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FPGAs gain embedded Linux support service

Jan 22, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Timesys has added Xilinx Virtex FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) to the list of architectures supported by its suite of online services for embedded Linux developers creating and maintaining their own Linux distributions. Initially supported parts include Virtex-4 FPGAs with up to two 32-bit PowerPC 405 cores.

TimeSys's “LinuxLink” service suite for Xilinx FPGAs initially includes Linux components optimized for the Xilinx ML405 FX Evaluation Platform, says Timesys. The board is designed for developing high speed serial I/O designs based on the Virtex-4 FX FPGA, according to Xilinx.

Xilinx ML405 dev board
(Click to enlarge)

Timesys says its LinuxLink service will support additional Xilinx FPGAs later this year. For now, the service offers a Linux 2.6.23 kernel, hundreds of pre-compiled Virtex-4 FX-compatible packages, a reference distribution, toolchains, development tools, documentation, and support.

Stated Xilinx marketing director Tom Feist, “LinuxLink by Timesys fits well with Xilinx products, as it allows development teams to create a customized Linux platform that will jumpstart their software development projects and get their solutions to market faster.”

Timesys will be demonstrating LinuxLink for Virtex-4 FX FPGAs at its booth at the Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference in Santa Clara today, and will host a session on the process of building a custom Linux platform using the Virtex-4. Timesys is also hosting a free webinar on the same topic. Information and registration are available here. More information on the Virtex-4 is available here.

In November, Xilinx added an MMU (memory management unit) option to its MicroBlaze FPGA softcore, enabling developers to run complex operating systems such as full Linux. Then last week, the company added four additional royalty-free IP cores to its Embedded Development Kit, including cores for 10/100 Ethernet MAC Lite, single precision floating-point unit, UART 16450/16550 controller, and an IIC (inter-integrated circuit, aka “I2C”) interface. Historically, LynuxWorks has offered a version of its BlueCat Linux distribution for Xilinx FPGAs with both PowerPC and MicroBlaze cores.

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