Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Altera Quartus II and EDS on 64bit CentOS ... Eclipse won't start!

In a HHGTTG way* I will point out now to avoid any undue stress that Eclipse is now working fine (well seems to be as far as I have had time to test at the moment) so thankfully I can get on with learning about FPGAs, NIOS II and other geeky things :)

However, I thought I'd record my trials in getting this working so that anyone else that hits the same problem can fix it - or possibly suggest what I did wrong in setting everything up in the first place.

Anyway, we're having a look at FPGAs at work at the moment and they've purchased a little DE0 Nano board (available from Farnell in the UK prices £66.06 - need to save up as I want to buy my own to use at home now!).  I downloaded the Quartus II 13.1 Web edition from Altera which includes all the design tools and EDS (Embedded Development Suite) for these experimenter boards.

The software claims to support 64bit RedHat Enterprise Linux 6 (I went for the CentOS equivalent) and setup a VM.  Download (or a 7.5Gb ISO - eeek) and installation all seemed to go well and I followed the instructions in the readme to install a couple of 32bit libraries.

To cut a long story short; I was in a rush and just expected everything to work.  And in fact Quartus II did seem to startup fine.  Eclipse however, didn't start at all.  And more annoyingly, it just failed silently without any clue as to why.  I ran the eclipse-nios launcher as well as the eclipse executable directly.  No errors they both just start, appears to do some thinking and then quit :(  Weird.

After some investigation (ran strace and had a look at what it was doing) it became clear that I was missing a load of 32bit libraries!  Installed these and voila, Eclipse all working now :) 

While 'researching' for this blog post I came across the actual installation/licensing instructions/release notes which contain the following

"The following RPM packages are required to install and run the Altera Complete Design Suite (ACDS)
on systems running Red Hat Linux Enterprise 6:
• 32-bit libraries: compat-libstdc++-33.i686, expat.i686, fontconfig.i686, freetype.i686, glibc.i686,
gtk2.i686, libcanberra-gtk2.i686, gtk2-engines-2.18.4-5.el6.centos.i686, libpng.i686, libICE.i686,
libSM.i686, libuuid.i686, ncurses-devel.i686, ncurses-libs.i686, PackageKit-gtk-module.i686, tcldevel.
i686, tcl.i686, and zlib.i686
• XWindow libraries: libX11.i686, libXau.i686, libXdmcp.i686, libXext.i686, libXft-devel.i686, libXft.i686,
libXrender.i686, libXt.i686, and libXtst.i686
• GIMP toolkit: GTK+2
• For more information about RPM packages, visit the Red Hat website"

So, ultimately RTFM! 

I think I've got alot of RTFM to do with all this stuff now so will post when I've managed to understand some of it and maybe got something running!

* - I just re-listened to the audio book of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and it makes reference to stress being such a serious problem in the Galaxy that to avoid further increasing this the following points would be made clear about no-one getting hurt apart from a bruised upper arm.