LiteDIP: Creating Open-Source IP Blocks For Generic Linux Drivers On FPGAs
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 11 June 2020 at 07:06 AM EDT. 3 Comments
HARDWARE --
Martin Peres who is known for his decade plus in the X.Org community for his longstanding work on the open-source Nouveau driver and in recent years working on Intel's open-source graphics driver team has been brewing a new hobby project around generic open-source Linux drivers for FPGAs.

Peres this week wrote a blog post regarding his personal opinions on why there are so few open-source drivers for FPGAs / open hardware especially when it comes to upstream support.

In closing the blog post, he announces he started work on a new initiative called LiteDIP that is focused on providing drivers for open-source blocks that can be easily deployed on FPGAs. "Removing the fear of ABI instability in open cores is at the core of my new project, LiteDIP. To demonstrate its effectiveness, I would like to expose all the hardware available on the NeTV2 (HDMI IN/OUT, 10/100 ethernet, SD Card reader, Fan, temperature, voltages), and the ULX3S (HDMI IN/OUT, WiFi, Bluetooth, SD Card reader, LEDs, GPIOs, ADC, buttons, Audio, FM/AM radio, …) using the same driver. Users could pick and chose modules, configure them to their liking, and no driver changes would be necessary. It sounds ambitious, but also seems like a worthy challenge! Not only do I get to enjoy a new hobby, but it would bring together software and hardware developers, enabling the creation of modern-ish computers or accelerators using one size fits all open hardware boards."

LiteDIP stands for the LiteX-based Discoverable IP Blocks. The LiteDIP Git repository has much more documentation on this new open-source project but is summed up as "Plug-and-play LiteX-based IP blocks enabling the creation of generic Linux drivers. Design your FPGA-based SoC with them and get a (potentially upstream-able) driver for it instantly!"
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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