Evaluation of open source IP based embedded system with Linux

University essay from Mittuniversitetet/Avdelningen för elektronikkonstruktion

Abstract: Embedded system plays an important role in various industry applications. An embedded system is consisting of software and hardware. The hardware platform of conventional embedded system is typically based on IC chips that have fixed resources. Besides, with the development of FPGA, an emerging approach for designing embedded system is implementing soft IP cores on FPGAs. Soft IP cores are synthesizable hardware blocks described in HDL language. Their source code can be either open or close to public. For example, OpenRISC 1200, is an open source 32-bit RISC microprocessor. In addition, the increasing complexity of embedded system forces software developers to consider operating system support to reduce their workload. Thus, in this thesis, a prototype of open source IP based embedded system with Linux is implemented on Atlys (Xilinx Spartan-6) FPGA board and the goal is to evaluate if the system is appropriate for industrial applications. The hardware platform is ORPSOC, which is a reference SoC design based on OpenRISC 1200 processor. For software, Linux operating system is installed. Furthermore, an application executes on Linux is developed that reads the output of an I2C compass sensor-LSM303DLM. With the success of the application and the investigation of license issues, the conclusion is drawn that open source IP based embedded system with Linux is usable for industry. Although comparing to conventional embedded system, the open source IP based embedded system with Linux has following cons, such as high product cost, basic-supported development environment and more difficult software development if Linux driver doesn’t support the hardware. However, its pros are high flexibility and scalability, high software portability, low software development difficulty and high reusability that make it more suitable for industry usage.

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