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Linux ported to FPGA design and verification board

Oct 27, 2003 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 14 views

Semiconductor distributor The Memec Group and embedded Linux and eCos consulting firm Mind have collaborated on a port of Linux and RedBoot to Memec's Virtex-II Pro Development Board. The board is used to design and verify applications based on the Xilinx Virtex-II Pro Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) family.

(Click for larger view of Memec Virtex-II Pro)

Mind ported Linux and RedBoot to the Memec Virtex-II Pro platform and added an optimized first stage bootloader for initial booting of the board. Memec Design, the engineering division of The Memec Group, provided the support for architecting the demo system and helped with the software/hardware integration.

The first stage bootloader runs from the block RAM in the FPGA and allows the upload of RedBoot to the main memory from either Windows or Linux computers. Mind has also ported RedBoot as a versatile second-stage bootloader that allows initializing the hardware, uploading Linux (or other OS's) to the board, writing it to Flash or RAM, and starting the operating system.

The initial release supports the Memec Virtex-II Pro FG456 P4 and P7 boards. Future releases will include the FF672 P4 and P7 boards as well as the new FF1152 P20 and P30 boards.

Memec lists the following features for its Virtex-II Pro FG456/7 development board:

  • Easy to use modular development platform
  • Supports 2VP4 or 2VP7 Virtex-II Pro FPGA
  • Four Rocket I/O transceivers support
  • 2.5 Gbps per port
  • 8 M x 32 SDRAM memory
  • P160 expansion slot for 110 user I/Os
  • Interface to external SystemACE module
  • Configuration through JTAG and ISP PROMs
  • 2 x 16 character LCD
  • Supports Wind River VisionPROBE II and
  • VisionICE II
  • Low cost and flexible

A downloadable evaluation design is available with registration from Memec. An evaluation CD containing the GNU/Linux and RedBoot demo including all binaries and sources of GPL code will be included with Memec's Virtex-II Pro Development Kit. Tool chain, project support, and porting services are available from Mind on a contract basis.

“The Linux port adds a royalty-free operating system to the Virtex-II Pro platform, with memory protection, extensive application and device driver support, and access to all operating system source code,” noted Mind CEO Peter Vandenabeele.

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