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PowerPC softcore FPGAs gain commercial Linux 2.6

Mar 12, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 35 views

LynuxWorks has launched a new version of its commercially supported embedded Linux operating system aimed specifically at Xilinx FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays). BlueCat Linux Micro Edtion (BlueCat-ME) supports Xilinx FPGAs with embedded PowerPC cores, and those that use their programmable logic elements to run Xilinx's 32-bit MicroBlaze softcore.

LynuxWorks announced its partnership with Xilinx about a year ago. At that time, the companies promised to work together to optimize LynuxWorks's embedded OSes for Xilinx's Virtex-4 family of FPGAs, which have embedded IBM PowerPC 405 cores.

LynuxWorks and Xilinx expanded their partnership in September of last year, when LynuxWorks pledged to support uClinux on Xilinx FPGAs running MicroBlaze softcores, including Xilinx's high-capacity “Virtex” and “Spartan” models.

Now, LynuxWorks says BlueCat-ME is shipping, offering embedded developers the first commercially supported 2.6-series kernel for Xilinx MicroBlaze softcores. The 2.6 kernel is the first stable release with mainline support for processors, such as MicroBlaze, that do not have an MMU (memory management unit), eliminating the need to apply and forward-port uClinux patches.

LynuxWorks describes Xilinx's MicroBlaze softcore as “scalable,” “flexible,” and “easy to use.” The devices come with tools that enable them to be reconfigured easily, for example to add peripheral interfaces. BlueCat-ME, in turn, generates Linux BSPs (board-support packages) from the parameters set in Xilinx's MicroBlaze EDK, simplifying kernel and driver updates following FPGA reconfiguration, LynuxWorks says.

Rober Day, VP of marketing at LynuxWorks, stated, “LynuxWorks takes pride in having been the first to introduce a fully supported embedded Linux product based on the 2.6 kernel for the MicroBlaze processor.”

Recent uses of Linux on Xilinx FPGAs include Air Force TacSat-2 satellites and Mercury AMCs (advanced mezzanine cards).


BlueCat Linux Micro Edition is shipping now, along with a host of development tools and various support options.

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