Space-Time Processing—Linux Style
Linux Tools for VHDL
Simulation tools let you write VHDL, simulate and debug it, but you need a synthesis tool if you want to run your VHDL in hardware. Many simulation tools have graphical waveform displays. Most professional VHDL tools will run on Linux. Free tools include FreeHDL and GHDL, a GCC front end for VHDL.
Synthesis takes working VHDL and maps it to a hardware device, such as an FPGA or MPGA (mask programmed gate array). This is device-specific, so free tools are rare. Big manufacturers support Linux with proprietary tools. Altera Quartus is available for Linux but not in the Web edition. Xilinx ISE also is available for Linux but not in the Web pack edition. Pages on-line can tell you how to get Quartus and ISE running on Linux (see Resources).
Resources for this article: /article/7648.
Ian McLoughlin has used Linux for about 12 years and has a signal processing background. Before emigrating to New Zealand, he was a university lecturer in Singapore and still travels there frequently as a Visiting Scientist to the XSat Satellite Programme (due for launch in 2006). He is married with two young Linux-using kids.
Tom Scott is a director of Mission Technologies Ltd., (www.missiontech.co.nz) known for his terse, straightforward, no-nonsense, hands-on approach. Father of two, husband of one and a wanna-be missionary.