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Xillinux for SoCKit
A Linux desktop distribution for easy data exchange with the FPGA logic

16 Jun 2015 - 15:14 | Version 5 | | , , , ,

The Xillinux distribution is a software + FPGA code kit for running a full-blown graphical desktop on the SocKit board, attaching a monitor, keyboard and mouse to the board itself.

This is not just a demo, but a kick-start development kit, making integration between the Linux host (HPS) and the FPGA part simple, intuitive, and relatively effortless.

A demo configuration of the Xillybus IP core is included in the distribution's logic. A custom Xillybus IP core can be configured and downloaded at the IP Core Factory.

The full package, along with easy-to-follow setup instructions is free for download from Xillybus' site. The setup takes 30-60 minutes, the majority of which consists of waiting for Altera's tools to implement some logic components. No prior knowledge in FPGA nor Linux is necessary to carry out the setup process.

Key features:
  • Based upon Ubuntu LTS 12.04 for ARM, it makes the SocKit board behave like a PC with the MicroSD card as its hard disk. Just plug a USB mouse and keyboard to the OTG port and use the board like any computer running Linux.
  • The (analog) VGA output of the board functions as the computer's screen output, displaying both Linux bootup messages and the X-Windows desktop (Gnome).
  • Comes with a FPGA development kit for establishing Xillybus pipes with the host: Connect your application logic to plain FIFOs in the logic part, and use plain file operations to send and receive data. As a matter of fact, for just data acquisition and transmission, Linux' "cat" command-line utility will do the job. Setting this up requires no knowledge about the processor setup, Linux kernel, drivers etc.
  • Also includes the Xillybus Lite kit for a bare-metal-like interface with peripherals.
  • Native compilation of user applications and kernel modules on the board: Edit and compile your program on the board's desktop and processor, rather than using cross-compilers.
The entire distribution is available for immediate download at Xillinux' home page.

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