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Xilinx (1) - Introduction, Installing Vivado 2014.4 on Linux (3.11.10-21, x86_64)

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I recently got my hands on a MicroZed Evaluation Kit from Avnet that contains a Xilinx Zynq-7010  FPGA. To use the kit one needs to install the Xilinx tools, which in this case includes the Vivado design suite. Here is my experience of installing Vivado 2014.4 on LINUX openSuse 13.1 (Bottle).

To write this article I wanted to record  the version of openSUSE I'm using. Typing cat /etc/*-release in a terminal window did not work for me so I typed cat /etc/os-release instead to produce the output shown below.

VERSION="13.1 (Bottle)"
PRETTY_NAME="openSUSE 13.1 (Bottle) (x86_64)"


The Vivado design suite is available for download on the Xilinx website ( Navigating to the Xilinx application download page, provides download installers for Windows and LINUX platforms, but not for OS X. To install Vivado on a Mac or MacBook I suppose one should install the Windows version in a Windows binary emulator like WINE.


The Web installer for the LINUX 64-bit version, second entry in the diagram on the left-hand side,  is about 75MB in size. Clicking on it downloaded this particular version to my download area, as a binary executable.

 In a terminal widow I navigated to the download area where the only file I found, relating to Vivado was the following one, Xilinx_Vivado_SDK_2014.4_1119_1_lin64.bin.

However, the file was downloaded with the following file permissions -rw-r--r--. To make the file executable I typed the following in a terminal window.

chmod +x Xilinx_Vivado_SDK_2014.4_1119_1_lin64.bin, which resulted in the file permissions being changed to rw-r-xr-x. I then executed the installer by typing ./Xilinx_Vivado_SDK_2014.4_1119_1_lin64.bin.



After the initial appearance of a splash screen the installer's dialogue appeared. I was in business and I could finally begin to install the software. However, I didn't disable any anti-virus software to reduce the installation time. A long installation time seems like a better option than catching a virus!


The next screen that appeared asks the user for their user ID and password for authentication, so I complied.


After reading all the relevant sections I agreed to the license agreements and continued. Three license agreements! They must be getting choosy in their old age. Maybe they are worried about keeping the wrong type of company.


On the next page different editions of Vivado can be selected for installation. I choose the version, which is commiserate with the cost of the MicroZed Evaluation kit, the Vivado webPACK. The installer also offers installers the opportunity to install standalone versions of the SDK, Hardware Server and the Documentation Navigator, However, it seems that each installation must occur individually, as I could not select multiple items for installation at the same time.


The webPACK provides limited support for 7 Series and Zync-7000 devices, which is acceptable for my purposes, as it supports the Zync-7010, found on the evaluation kit. All the default options were acceptable too, but before clicking on okay I added the option to install the cable drivers for the correct operation of parallel port and USB programmers. Maybe I would not have to create a device rules, udev, file? At this stage I was informed that  I would require about 10.07 GB of disk space.


 The next screen posed a problem, because not being  root meant that I could not install to the default location of /opt/Xilinx. I now had two options, restart the installation as a root installer i.e sudo or install Vivado locally. To avoid any future  complications  I decided to restart the installation as a root installer by, as suggested previously, typing the following

sudo ./Xilinx_Vivado_SDK_2014.4_1119_1_lin64.bin

Doing so led to the following error:

ERROR: Installer could not be started.
No X11 DISPLAY variable was set, but this program performed an operation which requires it.

At this stage I was beginning to get seriously cheesed off so I decided to play an online game of FIFA 15 on the PS4 before continuing. A few games later I was back, but only because I lost a game that I shouldn't have. Back to the installation. To solve the ongoing crisis, next I tried executing the command

"export DISPLAY := 0.0"

, but it didn't work either. Maybe because my display was already set and not root's, which is normally the way a secure LINUX system is setup.

I didn't really mind installing Vivado and any other Xilinx tools locally, but I was quite sure I wouldn't have access to the Xilinx USB programmer without at least something happening as root. Time for some Internet research. I didn't find any answers on the net, so I took responsibility and attempted to solve the problem by logging in as a root user. I did this by opening a terminal, typing su, then navigating to my Downloads folder. I then restarted the installation process.



This worked and I could now proceed with the installation in  the directory /opt/Xilinx. However, as the directory did not exist it had to be created, as seen in the dialogue opposite. The following dialogue, which provided an installation summary can be seen in the image below. I next clicked on install.

The installation progress dialogue appears and  is constantly updated with the status of the downloaded files, as well as the status of the installation in general. One is also treated to a series of flash images extolling the virtue of Xilinx FPGAs. It looked like it might take a while, so I decided to have another couple of games of FIFA 15. A few games later saw me earn promotion to Division 7 (Seasons), not bad my pass and move tactic is finally getting across to the players. Although I've got to calm down and stop shooting wildly, with excitement, when in front of goal!


The installation took about 30 minutes to complete, using a relatively fast Internet connection, seen in the installation progress summary, below.


The next part of the process was to obtain a license.


This takes you to the Xilinx website where one has to login, yet again.


The license activation process seemed to take an infinite time, which led me to believe it was never going to happen. This was probably because I had already activated a license for the tools on a Windows PC.

Eventually, after running out of patience with the process, I cancelled it. However, before doing so I generated a license, Xilinx.lic file in the same area of the Xilinx website


I then navigated to the  directory /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2014.4/bin where the Vivado license manager program, vlm, resides. This allows one load a license manually, which I did by clicking on the "Copy License" button and loading the Xilinx.lic file, generated previously.


This seems to work as now I can launch the Vivado design suite by issuing the following command /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2014.4/bin/vivado as a none root user. Eventually, I should add include the Vivado binary directory in my search path. This launches the application, as can be seen in the image above.

 Although I have not yet tested a USB programmer, I have the Digilent HS3 programmer, I am fairly satisfied that I am up and running. To continue this blog series I shall firstly look at some of the introductory tutorials  provided by Xilinx and Avnet on the MicroZed Evaluation Kit.

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