Embedded Linux* from Wind River for the Nios® II Processor

Wind River, the global leader in device software optimization (DSO), enables companies to develop, run, and manage device software better, faster, at lower cost, and more reliably. Wind River technology is currently deployed in more than 300 million devices worldwide by industry leaders like Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, Motorola, NASA, and Mitsubishi. Wind River Professional Services enable leading electronics vendors like Philips, Siemens, Nortel, and Samsung to design, develop, and deploy innovative products on or ahead of schedule, at or below budget.

Embedded Linux Distribution for the Nios II Processor

Wind River’s Linux* solution is a complete, tested, and validated distribution based on Linux 2.6 kernel technology, the GNU 4 toolchain, and the Eclipse-based Wind River Workbench Development Suite. This solution adheres to well-known industry standards on Linux and tools and is highly customized to support the Nios® II processor architecture, instruction set, and additional features, such as support for custom instructions that are implemented in the FPGA fabric to increase system performance. The embedded Linux distribution includes all the components required by application developers and is backed by Wind River’s global network of technical support and professional services.

Key Features in the Linux Distribution from Wind River

  • Linux kernel 2.6.21
  • The Workbench Development tools
  • Binutils
  • Busybox
  • GNU toolchain
    • GCC compiler v4.1.2
    • Assembler v2.17.50
    • GDB v6.6
  • User space source-level debugging through serial and Ethernet
  • Run-time libraries
    • GLIBC v2.5
    • C and C++ run-time libraries
  • Native POSIX Thread Library (NPTL) and Thread local storage (TLS)
  • Menuconfig
  • U-boot boot loader

Nios II Hardware Reference Design for Linux, Cyclone® III (EP3C120) Edition

The Nios II Hardware Reference Design for Linux, Cyclone® III (EP3C120) Edition is an integrated, network-enabled processor system reference design that boots Linux on power-up. Implemented on a Cyclone III FPGA Development Kit, the underlying hardware platform is a fully timing-constrained and performance-optimized processor subsystem design with a Nios II/f core and a number of common system peripherals such as Ethernet, Timer, and UART. A matching Board Support Package (BSP) and a pre-built Linux kernel for this hardware platform give you a familiar and stable environment to jumpstart your application development effort. The same processor system reference design can target any FPGA in Intel's FPGA product portfolio.

Key Hardware Features of the Hardware Reference Design

  • Nios II/f core with MMU and OCI debug core
  • DDR2 SDRAM controller
  • Flash memory controller
  • Triple Speed Ethernet MAC
  • Scatter-Gather DMA
  • UART
  • 3 GPIO (8 LED outputs, 1 pushbutton input, 1 DIP switch input)
  • Timer
  • System ID peripheral

FPGA Resources Required by the Hardware Reference Design

  • 18 k logic elements (LEs)
  • 870 Kbits of on-chip memory
  • 4 multiplier blocks
  • 2 phase-locked loops (PLLs)
  • 229 I/O pins


Table 1 lists the typical components of the Wind River Linux for the Nios II processor offering.


Table1. Wind River Linux for the Nios II Processor Components

Component Vendor Description
Hardware Intel
Software Wind River
  • Wind River Linux Distribution
  • Nios II Layer for the Wind River Linux Distribution Release
  • Wind River Workbench for the Nios II processor
  • Board support package
  • Flash files (hardware and software for the Embedded Systems Development Kit, Cyclone III Edition)
Debugger Lauterbach

Contact Information

  • For sales information on the embedded Linux distribution from Wind River and software tools contact Wind River.
  • For the TRACE-32 In-Circuit Debugger contact Lauterbach.