John Cooley and the Denali Memory Model Monopoly

For any who do not know John Cooley, he is best described as one of the more colorful characters upon the EDA landscape. He began his “East Coast Synopsys Users Group (ESNUG) around 1991 to discuss workarounds to the Synopsys Design Compiler and now has 23,000 subscribers and an EDA website called DeepChip. You can get the full background story from this article by Peggy Aycinena.

John also provides an annual “My Cheesy Must See List for DAC”. This is his unofficial guide to the Design Automation Conference (DAC) and includes important information such as what toys each vendor is giving away, and John’s opinion of their product. For the last several years, this list has included a line stating that Denali has a monopoly on memory models.

Now, if you are reading the FMF blog, you should already know that Free Model Foundry has modeled thousands of memory components and that these models are freely available as VHDL and Verilog source code. They can be used without purchasing anything from FMF – all you need is a standards compliant simulator.

So Denali does not have a monopoly on memory models and never has. They do have many fine products and the customers I have spoken to seem to be happy with them. They are a competitor to FMF in the area of memory models – just a small part of their business. And they have the best, most lavish, parties at the Design Automation Conference each year. They just don’t have a monopoly on memory models.

Each year, John makes the same statement in his cheesy list, and each year I correct him. Now I think he is doing it just to annoy me. John loves to annoy people. Therefore, I propose that if you are attending DAC this year, and you see John (he is easy to spot), go up to him and say “FMF has memory models and they’re free!” And if you are not going to DAC, send him an email at jcooley (at) and put “FMF has memory models” in the subject line. You can accuse him of being a Denali lackey in the body if you want.

I am sure John will be happy to tell us how many people contacted him.

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