Intel® SoC FPGA devices include sophisticated high-performance multicore ARM* Cortex* processors. This processor can be used for a wide range of embedded software functions from very simple bare-metal applications running on one of the available cores to high-bandwidth, low-latency, real-time operations. Intel provides a specialized set of embedded software and tools for embedded software development targetting Intel SoC FPGA devices.
Embedded Software Development Tools
The Nios® II Embedded Design Suite (EDS) includes software, device drivers, a bare-metal hardware abstraction layer (HAL) library, network stack software, and an evaluation version of a real-time operating system.
Embedded Operating Systems
For simple software requirements, bare-metal applications can be built and debugged using the provided Intel SoC EDS tools. The hardware libraries (HWLIBs) and examples that are included with the SoC EDS can be used as a starting point for developing a bare-metal application, for board bring-up and testing, for porting an operating system, or even to extend the functionality of an existing operating system to add SoC FPGA-specific functions.
To realize the full potential of Intel SoC FPGA devices, it is highly recommended to use an operating system. The chosen operating system can be a simple real-time kernel running on a single-core, a full-featured multicore-capable operating system such as Linux*, or a real-time operating system (RTOS). Many embedded operating systems are available for Intel SoC FPGA boards through the SoC FPGA ecosystem.
Embedded Software Ecosystem
Intel SoC FPGAs are ARM processor-based and inherit the strength of the ARM ecosystem. Intel, our ecosystem partners, and the Intel SoC FPGA user community provide a wide range of options to meet your SoC FPGA software development needs.
Linux Developer Portal
RocketBoards.org is an open-source community portal supporting Intel SoC FPGAs. The site delivers an environment to “launch” your next Linux for SoC FPGA products, including documentation, how-tos, training, development boards, projects, and support via a mailing list and forum. Go to RocketBoards.org.
Linux for Intel SoC FPGAs is the primary supported operating system. A very important part of Intel's role is to upstream the SoC FPGA code to the mainline sources. In addition to the latest stable kernel, this includes current versions of the long-term support initiative (LTSI) kernel with and without real-time premption patches (PREEMPT_RT). In addition, Intel coordinates with commercial ecosystem partners to enable commercial Linux distro choices including Wind River Linux and MontaVista Linux.
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