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An open_pdks PDK builder/version manager

Project description

⛰️ Volare

License: Apache 2.0 CI Status Invite to the Skywater PDK Slack Code Style: Black

Volare is a version manager (and builder) for builds of Google open-source PDKs using open_pdks.


  • Python 3.6+ with PIP
  • macOS or GNU/Linux


Get Homebrew then:

brew install python3

Debian and Ubuntu

Debian 10+ or Ubuntu 18.04+ is required.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python3 python3-pip xz-utils

RHEL and Derivatives

RHEL 7+ or compatible operating system required.

sudo yum install -y python3 python3-pip

Installation and Upgrades

# To install (or upgrade)
python3 -m pip install --upgrade --no-cache-dir volare

# To verify it works
volare --version


With a typical Python 3.6 or higher installation with PIP, installing volare is as simple as a pip install. Despite that, there are some peculiarities with PIP itself: For example, you may see a warning among these lines:

  WARNING: The script volare is installed in '/home/test/.local/bin' which is not on PATH.
  Consider adding this directory to PATH or, if you prefer to suppress this warning, use --no-warn-script-location.

The solution is as simple as adding something like this to your shell's profile:

export PATH="/home/test/.local/bin:$PATH"

Do note that the path (/home/test/.local/bin in this example) varies depending on your operating system and version of Python you install, and whether you use sudo (absolutely not recommended) or not, so ensure that you actually read the warning and add the correct path.

About the builds

In its current inception, volare supports builds of sky130 and gf180mcu PDKs using Open_PDKs, including the following libraries:

sky130 gf180mcu
sky130_fd_io gf180mcu_fd_io
sky130_fd_pr gf180mcu_fd_pr
sky130_fd_sc_hd gf180mcu_fd_sc_mcu7t5v0
sky130_fd_sc_hvl gf180mcu_fd_sc_mcu9t5v0
sky130 sram modules gf180mcu_fd_ip_sram

All builds are identified by their open_pdks commit hash.


Volare requires a so-called PDK Root. This PDK root can be anywhere on your computer, but by default it's the folder ~/.volare in your home directory. If you have the variable PDK_ROOT set, volare will use that instead. You can also manually override both values by supplying the --pdk-root commandline argument.

Listing All Available PDKs

To list all available pre-built PDKs hosted in this repository, you can just invoke volare ls-remote --pdk <PDK>. If you omit the --pdk argument, sky130 will be used as a default.

$ volare ls-remote --pdk sky130
Pre-built sky130 PDK versions
├── 44a43c23c81b45b8e774ae7a84899a5a778b6b0b (2022.08.16) (enabled)
├── e8294524e5f67c533c5d0c3afa0bcc5b2a5fa066 (2022.07.29) (installed)
├── 41c0908b47130d5675ff8484255b43f66463a7d6 (2022.04.14) (installed)
├── 660c6bdc8715dc7b3db95a1ce85392bbf2a2b195 (2022.04.08)
├── 5890e791e37699239abedfd2a67e55162e25cd94 (2022.04.06)
├── 8fe7f760ece2bb49b1c310e60243f0558977dae5 (2022.04.06)
└── 7519dfb04400f224f140749cda44ee7de6f5e095 (2022.02.10)

$ volare ls-remote --pdk gf180mcu
Pre-built gf180mcu PDK versions
└── 120b0bd69c745825a0b8b76f364043a1cd08bb6a (2022.09.22)

It includes a commit hash, which is the open_pdks version used to build this particular PDK, the date that this commit was created, and whether you already installed this PDK and/or if it is the currently enabled PDK.

Listing Installed PDKs

Typing volare ls --pdk <pdk> in the terminal shows you your PDK Root and the PDKs you currently have installed. Again, if you omit the --pdk argument, sky130 will be used as a default.

$ volare ls --pdk sky130
├── 44a43c23c81b45b8e774ae7a84899a5a778b6b0b (2022.08.16) (enabled)
├── e8294524e5f67c533c5d0c3afa0bcc5b2a5fa066 (2022.07.29)
└── 41c0908b47130d5675ff8484255b43f66463a7d6 (2022.04.14)

(If you're not connected to the Internet, the release date of the commit will not be included.)

Downloading and Enabling PDKs

You can enable a particular sky130 PDK by invoking volare enable --pdk <pdk> <open_pdks commit hash>. This will automatically download that particular version of the PDK, if found, and set it as your currently used PDK.

For example, to activate a build of sky130 using open_pdks 7519dfb04400f224f140749cda44ee7de6f5e095, you invoke volare enable --pdk sky130 7519dfb04400f224f140749cda44ee7de6f5e095, as shown below:

$ volare enable --pdk sky130 7519dfb04400f224f140749cda44ee7de6f5e095
Downloading pre-built tarball for 7519dfb04400f224f140749cda44ee7de6f5e095… ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ 100% 0:00:00
Unpacking…                                                                  ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ 100% 0:00:00
PDK version 7519dfb04400f224f140749cda44ee7de6f5e095 enabled.

What's more is: if you're using a repository with a tool_metadata.yml file, such as OpenLane or DFFRAM, you can just invoke volare enable --pdk sky130 without the commit hash and Volare will automatically extract the version required by the utility. Once again, if you omit the --pdk argument, sky130 will be used as a default.

Building PDKs

For special cases, i.e. you require other libraries, you'll have to build the PDK yourself, which Volare does support.

You'll either need Magic installed or you'll need to pass the flag --build-magic to build Magic ad-hoc for the PDK build, the latter option of which is only supported on Linux and requires all of Magic's dependencies to be installed. On Ubuntu, that's:

sudo apt-get install -y python3 tcsh tcl-dev tk-dev libcairo2-dev m4

You can invoke volare build --help for more options. Be aware, the built PDK won't automatically be enabled and you'll have to volare enable the appropriate version.


The Apache License, version 2.0. See 'License'.

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