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Latest developments around the Milkymist System-on-Chip

embedded, microcontroller
Sébastien Bourdeauducq
Chaos Communication Camp 2011
Indexed on
Mar 27, 2013
File name
File size
3.1 MB

Milkymist develops a comprehensive solution for the live synthesis of interactive visual effects. It features one of the first open source system-on-chip designs. This talk gives a roundup of what has happened during the last 1.5 year in this project. The Milkymist project is an informal organization of people and companies who develop, manufacture and sell a comprehensive open source hardware and software solution for the live synthesis of interactive visual effects for VJs. The project goes great lengths to apply the open source principles at every level possible, and is best known for the Milkymist system-on-chip (SoC) which is among the first commercialized system-on-chip designs with free HDL source code. As a result, several Milkymist components have been reused in applications unrelated to video synthesis. For example, NASA's Communication Navigation and Networking Reconfigurable Testbed (CoNNeCT) experiment uses the memory controller that was originally developed for the Milkymist system-on-chip and published under the GNU GPL. A lot has happened since the introduction to the project at the 26C3. We have designed and are now producing and selling our own hardware called Milkymist One. The system-on-chip design has reached a very usable state, with improved graphics acceleration capabilities, support for all the interfaces on the Milkymist One (e.g. video digitizer, USB, Ethernet, MIDI, DMX, ...) and a GDB-compatible in-system debugger. On the software side, we have ported the RTEMS real time operating system and up-leveled the Linux port. We also have developed our own end-user video synthesis application which runs on RTEMS and uses the MTK embedded GUI toolkit (based on Genode FX). Several third-party applications and many libraries were successfully run on the Milkymist SoC, such as the MuPDF document viewer and the Lua and Ruby programming languagues. The SoC software can also be run and debugged in the latest versions of the QEMU emulator. This talk presents all this, and more. Demonstrations included.

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