Sun buys Montalvo

Sun just bought Montalvo whose hardware I blogged about some while ago. And just like the Apple acquisition of PA Semi, the question of “why” appears. Some analysts blame the simple fact that both Montalvo and PA Semi simply needed to be acquired, since their venture capitalists did not want to put in the next 100 million USD needed to go to silicon (Montalvo) or really expand on the opportunity already at hand (PA Semi). Here is my crazy guess.

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Off-Topic: Santa Maria Customer Service Done Right

Santa Maria Rio Grande Salsa BottleSanta Maria Rio Grande Salsa is currently my favorite TexMex salsa available in Sweden. It’s far superior to other TexMex reddish sauces you can buy here. And we have been buying it since we first found it a couple of years ago. But to my horror (relatively speaking), a few weeks back when I went shopping I could not find it in any of the stores where I usually go. I even asked shop attendants about it, and nobody knew.

So I finally sent an email to Santa Maria customer services asking about what happened, if the product was out of production. Turned out it was not. The nice person I was in contact with actually checked with their sales team for Uppsala to see what was going on. Impressive. Even more impressive was that she actually phoned me up to tell me where I could buy it — turned out that the cheapskates at Ica Kvantum did not carry it anymore since it was not selling well enough. But Coop Forum still does. Thanks! And thanks to Santa Maria for an unusually efficient and good customer service.

By the way, Santa Maria is (absurdly enough for a company from nowhere near Mexico or Texas) the world’s biggest exporter of TexMex foods. Or so I heard in some report a while ago, cannot find concrete confirmation of this right now.

ESC Silicon Valley 2008 — Report

Now the ESC SV 2008 is over. I really enjoyed going to the show this year, and presenting on simulation for embedded systems. The topic has to be heating up, I had some fifty people listen to the talk, which is really very good. Hope that they learnt how to build good transaction-level hardware models, and have some idea on how to apply this to their own projects. Hopefully, I can come back next year for the ESC 2009 (update: this did not happen) and do it again (even though the recent travel trouble makes it a less attractive idea to fly back here right now…).

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Cancelled Flights…

I am sitting at the Hyatt close to SFO writing this, hoping that my flight home will work today. I was booked on a Lufthansa flight to München yesterday which was cancelled. And the next available flight was the very same flight today. It is the late evening flight out of SFO to München, which I used since it gives a full day of work over here in the Silicon Valley without an extra hotel night. The obvious disadvantage is the lack of later backup flights in case something goes wrong. So here I am, at least 24 hours delayed. At least they put me up in a nice hotel, but only 30 USD as food compensation does go overly far here in airport land. Visited the Burlingame area, small bonus. Well, at least it is not as bad as the story Simon tells on his blog. Yet. It is not over until I am actually home.

The irony of their logo: … “there is no better way to fly”. Yes there is, and it is called actually flying and not canceling.

VMM Detection Myths and Realities from a Simics and Embedded Perspective

It must have been Google Alerts that send me a link to the HOTOS 2007 (Hot Topics in Operating Systems) paper by Tal Garfinkel, Keith Adams, Andrew Warfield, and Jason Franklin called Compatibility is not Transparency: VMM Detection Myths and Realities. This paper is slightly less than a year old today, so it is old by blog standards and quite recent by research paper standards. It deals with the interesting problem of whether a virtual machine can be made undetectable by software running on it — and software that is trying to detect it. Their conclusion is that it is not feasible, and I agree with that. The reason WHY that is the case can use some more discussion, though… and here is my take on that issue from a Simics/embedded systems virtualization perspective.

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Power Architecture Newsletter Article

Power logo publishes a quarterly newsletter over at In the April 2008 issue it features a short article by me introducing Simics 4.0 and Simics Accelerator, the way in which Virtutech Simics takes advantage of multicore processors to simulate large target systems using a multithreaded simulator.

Linux KVM for IBM Mainframes

There was an interesting little note at the CodeMonkey blog… basically, the Linux kvm kernel hardware virtualization support system now works on IBM z series mainframes. Using the z architecture virtualization support in hardware.  Nice to see some attention being put on non-x86 architectures. And a nice historical note that current x86 virtualization extensions were indeed inspired by the s/370 architecture from the mid-1970s. Cool.

SCDSource Article on Virtutech DML

SCD Source LogoI have an article at, about how virtual platform creation needs to become more efficient. And the Virtutech current solution to that issue, DML, Device Modeling Language. There is no need to repeat the contents here, just head over to to read it! I really think that DML has something to contribute in the world of virtual platforms. We need to find ways to be more efficient about how to create models, and that means creating a better programming language.

So what is SCDSource? Is is a quite good news and analysis site about the electronics industry, EDA, virtual platforms, and other themes close to my heart. SCDSource was started in October 2007, and have produced a series of good and interesting articles since. They tend to actually write articles and not just repeat press releases, and to report form interesting panels at events like DATE, ESC, and Multicore Expo.

ESC Silicon Valley 2008: Again

This is just a repeat post of . I will present at the ESC Silicon Valley, next Thursday, at 08.30 in the morning. On how to use simulation and virtualization to better develop embedded software.

As a side note, a few years ago, I presented on efficient C programming for IAR Systems, guess that would have made Jack Ganssle happy: he complained about the lack of resource-constrained C programming skills in today’s university graduates in a column at recently. Apparently, the major market-driven education companies in the US have also dropped plain C programming from the course rosters… sounds like an opportunity or void to be filled by the embedded companies. Buy a C compiler, get a free efficient programming course.

Simulation is Better than Barr & Massa Says

Cover of Programming Embedded Systems by Barr and MassaIn the book “Programming Embedded Systems — with C and GNU Development Tools“, authors Michael Barr and Anthony Massa make some statements on simulation that I just have to disagree with on principle. Read on for what. Note that overall this is a good book, I am not claiming that it is not. The Amazon reviews are pretty good, and having a foreword by Jack Ganssle is always a sign of quality. But I just have to correct them on one little fact…

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