Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts - Page 2

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary

Translate This Thread From English to

Threaded View
Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Actually, we are able to still procure all of the components for that
board. All of the companies are still in business.  I'm not even sure
why you are making these remarks as you don't work for us.  Again, we
do end up keeping old PCs around and our older copies of the software
if they were used to create a design.  I would need to do this even if
our friends at Xilinx stopped dropping support for parts every few
years.
 
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I have to qualify each new tool as they become available. You are
right, it takes a lot of time which prevents me from releasing every
new update for our own internal use.  If the Xilinx did not remove
support for devices as the tools advance I would qualify them for
older designs. Again, to allow us to leverage a standard user
interface, etc.

Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts

Quoted text here. Click to load it

ISE is just the GUI front end for the tools, it's not the important part
of the Xilinx tool suite. The key elements are the mapper (map), the place
and router (par), and the timing analyzer (trce). Xilinx is also now doing
a synthesis tool of their own (XST) which is one more piece of the puzzle
that has to be supported for each device. I was told by Xilinx that map
was rewritten for the 5.x release. The 6.x release is going to be 64 bit
as well as supporting native Linux, so that means that every important
piece of the tool chain is subject to major changes. Which means in turn
that the tool set has to be QAed on every part that it supports. The more
parts that they have to support the harder the QA job is.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I'm not talking for Xilinx, but I do talk to them all the time. With any
complex piece of software, not just Xilinx's, you have to make choices
when you go forward that requires you to lose some features that you had
in the past in order to improve support for the things that you need to do
in the future. To give you an example from a field completely unrelated to
this one, last week Adobe announced a new version of their video editing
software, Premiere. As of this release they are no longer supporting Macs,
just XP. Premiere was originally written for the Mac and for years was a
Mac only product but now the number of Mac users is to small for Adobe to
bother doing a Mac port. When they did a radical rewrite they choose that
moment to drop Mac support. The same thing goes for Xilinx and Spartans.
No one is doing new designs with the original Spartan family, so it's not
worth Xilinx spending any money putting in support for Spartans in their
new tool sets. The old tools are completely adequate for doing anything
that you need to do with a Spartan. Just because there is a new better
faster tool set available doesn't mean that the old stuff has suddenly
vanished from the face of the earth. Disk space is cheap, you can have as
many versions of the tools as you want on a system, all you have to do to
switch between one rev and another is change an environment variable.



Quoted text here. Click to load it

All software has bugs and x.0 software has lots of bugs. Xilinx is
actually better than most but whenever they add a new family or do a major
rewrite there are bugs. I did an Altera Stratix design last year and every
piece of software in their design chain was broken, starting with the
Verilog models which wouldn't even compile. I've never had that level of
problems with Xilinx but I've certainly encountered my share of bugs in
their stuff over the years.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

My point is that the support for an old part in a new tool wouldn't be any
better than the initial beta release of a new part. The difference being
is that with a new part lots of people are using it so that the software
bugs get found and fixed. With the obsolete part there will be hardly
anyone using it so the bugs aren't going to get found, the fixes aren't
going to get made, and the software quality will be beta forever. With the
tool set that existed at the end of the parts mainstream life the software
was mature. You benefit from the years of cumulative bug fixes that had been
applied, that's the stuff you want to be using if you have to make a
change to an old part.
 
Quoted text here. Click to load it

As I said before my experience with Altera has been much worse then with
Xilinx. The kind of bugs that I encountered with the Altera tool set
indicated that they hadn't done any QA at all. In all fairness I was doing
a Stratix design which was a beta part at the time so you would expect all
sorts of problems.


Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts
Quoted text here. Click to load it

As you may have read in one of my prior posts, we use the Alliance
tool set.  Preaching about what the tools are is no value to me. We
have been using them for years. So this is no value.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I would rather them stay focused on making a better product under MS
than remove resources to work on LINUX and possibly add more problems
for themselves. Just my preference.  I guess all the major tool people
are porting their code anyway so we will see.  Nothing to do with the
original posting, but fun to talk about.
 
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I'm sure most of us do.


Quoted text here. Click to load it

If the code were structured, supporting the older devices would not be
a problem.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Agree, but again, they drive different and have their own bugs that
you need to remember.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

No value.  


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Again, does not help the original problem.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Disagree.


Have used Altera for seven years or so and have had good results.  

Quoted text here. Click to load it

If they don't address known bugs that would be the case.  

Quoted text here. Click to load it

No value.


Thanks to Xilinx, this is the way you have to operate. So again, your
not saying anything of value.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I would have to say my experience has been a wash between the two.  

