[Oberon] Product idea

Skulski, Wojciech skulski at pas.rochester.edu
Fri May 15 16:12:35 CEST 2020


  looks good. I would be interested in a few pieces for possible student projects. 

I am currently working on a low cost board with 4 MB ZBT RAM because DRAM is not good for predictable performance. Otherwise this board will similar to yours. I also decided to provide the HDMI connector, just like you. Concerning Ethernet, it will be W5500. 

A mature operating system should be able to work on different hardware without extensive rewriting of its drivers. Ethernet is particularly interesting because your 1G must be just PHY, correct? The MAC will be FW and the protocol must be in Oberon. The W5500 is much different. It provides MAC + PHY on chip, and the protocol is also on chip. Making both approaches compatible will be an interesting challenge. I am sure that top Oberon experts on this list can make it happen without much trouble. 

In the FPGA-based system the HW should be mostly handled with FW, which forms an extra layer between the HW and the SW. This layer is not present in conventional CPU-based computers. Therefore, the FPGA based boards can use its FW to make all such board provide a common environment for the software. This is called System on Chip and it is well documented in books by NW and by P.P.Chu. Definining such a SoC will be an interesting challenge. More than one board is a prerequisite for a meaningful SoC. Otherwise FW will be full of one-off ad hoc solutions. Ideally there should be several boards. They all need to be sufficiently similar to enable a common SoC framework to address them all. The variations such as different Ethernet hardware need to be handled by the FW and SW layers. The applications need to see an Ethernet device without regard to its physical implementation.

I am planning to publish all the design files when they are ready for the community review.

Thank you,
From: Oberon [oberon-bounces at lists.inf.ethz.ch] on behalf of Magnus Karlsson [magnus at saanlima.com]
Sent: Friday, May 15, 2020 1:52 AM
To: oberon at lists.inf.ethz.ch
Subject: Re: [Oberon] Product idea

Workstation setup

[cid:part1.50E14A52.41C86284 at saanlima.com]

On 5/15/2020 1:32 AM, Magnus Karlsson wrote:

I have a device that was originally designed for another purpose but could serve as a pretty nice "Oberon-box".
It's made out of very nice milled aluminum and is about 130 x 90 mm in size.  It uses an external 5V power supply.

On the front there are 2 PS/2 connectors for keyboard/mouse, a full size SD-card slot, two buttons (power, reset) and 2 red/green LEDs.
On the back there is a HDMI connector for video out, USB connector for serial/JTAG, 1 Gb ethernet jack, 18 DIO pins and power jack.

The board inside is based on a Spartan6 LX45 with a 64 MB LPDDR memory chip (i.e. very similar to Pipistrello).

Would there be any interest in such a product?

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