Installing a Xilinx FPGA environment for an Ubuntu-based machine

Installing Vivado


  • Infos available in another note.
  • However, some families don’t need a license file 😉


Before executing Vivado, a few things to be aware of:

  • Add this line in your $HOME/.bashrc (amongst other things, this script add binaries to PATH) :

    source /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2018.2/  # Modify the path to Vivado if needed
  • Now, Vivado could be executed with the command: vivado

  • It may be easier to have write rights on the Vivado install directory:

    chown -R $USER /opt/Xilinx
  • Board drivers may be installed with scripts at /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2018.3/data/xicom/cable_drivers/lin64/install_script

“Hello World” tutorial for Zedboard and Nexys4

VHDL simulation

Vivado includes a VHDL simulator which seems not optimal to me. Furthermore, for a quick simulation of a tiny component, it may be interesting to get a simulator without all the FPGA vendor layer. Modelsim is a well-known solution:

  • Problem #1 : Modelsim is usually included in a bundle with other tools.
  • Problem #2 : Modelsim isn’t very 64-bits friendly

Here is a note to set up Modelsim on a 64-bit Ubuntu machine.