Xilinx 11.4 on Fedora 12; Playing with Spartan 3e starter kit

A few months ago I was at the Mexico city airport waiting for my flight departure and to kill time I went to look at magazines shop and found a Linux Journal with an article that cough my eye “Bere-Metal hacks with fpga programming” Marco Fioretti
article describes some FPGA basics covering Xilinx design tools, so I give a try to use Xilinx suite using an target platform a Spartan3e starter kit.
Xilinx suite does a better job than Altera Quartus software, installation is simpler not to mention that far less workarounds to get the environment setup and running; I found Gorge’s wiki a well document procedure to install Xilinx tools plus installing an alternative Jtag driver. The next steps are a simplification to get everything working under Fedora 12.
1. Get Xilinx suite.
Go to http://www.xilinx.com/support/download/index.htm and get the full DVD suite or the Web installer client as you prefer; I downloaded the full suite `Xilinx_11.1_ISE_DS_SFD.tar`
2. Untar
tar xf Xilinx_11.1_ISE_DS_SFD.tar
3. Run the installer script
4. Install Jtag driver
Install dependencies
sudo yum -y install fxload libusb-devel
Get source code for alternative usb-driver
git clone git://git.zerfleddert.de/usb-driver
Build the driver
cd usb-driver
Copy the driver to a place that Xilinx tools can find it.
cp libusb-driver.so /opt/Xilinx/11.1/common/lib/lin64/
Copy udev rules and Jtag firmaware
cd /opt/Xilinx/11.1/common/bin/lin64/install_script/install_drivers/linux_drivers/pcusb/
sudo cp xusbdfwu.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/
sudo cp *.hex /usr/share/
Reload udev rules *Only needed the first time
sudo udevadm control –reload-rules
5. Create a setup-xlnx script and add the next lines
# Xilinx Webpack 11.1
source ${XILINX_BASE}/${XILINX_VERSION}/settings64.sh
source ${XILINX_BASE}/${XILINX_VERSION}/ISE/settings64.sh
source ${XILINX_BASE}/${XILINX_VERSION}/EDK/settings64.sh
# No need to preload usb library if you installed in a location
# where xlnx tools can find it
#export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/local/lib/libusb-driver.so
# Optional Xilinx license definitions, if you have access to them
#export XILINXD_LICENSE_FILE=”2100@pcdesign;X:\licenses\Xilinx.lic”
#export LM_LICENSE_FILE=”2100@pcdesign;X:\licenses\Xilinx.lic”
6. Open a terminal and source the setup-xlnx script
source setup-xlnx
7. Optionally run the xilinxupdate utility to get latest updates
8. Start playing with Xilinx tools
ise – hdl design
xps – system integration
xps_sdk – software development environment
impact – programming tool
9. Programming the FPGA
Once a you complete an hdl design you need to generate a bitstream file to program the FPGA the tools also crates a script that can be used to automate the programing process just run
impact -batch <project-path>/etc/download.cmd
10. Continue learning
I have found in youtube several tutorial for hdl design using Xilinx tools even complete courses thanks to several Indian institutes of Technology

8 thoughts on “Xilinx 11.4 on Fedora 12; Playing with Spartan 3e starter kit

  1. hi, your ISE install walk-through is really useful.
    i just have one question, by now i’m looking for the better linux distribution for Xilinx design tools, i’ve read that red hat enterprise and suse enterprise distros are supported but not open source. don’t you know if fedora or opensuse are ok?

    hope you to help me.

    1. Both distros Fedora and OpenSuse are a good selections, since they provide all the tools for software development and they tent to release the newer versions; I would pick Fedora since from my experience using OpenSuse it slows my machine. Anyway using xilinx tools under any Linux distro you would get the best performance 🙂

  2. hi,
    I installed Xilinx EDK, webpack on fedora11, it’s working fine, but this time

    #impact -batch etc/download.cmd

    I see some error;
    ERROR:iMPACT:342 open file error emplementation/download.bit may not exist

    How can I download file?

    Cheers, Mickey

    1. Hi,
      the batch file that is called by impact “etc/download.cmd” is looking for “implementation/download.bit”; when you synthesis it generates a bitstream file named “implementation/system.bit”; You can either edit “etc/download.cmd” to use “system.bit” file or generate the “download.bit” file by clicking “Device Configuration” -> “Update bitstream” (in XPS). Hope this helps you.

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