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Astrobe for RISC5 v6.2 (Dec 2016)
Embedded Project Oberon

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Astrobe Integrated Delopment Environment (IDE)
  3. Embedded Project Oberon
  4. Target FPGA Devices
  5. Supported Development Boards
  6. Downloads
  7. Technical Support

1. Introduction

Astrobe for FPGA RISC5 is a free Windows (version 10, 8 and 7) development system that you can use to develop applications using the Oberon programming language to run on an embedded real-time subset of the Project Oberon Operating System on a Xilinx FPGA development board. The Astrobe Oberon compiler is based on the current Project Oberon compiler source code. It complies with the May 2016 revision of the Oberon Language Report including support for numeric CASE statements.

An article titled Oberon System Implemented on a Low-Cost FPGA Board descrbes the Project Oberon system. It was published in Issue 91, Second Quarter 2015, of Xilinx's Xcell Journal.

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2. Astrobe Integrated Delopment Environment (IDE)

Astrobe allows you to edit and cross-compile your RISC5 Oberon programs on Windows. You then use its Upload menu command to transfer one or more executable RISC5 (*.rsc) files using the fast 115200 baud RS232 connection to the target FPGA board for execution.

The Astrobe IDE is identical to the commercial version that is used to develop embedded software for the ARM Cortex-M3, M4 and M7 microcontrollers. Astrobe has a number of features which make this a very convenient system for developing embedded RISC5 Oberon software. Some of the highlights are:

  • As well as all the usual Windows editing capabilities the Editor has Oberon-specific features such as syntax colour highlighting, auto-capitalisation of keywords, procedure navigation etc.
  • The Build command automatically determines the dependencies of the current module and compiles all outdated imported modules in the correct sequence.
  • The disassemble command shows the RISC5 instructions generated interleaved with your Oberon source code.
  • The Oberon sources are plain text files so any of your regular Windows development tools (editors, comparison tools, search tools, backup systems etc.) can be used with them.
  • The Library paths configuration option allows you to organise your source code in separate Windows folders.
  • The files uploaded to the Project Oberon file system are assigned the same date and timestamp as on Windows allowing synchronisation of sources.

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3. Embedded Project Oberon

The compiled applications produced by Astrobe can be executed on a subset of the complete Project Oberon OS i.e. just the Kernel, loader, filesystem, SPI, RS232 and SD card support. This is referred to as Embedded Project Oberon. The higher-level layers of Project Oberon OS with its user-interaction features: GUI, display, VGA, mouse, keyboard, compiler, editor etc. are not required on the target FPGA system because all of the development can be done on Windows.

The programs are controlled by the Astrobe Terminal connected to the development board by a 115200 baud serial link. Download the Embedded Project Oberon version of the document How to use the Oberon System for more details.

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4. Target FPGA Devices

The reduced memory footprint of Embedded Project Oberon means it is possible to run RISC5 Oberon applications on FPGA development boards without any external RAM on FPGA devices with 192 KBytes or more of internal BRAM e.g. the Xilinx Artix-7 35T. This system is also able to run applications at a higher clock speed i.e. 50Mhz instead of the 25MHz as used on the complete OS.

An example is Digilent's Arty board, shown here running the Oberon AutoCAD slide viewer:


Embedded Project Oberon has also been implemented on a breadboardable system using Digilent's latest Xilinx Artix-7 35T board, the Cmod A7-35T. This is shown here fitted with an Opus-Two microSD-card adapter connected to the PMOD socket.

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5. Supported Development Boards

 The Xilinx FPGA development boards supported with Astrobe v6.2 are:

Board FPGA Price Manufacturer Oberon Report Type Available
Arty Artix-7 $US 99 Digilent / Avnet May 2016 50MHz Embedded Now
Cmod A7-35T Artix-7 $US 89 Digilent May 2016 50MHz Embedded Now

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6. Downloads

The complete Astrobe for FPGA RISC5 software system consists of: 

  • A Windows Setup file to install the Astrobe IDE  
  • A MicroSDHC disk image file containing the Embedded Project Oberon OS
  • A bitstream file to program the RISC5 processor on the target FPGA processor
  • Verilog sources to customise the RISC5 system if desired

Request your copy via download here.

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7. Technical Support

If you have any questions about this system ask them on the Astrobe for FPGA RISC5 Forum. You will also find the latest news and implementation details there. 


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