FPGA Programming with Linux

Short of opening your own chip fab, you can't get much closer to the metal than FPGA programming.

Due to space constraints, I have given only a very limited view of the FPGA design flow. Pushing FPGAs to the limits requires lots of skill and experience. I have said nothing about floor planning, optimization or simulation strategies, nor have I gone into how to run Linux inside FPGAs. All these are excellent topics for future articles.

My goal with this article was simply to show that it is very easy to start learning these skills, and that there already is a strong community to help you. Students, for example, might consider whether FPGAs are what they need to become the next Linus or Steve Jobs. In my opinion, any high school already teaching programming should add FPGA to its courses. If yours is already doing it, please let me know.


I wish to thank K. Chapman and F. Porpora at Xilinx, and the FPGA Gurus of DekItalia.com, who helped me greatly in preparing this article.

Marco (mfioretti.com) is a freelance writer, activist and teacher, concentrating on open digital standards and technologies and their relations and impact on civil rights and education. He's also the author of the Family Guide to Digital Freedom (digifreedom.net).


Articles about Digital Rights and more at http://stop.zona-m.net CV, talks and bio at http://mfioretti.com


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richel's picture

hi, how i can download this article, about fpa on linux: article/10330

VHDL, Verilog, SystemC Linux live CD

David Cabanis's picture

Hi guys,

I read your article on FPGA design on Linux. May I suggest you have a look at SCLive. It's a 200 something MB liveCD (can be made persistent on USB stick) dedicated to hardware description languages. It has tutorials on VHDL, Verilog, SystemC and has all the tools (open source) required to start designing with those HDLs.

Don't hesitate to contact me if you need more info.

David Cabanis.
davidcabanis AT gmail DOT com

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