Running Xilinx Impact on Linux Mint 19

This post was written by eli on February 13, 2021
Posted Under: FPGA,Linux,udev

Introduction

This is my short war story as I made Xilinx’ Impact, part of ISE 14.7, work on a Linux Mint 19 machine with a v4.15 Linux kernel. I should mention that I already use Vivado on the same machine, so the whole JTAG programming thing was already sorted out, including loading firmware into the USB JTAG adapters, whether it’s a platform cable or an on-board interface. All that was already history. It was Impact that refused to play ball.

In short, what needed to be done:

  • Make a symbolic link to activate libusb.
  • Make sure that the firmware files are installed, even if they’re not necessary to load the USB devices.
  • Make sure Vivado’s hardware manager isn’t running.
  • Don’t expect it to always work. It’s JTAG through USB, which is well-known for being cursed since ancient times. Sometimes “Initialize Chain” works right away, sometimes “Cable Auto Connect” is needed to warm it up, and sometimes just restart Impact, unplug and replug everything + recycle power on relevant card. Also apply spider leg powder as necessary with grounded elephant eyeball extract.

And now in painstaking detail.

The USB interface

The initial attempt to talk with the USB JTAG interface failed with a lot of dialog boxes saying something about windrvr6 and this:

PROGRESS_START - Starting Operation.
If you are using the Platform Cable USB, please refer to the USB Cable Installation Guide (UG344) to install the libusb package.
Connecting to cable (Usb Port - USB21).
Checking cable driver.
 Linux release = 4.15.0-20-generic.
WARNING:iMPACT -  Module windrvr6 is not loaded. Please reinstall the cable drivers. See Answer Record 22648.
Cable connection failed.

This is horribly misleading. windrvr6 is a Jungo driver which isn’t supported for anything by ancient kernels. Also, the said Answer Record seems to have been deleted.

Luckily, there’s a libusb interface as well, but it needs to be enabled. More precisely, Impact needs to find a libusb.so file somewhere. Even more precisely, this is some strace output related to its attempts:

openat(AT_FDCWD, "/opt/xilinx/14.7/ISE_DS/ISE//lib/lin64/libusb.so", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
openat(AT_FDCWD, "/opt/xilinx/14.7/ISE_DS/ISE/lib/lin64/libusb.so", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
openat(AT_FDCWD, "/opt/xilinx/14.7/ISE_DS/ISE/sysgen/lib/libusb.so", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
openat(AT_FDCWD, "/opt/xilinx/14.7/ISE_DS/EDK/lib/lin64/libusb.so", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
openat(AT_FDCWD, "/opt/xilinx/14.7/ISE_DS/common/lib/lin64/libusb.so", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
[ ... ]
openat(AT_FDCWD, "/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/tls/libusb.so", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
openat(AT_FDCWD, "/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libusb.so", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
openat(AT_FDCWD, "/lib/libusb.so", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
openat(AT_FDCWD, "/usr/lib/libusb.so", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)

It so happens that a libusb module is present among the files installed along with ISE (several times, actually), so it’s enough to just

$ cd /opt/xilinx/14.7/ISE_DS/ISE/lib/lin64/
$ ln -s libusb-1.0.so.0 libusb.so

or alternatively, a symlink to /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libusb-1.0.so worked equivalently well on my system.

But then

Trying to initialize the chain I got:

PROGRESS_START - Starting Operation.
Connecting to cable (Usb Port - USB21).
Checking cable driver.
File version of /opt/xilinx/14.7/ISE_DS/ISE/bin/lin64/xusbdfwu.hex = 1030.
 Using libusb.
Please run `source ./setup_pcusb` from the /opt/xilinx/14.7/ISE_DS/ISE//bin/lin64 directory with root privilege to update the firmware. Disconnect and then reconnect the cable from the USB port to complete the driver update.
Cable connection failed.

So yey, it was not going for libusb. But then it refused to go on.

Frankly speaking, I’m not so much into running any script with root privileges, knowing it can mess up things with the working Vivado installation. On my system, there was actually no need, because I had already installed and then removed the cable drivers (as required by ISE).

What happened here was that Impact looked for firmware files somewhere in /etc/hotplug/usb/, assuming that if they didn’t exist, then the USB device must not be loaded with firmware. But it was in my case. And yet, Impact refused on the grounds that the files couldn’t be found.

So I put those files back in place, and Impact was happy again. If you don’t have these files, an ISE Lab Tools installation should do the trick. Note that it also installs udev rules, which is what I wanted to avoid. And also that the installation will fail, because it includes compiling the Jungo driver against the kernel, and there’s some issue with that. But as far as I recall, the kernel thing is attempted last, so the firmware files will be in place. I think.

Or installing them on behalf of Vivado is also fine? Note sure.

Identify failed

Attempting to Cable Auto Connect, I got Identify Failed and a whole range of weird errors. Since I ran Impact from a console, I got stuff like this on the terminal:

ERROR set configuration. strerr=Device or resource busy.
ERROR claiming interface.
ERROR setting interface.
ERROR claiming interface in bulk transfer.
bulk tranfer failed, endpoint=02.
ERROR releasing interface in bulk transfer.
ERROR set configuration. strerr=Device or resource busy.
ERROR claiming interface.
ERROR setting interface.
control tranfer failed.
control tranfer failed.

This time it was a stupid mistake: Vivado’s hardware manager ran at the same time, so the two competed. Device or resource busy or not?

So I just turned off Vivado. And voila. All ran just nicely.

Bonus: Firmware loading confusion

I mentioned that I already had the firmware loading properly set up. So it looked like this in the logs:

Feb 13 11:58:18 kernel: usb 1-5.1.1: new high-speed USB device number 78 using xhci_hcd
Feb 13 11:58:18 kernel: usb 1-5.1.1: New USB device found, idVendor=03fd, idProduct=000d
Feb 13 11:58:18 kernel: usb 1-5.1.1: New USB device strings: Mfr=0, Product=0, SerialNumber=0
Feb 13 11:58:18 systemd-udevd[59619]: Process '/alt-root/sbin/fxload -t fx2 -I /alt-root/etc/hotplug/usb/xusbdfwu.fw/xusb_emb.hex -D ' failed with exit code 255.

immediately followed by:

Feb 13 11:58:25 kernel: usb 1-5.1.1: new high-speed USB device number 80 using xhci_hcd
Feb 13 11:58:25 kernel: usb 1-5.1.1: New USB device found, idVendor=03fd, idProduct=0008
Feb 13 11:58:25 kernel: usb 1-5.1.1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
Feb 13 11:58:25 kernel: usb 1-5.1.1: Product: XILINX
Feb 13 11:58:25 kernel: usb 1-5.1.1: Manufacturer: XILINX

This log contains contradicting messages. On one hand, the device is clearly re-enumerated with a new product ID, indicating that the firmware load went fine. On the other hand, there’s an error message saying fxload failed.

I messed around quite a bit with udev because of this. The problem is that the argument to the -D flag should be the path to the device files of the USB device, and there’s nothing there. In the related udev rule, it says $devnode, which should substitute to exactly that. Why doesn’t it work?

The answer is that it actually does work. For some unclear reason, the relevant udev rule is called a second time, and on that second time $devnode is substituted with nothing. Which is harmless because it fails royally with no device file to poke. Except for that confusing error message.

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