Xtensa Linux

The Xtensa processor core is a customizable microprocessor and digital signal processor combination technology that you can use to make your own ASIC SoC.

The Xtensa technology is similar to the ARM and ARC synthesisable IP technologies in that it is an electronic design automation technology that allows you to design a custom system-on-a-chip. You can then use the design with Tensilica tools to generate output files that are suitable for implementing the design on common types of FPGA's, or for silicon chip fabrication.

The challenge in using Linux on chips built with the Xtensa technology is that each Xtensa design requires it's own version of the Linux kernel, software tools and run-time environment, that differ from every other Xtensa design and any other processor architecture previously supported in Linux. Although this makes using Linux on Xtensa platforms sound like a non-starter, in fact, the Tensilica Xtensa design tools provide the basic ingredient, a toolchain overlay file, that  get's you started with Linux on your Xtensa design.

Using the toolchain overlay files that you generate during the design phase of your Xtensa SoC, we provide:

  1. The initial Linux toolchain
  2. Mainline Linux kernel
  3. U-Boot bootloader
  4. Root filesystem and runtime program libraries
  5. Initial testing of complete Linux system on QEMU emulator
  6. Thorough testing on Tensilica's emulator
  7. Final debug on the FPGA
  8. Acceptance testing on the fabricated silicon

Developing Linux support for new SoCs can be a daunting task, especially for Xtensa designs. This is a specialty discipline that requires years of experience with different chips, peripheral IP, and versions of the Linux kernel. If you are in the business of developing an ASIC SoC that will run Linux, it probably does not make economic sense to try to grow Xtensa Linux expertise in-house. Your time is better spent concentrating on your ASIC design. Tk Open Systems provides a cost-effective alternative for Xtensa Linux support.

Contact Us

If you are interested in talking with us about Xtensa Linux support, please contact Alan Yaniger <alan@tkos.co.il>, and we will arrange a conference call with one of our senior developers.