Verilog vs. VHDL
by John Sanguinetti
From: John Sanguinetti
Subject: Verilog vs. VHDL
Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 17:27:13 -0700
Organization: WebNexus Communications
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I have lots of war stories from the founding of Chronologic (June
1991). You wouldn't believe the number of "industry experts" who told
me that I was either wasting my time producing a Verilog simulator, or
that it might be an interesting short-term opportunity, but in 3 years
the world would be VHDL. It was literally everyone who makes a living
at prognosticating the EDA business.
Why is the design community more solidly Verilog-oriented than ever?
What happened (or didn't happen) to make these predictions wrong?
While people in this group generally look for technical differences
in the languages, if you look at the business situation (that is,
money), it is clear that there is one winner in this "war", and that
is Verilog. Companies developing new products go where the money is,
and the money is overwhelmingly in the Verilog part of the market. The
last numbers (from Dataquest, no less) have Verilog products
outselling VHDL products by more than 2-1 (in revenue, not licenses),
and the real difference is almost certainly higher.
My own opinion of the fundamental reason for Verilog's staying power
is that Verilog had a very large head start in number of engineers who
knew Verilog before VHDL really got out of the blocks, and Verilog is
easier to learn than VHDL. Thus, the established designers already
knew Verilog, and had no reason to learn VHDL, and the new designers
could pick it up easier than they could pick up VHDL.
You can argue all you want about the technical merits of the two
languages, and the "understandability" of each. I know that I
personally learned Verilog in a very short period of time. Later, when
I decided that I really should learn VHDL in order to be able to
market my product against it, I found that learning VHDL really was
harder. I'm sure I've spent more effort trying to learn VHDL than I
did in the early days of my Verilog use, and I'm only barely literate
in VHDL. (Admittedly, I'm a little handicapped in that I never learned
Ada, but C wasn't my first (or even second or third) language,
When you couple this lower barrier to using Verilog with the fact that
there is really no good reason to switch from Verilog to VHDL (and
until VITAL there were good reasons to switch from VHDL to Verilog),
it is easy to see why the market didn't move the direction the pundits
believed it would.