[Lancelot] Something to watch out for...

David Brown david at westcontrol.com
Thu Sep 23 10:43:02 PDT 2004

> David Brown wrote:
> >As far as I understand it (I'm just a customer, but I've talked to my
> >distributer about this), the licensing works as follows when you buy a
> >development kit:
> >
> >You get 1 year subscription to Nios (i.e., all upgrades).  You have a
> >perpetual license for the Nios (i.e., you can use it for ever).  So after
> >year, you can't upgrade it (except perhaps for service packs?), but you
> >still use it.
> >
> >You get 1 year subscription to full Quartus, with a 1 year limited
> >After that year is up, you cannot use full Quartus anymore.  You are free
> >use the web edition as normal, along with your Nios license.
> >
> >Normally, if you buy a full Quartus license, it works like the Nios
> >above.  The 1 year limited license is a special arrangement for the Nios
> >kits.  And for many users, the web edition will be perfectly sufficient -
> >steadily more "full" functionality gets moved to the web edition - for
> >the only problem with the web edition is that it doesn't support Stratix
> >(except the small ones).  Considering the price of a full licence is not
> >much more than that of one of the big Stratix chips, it's not a huge
> >problem.
> >
> >
> You're right in everything but that.  The $1k Nios II Stratix II dev.
> kit would require a $2k/year sw subscription after the first year. How
> exactly does that seem reasonable?
> Tommy

I guess it sounds odd - it would make far more sense for the Nios II Statix
II dev kit to cost $3k ($1k for a pretty powerful card, $1k for the Nios
license, and $1k for the Quartus license).

Don't get me wrong - I think that Altera should be providing as much as
possible of their software for as little as possible, and I probably would
not have got the Nios dev kit if it cost $3k.  But you are mistaking a very
good deal on the dev kit for a poor deal on the subscription - given the
current subscription pricing.

For many users, the Cyclone is the right fpga to use, so a $1k Nios II
Cyclone dev kit covers everything.  They can pay for Nios subscriptions
afterwards if they want, or just keep their current Nios and use it as long
as they want.  For people looking at Stratix devices, they will have to buy
or upgrade to a full Quartus license at the end of the year if they want to
continue to use the Stratix (they can still use Nios on Cyclones and small
Stratix).  If you are using chips that cost you $500 a piece, is it really
such a big part of your budget to pay an extra $1k a year for your Quartus
license?  (And, if my understanding is correct, you only need to pay it once
to get a perpetual license.)

The only real problem I see is for people who expect to use mainly Cyclones
on their own boards, but want a Stratix dev kit to have a bigger and more
powerful device for testing and development.


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