[Oberon] Oberon System on the FPGA (was Oberon-1 or Oberon-2?)

skulski at pas.rochester.edu skulski at pas.rochester.edu
Thu Oct 30 15:35:14 CET 2014


> I am a software guy too, and seeing for example
> a Banana Pi for less than $40 I don't get it.
> Whats wrong with these boards?

Nothing is wrong. Very nice boards for their purpose. However, we are not
using these. So what are we using? Please have a look at our web page
www.skutek.com. Please look at the photos of the boards that we have
developed. It will become obvious why all these very nice little boards
are not on our radar.

> Where is the advantage of the FPGA approach.

In a nutshell, the FPGA allows to build your own System On Chip (SoC) that
can serve your application. Please have a look at the wonderful books by
Pong P. Chu "Embedded SoPC Design with Nios II Processor". (There are two
versions, one with Verilog and one with VHDL). In these books you will
find how you can build your own SoC.

Do you need to build your own SoC? If you are doing what we are doing then
the answer is yes. In fact, every FPGA configuration, with a processor or
without, is a SoC. I am now interested in adding a soft core to our

> Why? I really don't understand. From the recent discussion
> here I remember the FPGA board used is out of production.

There are other boards. It is a piece of cake to roll out your own board,
at least with our kind of experience.

> Replacement is not available with the same features.

Nexys-4 has all the features. One can also design one's own board.

> Ethernet or USB is not available and most likely never will.

Nexys-4 has the Ethernet. There are tons of ways to connect the Ethernet
PHY to the FPGA. We have done this and we achieved full GbE Ethernet wire
speed with our custom firmware running UDP packets via Gigabit PHY. In
fact, our next data acquisition project will be doing just that.

So, never say never while talking to the HW person. We can do anything.
The question is "can you program the hardware that we developed". In
particular, "can anybody port the OP2 compiler to RISC5, or to make the
Wirth compiler understand Oberon-2"?


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