FPGA tools

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FPGA tools on LISP (2428)

Vivado and Vitis is installed locally on the computers in LISP. To launch Vivado go to Applications->Education-> Vivado

Alternatively, you can find it by searching for apps using the super-key (Windows key):


Launch in terminal

Launching the applications is done by entering the following commands in the terminal:

Questa with GUI:


Vivado with GUI:


Vitis with GUI:


Vitis HLS with GUI


Vlog (terminal only):


Vcom (terminal only):



<command> -h

VHDL using VSCode

VHDL code can also be edited using VSCode (Visual Studio Code) which is installed on computers at LISP.

  • Launch Vscode by searching through applications: Applications -> VSCode
  • Add the extension for VHDL syntax highlighting by:
    • View -> Extensions or <Ctrl + Shift + X> to open the Extensions window.
  • Search VHDL and you will see a list of extensions. Install VHDL by Pu Zhao. (Note: there are other suitable vhdl extensions as well).
  • Once installed, enable the extension (if not done automatically).

FPGA tools via share on Linux

This section is not necessary to perform to be able to use the software on LISP and VDI: Digital electronics. The clients in LISP has the Xilinx software installed locally.

First time initialization

If you need to use Xilinx' software other places than the RHEL clients at LISP or ALGOL, utilize the following guide:

nano .bashrc

Append the following lines to the end of the .bashrc file:

# Vitis Unified 2020.2 64-bit version
if ! [ -x "$(command -v vivado)" ]; then
  source /projects/robin/programs/Vivado/2020.2/settings64.sh
  export PATH=$PATH:/projects/robin/programs/Vivado/2020.2/bin

# License file
export LM_LICENSE_FILE=5370@lisens.ifi.uio.no

# Modelsim library 
export MODELSIM=/projects/robin/CADlib/modelsimCADLIB.ini

# Remove duplicants in the PATH variable
PATH=$(printf "%s" "$PATH" | awk -v RS=':' '!a[$1]++ { if (NR > 1) printf RS; printf $1 }')

After you have added the latter and saved the .bashrc file, restart the terminal or 'source' the .bashrc file.

Other versions

If needed, you can also make use of older or newer versions of the Xilinx products. As of August 2020, we have 2016.4, 2018.3 and 2020.2 available.

License server

Licenses can be checked out from lisens.ifi.uio.no:

export LM_LICENSE_FILE=5370@lisens.ifi.uio.no

On Windows:

setx LM_LICENSE_FILE 5370@lisens.ifi.uio.no

NOTE: The license server only works from UiOs network.

Academic Xilinx FPGA tools

Python interface to Xilinx/EDK MHS: https://github.com/EPiCS/reconos/tree/master/tools

Bitstream Intepretation Library (Virtex5): https://github.com/florianbenz/bil

DeBit: http://code.google.com/p/debit/

TORC: http://torc-isi.sourceforge.net/

ReconOS: http://www.reconos.de

Having problems?

If you are having problems running the tools as mentioned, please ask a group teacher or send an mail to: robin-engineer at ifi.uio.no.

"command not found" => Not running .bashrc?

When running ssh from another linux system or Mac, it is possible that only .bash_profile is read, not .bashrc. This will typically lead to "command not found" when trying to launch vsim or any other program that should have been found in the path. This can be further confirmed by listing PATH or the MODELSIM variable

>>echo $PATH
>>echo $MODELSIM

If they don't show traces of what you have put into .bashrc, it has not been run, or the variables have over-written later.

To ensure that the .bashrc is run when opening a new xterm or ssh'ing into a new server, append the following to your .bash_profile:

if [ -f ~/.bashrc ]; then
  source ~/.bashrc

You can also manually source .bashrc and then open a new xterm that can use vsim

>>source ~/.bashrc
>>xterm &

This last solution will of course be a one-time only approach, since it doesn't change any configuration file.

Here is an article on how it became two configuration files rather than just one: www.joshstaiger.org/archives/2005/07/bash_profile_vs.html

Remote access with GUI

X11 forwarding is required to be able to see windows opened on a linux server. On windows, X-win32 can be used. For linux ssh -X or ssh -Y can be used, while on MAC you may need XQuartz or something similar to allow X11 forwarding. More on this can be found here.

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