The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

October 18, 2012

Xilinx ISE 14.2 on Ubuntu 12.04

Filed under: digital logic,Electronics — Cranky Sysadmin @ 7:19 pm

I’ve been getting familiar with FPGA’s (Field Programmable Gate Array). In one sentence, they are a chip that you program what to be instead of what to do. I bought a Papilio One FPGA development board and a LogicStart daughter card (called a megawing) so I could get started learning. Go to GadgetFactory if you’re interested. One of the first steps on the computer is installing Xilinx ISE so I can program the FPGA. I transcribed my scrawled note after the fold.

The first thing to do is prepare for a long download. ISE is about a 7 GB download. Go to Xilinx website, register as a new user if you never have, and find the support menu item. You should be able to start your download after pretending to read the terms of service. I suggest you also go to the “licensing solutions” portion of their support website and create a free “WebPack” license. The automatic licensing part of the install doesn’t seem to work on my computer.

While you wait for the download, there are some ubuntu packages you can install:

sudo apt-get install libmotif4
sudo apt-get install portmap
sudo apt-get install libstdc++5
sudo apt-get install xfonts-100dpi
sudo apt-get install xfonts-75dpi

Xilinx is linked against motif3, so I linked the motif library to fake version 3:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/

This worked fine for me but some folks went and found the old libraries instead.

Portmap needs to be running with the -wi options.

$ cat /etc/init/portmap.conf |grep OPTIONS=

It didn’t seem to change my experience, but I changed my “SystemFont” and “SystemFontSpec”:

$ cat myfallback.txt 

xrdb -merge myfallback.txt

and then I made a script to run the whole thing. You’ll need to customise this to your path:

$ cat bin/xilinx 
. /home/jjorgens/opt/Xilinx/14.2/ISE_DS/


My next project will be to try to integrate emacs into my workflow since the ISE editor is um… not my favorite.


  1. […] and suffered through making ISE work on Ubuntu. Below are some of my collected notes and links. I posted earlier on this topic. If you just want to program your butterfly one or other FPGA that has its own […]

    Pingback by Xilinx 14.3 tools on ubuntu 12.10 (Oh, the pain) « The Cranky Sysadmin — December 15, 2012 @ 9:50 am

  2. Hi,
    Just an update. I installed Xilinx 14.5 and for me to fix the I had to do the symbolic link with the following path:

    sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ /usr/lib/

    Comment by jefferson — May 14, 2013 @ 10:43 pm

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