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Sounds like some of the problems I find with Xilinx. Even you yourself
just posted about all the bugs you seem to find in the Xilinx tools.
It's bad when they know the bugs are there and don't have the
resources to address them on a major release.

Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts
Quoted text here. Click to load it


Steve, you have a tough job making these calls, and I am sure you are
guiding Xilinx in a maner that is best suited for them. I believe you
when you made the statement "..we have no plans to drop ...".  I am
sure there were no plans to drop any parts from the tools at a given
time.

Fool me once, shame on me. (3.x drops 3xxx parts)  Fool me twice (5.x
drops Spartan +), .....

Our company has been using Xilinx exclusively.  This latest move from
Xilinx has caused us to re-think our stratagy.  All of the tools we
use to interface with Xilinx will support both companies and we mostly
deal with strick VHDL. Supporting both Altera and Xilinx is not a
problem.

Xilinx is sending someone next week to talk with us.  Should be
interesting.

Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts
Quoted text here. Click to load it

All the tools co-exist from what I've seen. You just need to set your
PATH and XILINX environment variables appropriately for each version.
That probably precludes selecting any version of any tool from the Start
menu, but you can easily write a batch file to choose a version then run
the tool from the command line. (floorplanner, fpga_editor, par, pace,
etc.)

I don't think dropping support for old devices is too unreasonable.
Otherwise the QA effort for each new software version (major, minor,
even service pack) just grows bigger and bigger, and the design of
the software gets more complex and messier etc. We just did something
similar at my work - dropped support for old hardware in a new software
version. The complexity and QA effort was killing us.

At least Xilinx keep all the support notes for the old tool versions on
their web site.


Hamish
--

Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts
  snipped-for-privacy@cloud.net.au writes:
|> I don't think dropping support for old devices is too unreasonable.
|> Otherwise the QA effort for each new software version (major, minor,
|> even service pack) just grows bigger and bigger, and the design of
|> the software gets more complex and messier etc.

Why would this be so? If the software is modularized, e.g. the fitter
(placer/router) is its very own piece of command-line software there is
no need to touch that code again (plus, doing so eases portability).

If integration of the necessary calls into the GUI is an issue, well, then
just leave it out. From what I read in this and other "tech" groups,
developers seem to prefer to write their own batch scripts anyway. (If
the shared development machines sit "two networks further", you don't
want to wait for GUI updates anyway.)

Just my $0.02,
    Rainer




Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts

Quoted text here. Click to load it
Our software is modular, but each module is not self contained.  There
are common routines we
use for constraint parsing, command line handling, IO interfaces,
database management, base
level mappers, etc.  Making changes to these common utilities can have
unexpected effects on
older software.  This was a bigger issue for us with the pre-Virtex
architectures.  Like I said,
since all FPGAs in the software are based on the Virtex architecture,
there is no reason for us
to drop any more families.

Right now, our software is over 20 million lines of code.  If each
architecture's software was
self contained, my guess is, that would double.  I would think that most
of you would rather we
put our testing effort into the more recent architectures.

Again, the 4K and Spartan/XL software is available, fully supported, and
free.

Steve

Quoted text here. Click to load it


Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts
Quoted text here. Click to load it

But can you be sure that it's completely standalone and won't need any
QA? Have you changed any of the toolchain used to build the tools
themselves? There's lots of things that could go wrong, requiring QA,
which is expensive.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

But the same people who can write those scripts can make multiple ISE
versions co-exist; it's trivial. I suspect it's the GUI users
complaining about old tools being dropped.

Hamish
--

Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts

Quoted text here. Click to load it

If you are going to continue to use parts long after they are obsolete
then you should archive the tools that you used to do the original design.
It's hardly realistic to expect todays tools to support parts that have
been obsolete for 10 years. Periodically some major component of the tools
gets completely rewritten, when that happens it's hard enough for them to
put in support for all of the current parts let alone add support for all
of the old parts.

Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts
I think we covered the archive a while back.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Again, we are talking Spartan which has not been obsolete for ten
years.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Altera just keeps adding more support for their older devices to
Quartus.  It's their newest tool.  Maybe they have more time on their
hands.

Re: Xilinx ISE drops support for more parts
snipped-for-privacy@chek.com (lecroy) wrote in message
Quoted text here. Click to load it

For the record, many years ago when Altera launched their very first
stab at an FPGA a MAX5128 design suddenly stopped fitting. Almost all
of Altera's revenue was from Max5x and Max7x at the time but their QA
had let the fitter algorithms change for the FPGA while breaking it
for Max5x.

I am much more comfortable with Xilinx's attitude, but I expect that
guys designing with rad hardened 4's (spartan) wish it were otherwise.

Rob

Site Timeline