15 Jun 2017

Microsemi Announces SoftConsole v5.1, for Windows

Microsemi has released its SoftConsole version 5.1. This is a Windows-hosted Eclipse integrated development environment, IDE for designs utilizing RISC-V open instruction set architectures, ISAs such as RV32I.

SoftConsole, Microsemi’s free software development environment enables production of C and C++ programming language designs for its field programmable gate arrays FPGAs.

RISC-V, an ISA which is now a standard open architecture under the governance of the RISC-V Foundation, offers numerous benefits, including enabling the open source community to test and improve cores at a faster pace than closed ISAs. As the RISC-V IP core is not encrypted, it can be used to ensure trust and certifications not possible with closed architectures. Portability is another benefit of the technology.

The new SoftConsole offers a number of key benefits for users. It targets all all 32-bit and 64-bit RISC-V cores, and both Windows and Linux are supported. For Linux it supports a variety of flavours including CentOS, Red Hat, Ubuntu and OpenSUSE.

In terms of security the open source RTL is open for inspection and this enables both trust and reliability. It is also possible to boot from secure on-chip flash memory to ensure no malware is present at boot-up.

In addition to this there is a firmware catalogue with numerous popular interfaces and drivers.

SoftConsole offers low power as well as the open architecture and it supports Microsemi’s PolarFire, RTG4, SmartFusion2 and IGLOO2 FPGA-based RISC-V soft CPUs as well as the HiFive1 Arduino kit from SiFive, a fabless semiconductor company that produces computer chips based on the RISC-V ISA. SoftConsole v5.1 is ideal for developing a wide variety of applications within the aerospace and defence, communications, data centre and industrial markets.

“With the majority of Microsemi FPGA designers utilizing a Windows platform for their development efforts, SoftConsole v5.1 not only supports our RISC-V soft CPU cores to enable designs with our highly secure and reliable FPGAs, but it can also be used for any RV32I standard ISA extensions,” said Tim Morin, director of marketing at Microsemi, who will be presenting on the subject at DAC on June 20. “This product release broadens the RISC-V ecosystem for those developing on Windows machines, and leverages our leadership position as we continue investing in this architecture to provide customers dependable, long-term roadmap support.”

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