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Scansion 0.95 Released
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Jeff Offline
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Posts: 73
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Scansion 0.95 Released

I am pleased to tell you that, after what must seem like a long time, a new version of Scansion is available. You can download the new version here or you will be prompted to update the next time you start Scansion (or you can just select Check for Updates in the menu if you have it running).

Big changes here are in the support for larger files and iChat Theater support; the latter allows you to share your window with others in a video iChat session. A list of the changes and bug fixes in the new release is at the end of this post.

This is a time-limted beta again and will expire on 9/1/09. We are getting very close to releasing 1.0 (finally) and want to get this version out for some wider testing before we release the next major revision. There are many violations of the VCD standards amongst the many tools that generate these, which makes it difficult for us to be sure that there are no issues out there so your feedback is greatly appreciated when issues do come up.

There will still be a free version available once 1.0 comes out. The plan is to release 1.0 with a free version that supports a reasonable but limited number of events. The unlimited version will require a license and we'll announce the details of that shortly. We'll keep the costs reasonable though.

Below are some details on what is going on with the development. If you don't care, skip to the bottom for the bullet list of changes and enjoy the new version. Smile

As I mentioned before I was pretty unhappy with the way Scansion was holding up with medium to large files, and there have been a lot of steps taken in this new release to remedy this.

Under the hood, the entire memory model has been reworked; we moved away from garbage collection entirely which improves performance and our ability to keep the memory footprint in check. This made it easier/possible to address the numerous memory leaks that were in previous version, especially during reload. Memory leaks while using garbage collection? Yes, it unfortunately pretty easy to do and in my opinion harder to find and fix.

Another very significant change is support for 64 bit addressing for those systems that support it (most new-ish Macs will). That allows us to shoot past the memory limits imposed by 32b systems, and I am having pretty good success and performance using 2+ GB VCD files on a machine with 4GB of RAM. You mileage will vary but its looking pretty good; I'd still recommend sticking to smaller files if you can due to load time etc though.

You'll see other things listed below as well to help the memory usage but all in all you should see a memory footprint of around 50% of the last version even with 64 bit (which increases memory usage since some important data types like pointers get bigger). We are working on some more dynamic file loading to make using enormous files faster and easier but this is still a little ways out. Meanwhile, the new features in 0.95 should make big files usable on most machines.

New in Scansion 0.95
  • 64 bit support for much better handling of very large files (for 64 bit systems).
  • iChat Theater support to allow interactive sharing sessions via iChat.
  • Reading of large files can be stopped before the file has completed, with the partial results displayed.
  • Background and font color customization options.
  • Specify max expandable vector sizes to reduce memory footprint and improve performance.
  • Overall performance and memory usage improvements.

Bug Fixes in 0.95
  • Reloading would cause memory leaks (memory consumption roughly doubled).
  • Large file sizes would crash the application (fixed for 64 bit systems).
  • Mentor's Questa generates VCD scope types with non-standard "uknown" for SystemVerilog interfaces, which was not accepted by the VCD parser.
  • Using the Inspector without traces selected could occasionally cause a crash.
Hope you enjoy it, and please send us any issues you may find.


Jeff Wilcox
06-18-2009 09:04 AM
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