(Warning PR Spoiler) This post does feel a little bit like reporting on a big screen drama.
For some time now, the QNX developer community has been asking where is QNX with a Xilinx port? In spite of this demand, we’ve had some significant obstacles in our way to providing mainstream support.
First a history lesson: When we started with Xilinx several years ago on Virtex 3 & 4 hardware, our support for these the platforms quickly became known as the million dollar BSPs. This was due to the fact that the offering was incomplete without support for the related FPGA tool set. So as long as the relationship and the offering was one sided – support from QNX for the Xilinx hardware but no matching support from Xilinx for QNX in their tool chain – the resulting product was not a complete solution. In fact it caused more problems that it solved After more than one failed design project (failed as in lost money, but still shipped) we decided to take a breather from the Xilinx world. Yes we’ve lost designs because of this, but I can attest to the fact that our engineers ,support staff, and myself, have all slept better at night. And we are still hearing reports of significant customer design cost over-runs for these very same reasons.
But as evidenced in their sales, the Xilinx designs still provide compelling value for the right application. So what to do?
Well much to our delight, Xilinx has taken advantage of Foundry27 and transparent development model by downloading the free commercial partner’s license and leveraging our BSP forums to bootstrap development of an Virtex-5 ML507 BSP. We have an experimental drop of this bsp available to distribute and it will be posted to the Foundry27 BSP listing as soon as we’ve had a look at it. However please drop me a line in the meantime if you’d like a copy. I can be reached at email@example.com.
Enter Connect Tech. (Here’s the PR spoiler) Connect Tech is an embedded solutions company that has worked with QNX for 23 years and has deep expertise creating Xilinx based designs. They have used this reference BSP and now support the same feature set on their FreeFormPCI104. What’s great about this particular design is that it is both an excellent platform to develop on, but its production quality and ready to deploy. Connect Tech’s combination of QNX & Xilinx expertise and field ready hardware designs will save our customers time and money as they bring new products to market. Most importantly, this presents good business value to our customers and we’re happy to announce that we’ll be supporting Virtex-5 solutions through this strategic relationship with Connect Tech.
And what about the future you may ask, what comes after Virtex-5? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see…..