I’ve been exploring Yosys / NextPnR / Project Trellis on some Lattice ECP5-based boards recently, and I’ve been very impressed and enthused by what I’ve seen. I do have to admit, though, that it’s not “there” yet, especially when it comes to SystemVerilog and VHDL support through the ghdl-yosys-plugin. Yes, you can develop and compile “real” projects with Yosys and friends, but you do have to keep the toolchain’s limitations in mind and design around them.
For this reason I wanted to install and try the “official” software for ECP5 development, namely Lattice Diamond. This left me with a slight problem in that it’s only available on Windows and Redhat Enterprise Linux 6 or 7, with the software distributed in RPM format.
I’ve been experimenting with the QMTech Kintex7 board, which provides a huge FPGA for a less huge amount of money. The one thing that prevents my existing projects from running on it without deep changes is the lack of SDRAM, but since I’ve been wanting to get more familiar with the Xilinx ecosystem for a while, this was a good opportunity to dive in.
I wish I was joking. 2022-01-14
That appalling joke has been doing the rounds for a few years now – but apparently 1024×768 really is my New Year’s Resolution, since I just made the mistake of allowing Linux Mint to update itself, and now it won’t do anything higher.
Oh well, while I’m being old and grumpy, I might as well get something else off my chest:
You know what I miss? Web forums.
So I’m still, in between tinkering with FPGAs, trying to settle upon a Linux distro for desktop use. I still keep coming back to Mint Mate edition despite the annoyances I’ve found with the latest version, and having installed both an SSD and some extra RAM in the machine I’m about to migrate to, I figured I’d better run some tests. The Ubuntu (and thus Mint) live install contains Memtest86+ so I booted from USB, selected the test and watched the machine lock up half way through the very first test.
Odd, since the machine actually runs just fine…
It turns out the version of Memtest86+ in the current Ubuntu LTS is completely and horribly broken.
The solution to my problem was to install memtest86+ using apt, then remove it again. The removal doesn’t remove the meta files, so provided there’s an image of the correct name in /boot it remains in the grub menu. Therefore, one can download a non-broken binary, copy it to /boot, run grub-update and *now* the RAM test actually works.
One side-effect, however, is that the grub setup installed by the USB live system when installing Linux is somewhat different from what you get when you subsequently run grub-update from the installed-and-running system – I had to edit some config files to get the menu back..
This little rant’s been brewing for a while.
I’ve been using Linux Mint for some years on my daily driver machine, and Mint13 Mate edition had been working well enough that I hadn’t noticed how many years had gone by since I installed it.