FPGA VAX update
swtpc6800 at comcast.net
Sun Oct 23 00:32:30 CDT 2005
I reverse engineered some Altera PLDs (EP600 and EP900) around 1990 and that
took a few weeks. I knew some folks at NeoCad that reverse engineered the
Xilinx family and made better design tools than Xilinx. They got no help at
all from Xilinx. After competing with NeoCad for a few years Xilinx bought
them in 1995 and used the NeoCad tools.
The parts today are much larger than they were in 1995 and it took a large
group to reverse engineer the parts then. Another problem is that Xilinx
keeps developing new devices so you have a moving target.
Xilinx has a free version (ISE WebPACK) that supports the smaller FPGAs on
Windows and Red Hat Linux. The scope of the problem and the availability of
free software is going to make it difficult to get enough people to tackle
the problem. It happened before but they sold out for the big bucks.
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