The Parallella project just took a huge step forward thanks to the incredible debugging efforts of our new best friends from Antmicro over in Europe.
As noted back in the “call for help” post in June we were struggling with getting the HDMI up and running with the Parallella board. In July we realized that we had to get outside help. There is a thin line between being tenacious and just being plain stubborn, but one thing is for sure: asking for help doesn’t come naturally:-)!
Fortunately there are today quite a few companies with expert knowledge of the Xilinx Zynq SOC. One of these companies is Antmicro. Michael Gielda (CMO at Antmicro and a Parallella KS supporter!) reached out to me last fall during the Parallella KS campaign and we had kept in touch. Once I realized we were in trouble with the HDMI functionality, I immediately contacted Michael. This turned out to be a good move! Not only was Antmicro a long time user of the Zynq, they were also familiar with the ADI HDMI chip on the Parallella board. They graciously agreed to take a look at our issues (very generous considering it was August!). We shipped a Gen0 board as soon as we could and handed off a solid (but non-working!) FPGA design. Check out Antmicro’s progress time line, pretty amazing if you ask me!!
• August 10th: Received the board and modified it to add serial port output.
• August 13th: Uncovered an issue with the HDMI wiring on the board.
• August 19th: Completed creating a hacked up HDMI cable to work around Parallella board issue, fixed FPGA design, and fixed the device tree, resulting in weird looking “green penguin” appearing on the screen.
• August 21: Further debugging to clean up the screen output and voila, Parallella is running Linux Gentoo with a working HDMI output!!
• August 23: Ubuntu up and running with HDMI output (screen shot on its way…)
The summary above only tells part of the story so Antmicro has agreed to write a more thorough blog post about the Parallella HDMI bring-up process in the coming weeks at http://parallella.org
There is still work done be done to bring the Parallella Linux distribution to release status so we have asked Antmicro to take on the responsibility of getting the O/S side of things across the finishing line by the end of September. We have also invited them to help maintain the parallella-linux and parallella-uboot at http://github.com/parallella going forward. Based on the herculean debug effort demonstrated by Antmicro over the last few weeks I am very confident that they will deliver!!
Have a great weekend!