Electronic – Looking for open source FPGA hardware and dev tools

fpgaopen source

Investigated FPGA boards but cannot find open-sourced board and vendor-neutral FPGA development tools:

  • The ORSoC manufacturer boasts open-sourcing on its website but I cannot really find strong evidence except webmastering OpenCores.org.
  • The duo: Xilinx advertises its products with "Open Source Hardware Innovation Contest for Mainland China Universities". Still their products are proprietary, poor support for *ix –. Similarly, Altera has a poor support for *ix, just check their OS support with Quartus or how to have your logic analyser in the synthetic step?
  • Group of small players — let you point the best.

Is there some manufacturer strong with open-sourcing things such as hw and dev tools?

Best Answer

Sadly, there isn't much free software for programmable hardware. There are a few synthesis tools, such as Lava (which expects largely manual placing), Confluence, HDCaml and Atom, and Icarus Verilog, but next to no fitter, mapper or place and route tools (I would absolutely love to be proven wrong in this). Opencircuitdesign.com has collected some tools, but it probably requires some documentation and a bitstream generator. Simulation, on the other hand, is fairly well covered.

On the non-free side, Xilinx' non-free but gratis tools have seen some improvement recently, by adding libusb support and dropping Wind/U (a horrible non-free winelib analog) in favor of Qt (but they won't be updating for retired chips). Most other tools seem sabotaged using a package called flexlm, to such a degree that it's hard to get them running even with the aid of the vendor. I have also been able to run Lattice Diamond software under Linux, but that lacked simulation. For Atmel AT40KAL, the place and route tool could be run in Wine, but the library demands non-standard components (it uses LPM, but refuses 2-input gates), so a sort of mapper would be needed.

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