Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wind River Linux runs on FPGA processor

This is an interesting move - Wind River's Linux is now available on Altera's Nios II embedded processor which can sit in low cost FPGAs.

Wind River's Linux solution for the Nios II processor is based on Linux 2.6 kernel technology, the GNU 4 tool chain and the Eclipse-based Wind River Workbench Development Suite, customised for the Nios II instruction set, the processor architecture and the custom instructions feature that can be implemented in the FPGA fabric to increase system performance.

"Together, Altera and Wind River have brought Linux support to the Nios II embedded processor on FPGAs," said Mike Langlois, general manager of networking solutions at Wind River. "Our customers can leverage a flexible hardware and software solution to create and bring to market faster, highly differentiated systems. The fact that the Nios II processor can run on all of Altera's FPGAs and HardCopy ASICs to enable a broad spectrum of solutions is well-matched to the needs of our customers who are looking to differentiate on price and performance."

A reference design based on the low cost Cyclone III FPGA provides a fully timing-constrained and performance-optimized processor subsystem design with a Nios II/f core and a number of common system peripherals such as Ethernet, timer and UART. A matching board support package (BSP) and a pre-built Linux kernel for this hardware platform give application developers a familiar and stable environment to jumpstart their application development effort. The same processor system reference design can target any FPGA or HardCopy ASIC in Altera's product portfolio.

"As more customers adopt FPGA platforms to create product differentiation in ever bigger and more sophisticated systems, their software development needs increase and evolve," said Danny Biran, senior vice president of product and corporate marketing at Altera. "Our relationship with Wind River provides us with a partner who can support the broad and diverse needs of our global customers, and whose breath and depth of software expertise complements our hardware expertise."

The Linux distribution, a Nios II/f-based processor-system reference design, and a BSP for the Altera Cyclone III FPGA Development Kit are available from Wind River.

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