Assume I'm a pointy-haired boss trying to help one of my guys.
I think that...
The Xilinx ZYNQ (FPGA+ARM on a chip) has a hard boot loader. It figures out what the boot device is (serial flash, SD card, whatever) and reads in a secondary boot program, which the Xilinx tools provide as part of a build. That loader then reads the entire FPGA config bitstream into DRAM, and sets up a giant DMA transfer to configure the FPGA. That's all standard in the tools.
But what if there's no DRAM? My guy thinks he will have to write his own ARM application, which is booted at load time, and inside that would be a routine to read from the boot media and configure the FPGA in chunks, using a small uP RAM buffer, maybe DMA or maybe not. He figures he could do that in a few days.
Seems to me that Xilinx should support booting up a ZYNQ without DRAM. Does the tool chain support that (people here think not) or is there some loader already coded somewhere?
(Our support, through a distributor, isn't very good.)