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Installing Altera's Quartus Software On Linux (OpenSUSE 11.4)


Quartus startup imageThis article documents my experience in installing Altera's Quartus II (11.0) software on OpenSUSE Linux 11,4. While the instructions, on installing the software,  are fairly straightforward getting the USB Blaster to work is  a different kettle of fish altogether.

When installing on OpenSUSE (11.4) Linux , as a user without root privileges, Quartus worked first-time without any complications whatsoever, however when I tried to use it to program Altera's Cyclone III Starter Kit, with a built-in USB Blaster, no matter what I tried I could not configure the starter kit. In this article therefore, I will show how I installed Quartus on my Linux box and in the next article I will document my effort, with the help of others, in getting the USB Blaster to work.


Altera's Quartus (11.0) software, used to configure their different families of CPLD's and FPGA's, is available in Subscription ($$$) and Web Editions (free) packages. For most hobbyist projects Quartus' web edition package should suffice however, for the more advanced projects it is advisable to invest in the subscription version. A comparison of the two versions is available on Altera's website. This article refers to the installation of the Quartus II Web Edition on a Linux account without root access.

The Installation Process

When selecting the Web Edition from Altera's Download Center the installation script file, can be downloaded, as seen in the Figure below. To begin the installation process open a terminal window and navigate to the folder where the installation script has been downloaded. Type ./ (you may need to give the file execution permission by typing "chmod +x").


Once the installation script has self-extracted the Altera Software Installer - Introduction page appears. Decide on whether you want to help Altera improve the quality of their software by gathering statistics and click on the "Next" button.

Next you are presented with the opportunity of agreeing with the "End User License Agreement". If you agree, then do so and click on the "Next" button.

The "Installer Setup" page appears next where you can select the location of the installation files. In this case I selected the option to download the installation files from the Internet and clicked on the "Next" button.

The Internet options that you have selected are then checked and if your chosen setup is successful you are forwarded on to the next installation screen.

Next, in the "Select Destination" dialog window, you are prompted to select a home for your Quartus II installation and a temporary directory for the installation files. In this case I was quite happy with the default selections and clicked on the "Next" button.

In the "Select components" dialog window which appeared next I did just that and clicked on the "Next" button.

Finally, you are presented with an "Installation Summary" dialog. If the summary meets your specifications you can click on the "Next" button and the installation process proper begins. If you are not happy with your selection you can click on the "Back" button and re-think your options.

The "Installation" dialog that appears next is a cue to holler for that well earned beverage, be it a hot one, a  cup of tea or coffee, or a cold canned or bottled fizzy drink. In my case I had to get the drink myself. For those of you that are more inclined towards the stronger stuff then it could be a good idea, at this point,  to save any work in other opened applications. I can't remember how long exactly this process took but on a reasonably fast Internet connection (MB/s) there was enough time to contemplate life and enjoy a cup of tea.

The completion of the installation process is signified by the two dialogs seen in the Figure below. If you want to send Talkback data to Altera then tick the enable button and click on the "OK" button. Else just click "OK" without enabling the Talbkack feature.

In the next dialog window you are rewarded for installing Quartus II 11.0 Web Edition with a thank you message from Altera. You are also reminded that you can upgrade to the full featured subscription edition by visiting their website. From the options I had to proceed I opted to "Run the Quartus II software" reserving the right to "Buy the Quartus II Subscription Editon software" at a later date.

Well, it was as simple as that. As you can see below Quartus II has been successfully installed and an initial test of loading and compiling the demonstration projects was successful.


If the installation has gone smoothly, up to this point, like it did in my case then, in the opened  Quartus II sofware, you should be able to load the example project files, simulate them and satisfy yourself that Altera's design compilation experience may not be life changing but very rewarding all the same.

To start quartus from a terminal window without having to navigate to the installation directory you could do the following:

  1. In a terminal window navigate to your home directory and type" cd ~" at the command prompt. (-> cd ~)
  2. Open a text editor, emacs for example, and load .bashrc (when using the bash shell!) which is normally in your home directory. (~> emacs .bashrc)
  3. Modify the PATH environmental variable by doing the following export PATH=$PATH:/<quartus-install-dir>/quartus/bin.
  4. Close the text editor and you are ready to go.

If you have Altera hardware that is programmed with the USB Blaster download cable then the really challenging experience of the using it with Quartus II on OpenSUSE Linux really begins. My next article on this subject will document my success (or failure) in getting the USB Blaster to work with Altera's Cyclone III Starter Kit.


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