Linux added to Xilinx softcore processor

Linux operating system support and an improved internal bus architecture are the main elements of the latest FPGA-based embedded processing platform from Xilinx.

The FPGA supplier is looking to promote the use of its Spartan and Virtex products in a wider range of industrial applications such as motor control.

It has adopted a higher performance systems architecture based on the 32 to 128-bit Processor Local Bus (PLB), a component of the IBM CoreConnect bus standard.

There is also a new 32-bit MicroBlaze softcore processor which will have for the first time a configurable memory management unit (MMU) and support for a commercial-grade Linux OS.

LynuxWorks has announced BlueCat Linux v2.6 support for the MicroBlaze processor as well as the PowerPC 405 processor embedded in Virtex-4 FX devices.

“We have identified an opportunity for a configurable processor design for use in industrial applications,” said Paul Evans, marketing manager at Xilinx.

With MicroBlaze v.7 Xilinx has also included new instructions to boost performance of the processor’s floating point unit.

The scalable PLB architecture can be configured for both shared and point-to-point connections to memory controllers. It also supports full duplex DMA engines.

There are also new IP cores for the CAN, MOST, and Flexray communications standards used in automotive designs. There is support for trimode Ethernet MAC and PCIe peripherals.

Support for TCP/IP networking at 495Mbit/s means that target applications for MicroBlaze v.7 are likely to include bus controllers for video networking and security systems. “The sweet spot for us is providing system level configuration in these industrial applications,” said Evans.

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