FPGAs, CPLDs and the Renaissance theatre…

Ok, I thought it is easy … I thought I just solder the Xilinx CPLD, get the JTAG cable and download ISE WebPack to my linux box and get it going … well … How wrong was I …

I don’t know about you, but I have spent at least a couple of evenings trying to get it going … Just to clarify, I understand that hacking Linux box or Windows virtualization settings is extremely interesting, but I when I’m trying to install Xilinx ISE Webpack, I usually want to play with HDL stuff, not with operating systems.

But well, to turn it into positive direction, if your Xilinx ISE Webpack 14.7 installation fails, complaining about libpng stuff, the problem is rather easy to fix. All you need is this:

  • libpng12.so.0
  • libfreetype.so.6

So, all you need to do is to copy those libs to Xilinx_ISE_DS_Lin_14.7_1015_1/lib/lin64/ if your installation doesn’t work, and to /14.7/ISE_DS/ISE/lib/lin64/ in your installation folder if you are trying to execute it and the ./ise binary fails.

One might think that this is it … now just need to connect? Well … Screw that! Now we come to cable installation, which in my case is a lovely Digilent JTAG HS-2 Cable … Don’t ask me why I still have this old piece of art on my desk… I do and I’m proud of that!

There is a very nice article at Xilinx website on how to set it up, but please remember, that libusb site has moved from .org to .info … and, if you run ubuntu, you can actually just

sudo apt install libusb-dev

However, thanks to the modern day technology, we have it fixed by other people for us … All you need to do is:

$ cd /opt/Xilinx/
$ sudo git clone git://git.zerfleddert.de/usb-driver
$ cd usb-driver/
$ apt install fxload libusb-dev
$ sudo make
$ ./setup_pcusb /opt/Xilinx/14.7/ISE_DS/ISE
$ sudo udevadm control --reload-rules

And perhaps ... 

$ export LD_PRELOAD=/opt/Xilinx/usb-driver/libusb-driver.so

Just remember that you have to run Impact with sudo/root privilege … Well, good luck! Let’s see what comes out …

Why did I start talking about Xilinx and CPLDs in general? Well, I have a project in mind, which involves retro-hacking, mainly good old piece of my childhood – ZX Spectrum… Stay tuned!

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