[fpc-devel] Bounty for MIPS

Michael Schnell mschnell at lumino.de
Mon Jan 30 15:13:08 CET 2012

On 01/30/2012 02:51 PM, Mark Morgan Lloyd wrote:
> I remember mentioning NIOS as a MIPS variant in earlier discussion. 
> Did you ever conclude just how close they were, i.e. could one backend 
> target both?
Not really. This is what the FAE told me when he did an introduction on 
NIOS. I understand that the register structure is very similar and most 
the instructions can be translated 1:1 regarding some dedicated MIPS 
variant (supposedly the most simple one).  As I never did any work with 
MIPS, I can't be more specific. At the time I got this lesson, there was 
no MMU enable NIOS design yet. But now, IMHO, the way to go with NIOS on 
Linux  is to use the MMU enhanced variant.
> it would be interesting to have input from somebody who's actually 
> used that technology e.g. to tell us why a high-level language such as 
> Pascal can contribute.
I did bring up a Linux system on the NIOS hardware and did some research 
on what we can do with that. Of course it's great to have a combination 
of a Linux enabled CPU and very fast custom-"hardware" in a single chip, 
even though the CPU is not very fast. But at least it can happily do 
TCP/IP on a 100MBit line.

If we would have decided to do a project on NIOS, I might have started 
trying to do an FPC compiler for same, to allow for porting some of the 
currently used Pascal based PC software. But here, all NIOS activity has 
died. The cause that there now is the TI 335x chip that has a ten times 
faster (ARM Cortex A8) CPU for Linux plus two Cortex M3 cores that - 
independently of the main CPU - can do most of what we would require an 
FPGA form. ARM-Linux, of course, is a lot more "Standard" than 
NIOS-Linux, and FPC is no problem either.


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