of supported activities can be viewed via our newer EDA.ORG presence.

Most of the original VHDL and related standards groups with repositories and email exploders were accessed via vhdl.org, the original domain. Information about the supported features and access mechanisms (such as email, Internet or public dial-up) is available. You are invited to explore this server and discover more about VHDL and related EDA standards, practices, and activities. Web Usage Statistics are available.

About the service and its origins

The service started out as a dial-up RBBS PC system in 1988 when the VHDL Users' Group was founded. Back then most people still did not have email let alone Internet or Usenet News Group access. Randy Harr was the main sysop who put the machine together and managed its services out of his home. Steve Grout was an early volunteer who dialed in from Texas and was more familiar with BBS services. Once a year, the contents of the repository were posted to the White Sands ARPANet-based repository of VHDL materials. This transfer was done by Hal Carter and his group at University of Cincinnatti.

In 1991, the VHDL Users' Group decided to merge with the just forming VHDL International organization and became the VHDL International Users’ Forum. By 1993, the merger had still not completed so the original founder, Randy Harr, used the assets of the VHDL Users' Group organization to purchase and setup the beginning vhdl.org service. This original setup in 1993 consisted of a SPARC IPX with 1 Gbyte of disk, a 4mm 5GB DAT tape backup, a Livingston Portmaster modem pooler with four14.4Kbaud modems and phone lines, and a 56.6 KBaud always-on direct line link via Pacific Bell to Stanford Universities' BARRNet internet services provider. The modem pool was required and heavily used by the many people who still did not have Internet access and wished to utilize the services on the machine. The modem pool also provided early, free PPP access direct to the Internet for sysop volunteers and VIUF Technical Members with interest at the time. A nice diagram and flyer describing this early, initial service is available. The service was physically hosted at Logic Modeling in Milpitas, CA.

Initial services consisted of Sendmail exploder lists, FTP Anonymous (and account login for group sysop's), an FTP-like email file server, anonymous (guest) dial-in with Zmodem functions, telnet (anonymous) and the just emerging Gopher standard. Around this same time, the Usenet News group comp.lang.vhdl started up. IBIS was the first regular group to join the fledgling service -- interestingly enough, not a VHDL-based organization. They continue today to be one of the heaviest users of the server resource.

By 1993, approximately 60% of the people in EDA standards groups had internet mail access via their office and so supporting standards and information activities via an internet presence was more feasible. Unfortunately, most still did not have direct Internet or FTP access so early services centered around providing email exploder lists and an FTP-like, email-based file server. In 1994, http and a lynx (early character based http access server) service were added as this form of access started to gain ground. Our first WWW page was character based and posted in 1993

Growth and use of the service continued heavily through 1994 to 1996. To meet the increased need and to lower overall costs, the machine was moved from the Logic Modeling offices in San Jose to Synopsys. Synopsys gratefully donated physical support (power, table, etc.) and a backup (read, under-utilized) T1 access line to the organization. This improved access and provided a much needed performance improvement for the growing user base and data traffic.

In January 1997, it was decided to rehost the service to a more powerful Sparcstation 5 donated by Sun Microsystems. The new machine was configured for Solaris 2.x, and new 33.4 KBaud PPP modems. By Summer 1997, the modem pool was going unused as convenient, cheap PPP access was available from dozens of corporations to private individuals. To ease maintenance and increase security, the dial-up service and the Livingston Portmaster were decommissioned after over 4 years of service. We also decommissioned guest telnet and dial-in access; as well as the mail-based FTP-like archive service. Additionally, we moved the machine from physically being hosted on Synopsys' spare T1 line to Stanford University and their protected domain service. Today, the predominant access is via HTTP, Sendmail (email exploders), and FTP (file retrieval). Over 35,000 email messages, >10,000 unique WWW hits, and >5 Gbytes of data transfer are handled monthly.

In January 2001, to reflect the need for new fresh insights, and to recognize the tremendous time and effort expended to keep SPAM traffic out of the machine, the founder and lead sysop Randy Harr turned over the lead sysop role to Paul Menchini. Paul has handled the machine and service as it transitions to the new sponsor – Accellera – that has been formed out of the merger of the VHDL International and Open Verilog International organizations. The machine, which switched from being vhdl.org to eda.org as the primary name in 1997, is now the host of eda.org, vhdl.org, verilog.org, dasc.org and previously of hdlcon.org domains also.

In October 2003 Sun Microsystems donated new hardware which replaced the existing hardware and improved performance with increased storage. During this same period David Smith took over as lead sysop and Mark Holm joined to do OS kernel support, sendmail, and anti-spam.

Between 2003 and 2009 Mantis was added to provide for bug reporting and project sharing. After Mantis a full TWiki installation was added for use by different working groups and users to provide both public and private precense on the web for collaboration.

In September 2009 Synopsys donated 3 HP servers to Stanford university for the purpose of hosting the eda.org services. This now provides both hot and cold backup systems to improve the robustness of the servers. The new hardware is running Linux and is providing faster and more reliable services. Boris Murmann also took on the role of Sponsor for eda.org at Stanford.

The machine itself is maintained by a small army of volunteers. Over 40 groups have collectively over 100 sysops maintaining their file archives, moderated email lists, and WWW presence. A handful of additional dedicated souls listed below assist with keeping the basic services running despite the constant hacker attacks. Given all the sysops must access the machine via the Internet (including all root access to maintain and install services), we have very special setups and needs compared to most other WWW and internet presence sites. If you are interested in helping sysop the machine or wish to host a group on the server, contact the lead sysop for more information.

Current Sysops:
  • David Smith: Lead Sysop, HTTP, TWiki, Mantis
  • Joe Little: Backups, OS Kernel, Security (Stanford CIS)
  • Steve Grout (co-founder): Majordom, User accounts, Group setup
  • Mark Holm: sendmail and anti-spam, security, OS Kernel
  • David Rich: Mantis

Previous Key Sysops (who still provide an advisory role in many instances):

  • Arnold de Leon: Godfather (previously bind, sendmail, and onsite in early Synopsys days)
  • Joe Little: Godfather (previously Backups, OS Kernel, Security (Stanford CIS)
  • Mitch Wyle: former Webmaster from its infancy; onsite during most of Synopsys days
  • Brien Anderson: Majordomo and HTTP
  • Jason Conroy: Backups, OS Kernel, Security (Stanford CIS)
  • Randy Harr (founder): Lead Sysop (emeritus)
  • Paul Menchini: Lead Sysop, Sendmail and anti-spam; User accounts, Group setup, WWW content, OS kernel, security
  • Rich Munden: Usenet Newsfeed, FTP and Gopher
  • And the unmentioned (but will try to remember) other early sysops from Logic Modeling, Si2, and others

-- DavidSmith - 2010-02-24

Topic revision: r1 - 2010-02-24 - 05:03:45 - DavidSmith
Copyright © 2008-2019 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback