This version (30 Oct 2018 13:59) was approved by Andrei Grozav.The Previously approved version (01 Feb 2018 15:29) is available.Diff

Nios2 Linux on the Altera FPGA Development Boards

Loading Pre-built Images

Download the pre-built image for you setup:

FPGA Carrier FMC Card Download
A10GX (10AX115S2F45I1SG) FMCDAQ2
A10GX (10AX115S3F45E2SGE3) FMCDAQ2
A10GX (10AX115S3F45E2SGE3) FMCDAQ3
A10GX (10AX115S2F45I2SG) FMCDAQ2
A10GX (10AX115S2F45I2SG) FMCDAQ2

If you are using a Windows machine and Quartus II is installed, the easiest way of loading the design is to directly run program.bat script (make sure that the Quartus II path specified in the script match the one from your machine). It will program the board and will launch a nios2-terminal where the Linux console messages will be printed.

An example of Linux console messages that are printed by the target:

Linux version 4.4.0-08393-g0e78611 (dragos@dragos-debian) (gcc version 5.3.0 (So
urcery CodeBench Lite 2016.05-10) ) #149 Mon Jun 6 18:30:22 EEST 2016
bootconsole [early0] enabled
early_console initialized at 0xf01814f0
On node 0 totalpages: 65536
free_area_init_node: node 0, pgdat c0695f8c, node_mem_map c06b98c0
  Normal zone: 512 pages used for memmap
  Normal zone: 0 pages reserved
  Normal zone: 65536 pages, LIFO batch:15
pcpu-alloc: s0 r0 d32768 u32768 alloc=1*32768
pcpu-alloc: [0] 0
Built 1 zonelists in Zone order, mobility grouping on.  Total pages: 65024
Kernel command line: debug console=ttyJ0,115200
PID hash table entries: 1024 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
Dentry cache hash table entries: 32768 (order: 5, 131072 bytes)
Inode-cache hash table entries: 16384 (order: 4, 65536 bytes)
Sorting __ex_table...
Memory: 252976K/262144K available (2957K kernel code, 93K rwdata, 672K rodata, 3
016K init, 99K bss, 9168K reserved, 0K cma-reserved)
NR_IRQS:64 nr_irqs:64 0
clocksource: nios2-clksrc: mask: 0xffffffff max_cycles: 0xffffffff, max_idle_ns:
 19112604467 ns
Calibrating delay loop (skipped), value calculated using timer frequency.. 200.0
0 BogoMIPS (lpj=400000)
pid_max: default: 32768 minimum: 301
Mount-cache hash table entries: 1024 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
Mountpoint-cache hash table entries: 1024 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
devtmpfs: initialized
cpu cpu0: Error -2 creating of_node link
clocksource: jiffies: mask: 0xffffffff max_cycles: 0xffffffff, max_idle_ns: 7645
041785100000 ns
NET: Registered protocol family 16
clocksource: Switched to clocksource nios2-clksrc
NET: Registered protocol family 2
TCP established hash table entries: 2048 (order: 1, 8192 bytes)
TCP bind hash table entries: 2048 (order: 1, 8192 bytes)
TCP: Hash tables configured (established 2048 bind 2048)
UDP hash table entries: 256 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
UDP-Lite hash table entries: 256 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
NET: Registered protocol family 1
RPC: Registered named UNIX socket transport module.
RPC: Registered udp transport module.
RPC: Registered tcp transport module.
RPC: Registered tcp NFSv4.1 backchannel transport module.
futex hash table entries: 256 (order: -1, 3072 bytes)
jffs2: version 2.2. (NAND) © 2001-2006 Red Hat, Inc.
Block layer SCSI generic (bsg) driver version 0.4 loaded (major 253)
io scheduler noop registered
io scheduler deadline registered
io scheduler cfq registered (default)
101814f0.serial: ttyJ0 at MMIO 0x101814f0 (irq = 2, base_baud = 0) is a Altera J
console [ttyJ0] enabled
console [ttyJ0] enabled
bootconsole [early0] disabled
bootconsole [early0] disabled
loop: module loaded
spi_altera 10181400.spi: base f0181400, irq 74
libphy: altera_tse: probed
altera_tse 10181000.ethernet (unnamed net_device) (uninitialized): MDIO bus alte
ra_tse-0: created
altera_tse 10181000.ethernet: Altera TSE MAC version 15.1 at 0x10181000 irq 3/4
mousedev: PS/2 mouse device common for all mice
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: Altera XCVR probed
iio iio:device0: ad9528 setup
ad9528 spi32766.0: probed ad9528-1
ad9144 spi32766.1: Probed.
NET: Registered protocol family 17
ad9467 spi32766.2: AD9680 PLL LOCKED
cf_axi_dds 10024000.axi-ad9152-hpc: Analog Devices CF_AXI_DDS_DDS MASTER (8.00.b
) at 0x10024000 mapped to 0xf0024000, probed DDS AD9152
cf_axi_adc 10010000.axi-ad9680-hpc: ADI AIM (9.00.b) at 0x10010000 mapped to 0xf
0010000, probed ADC AD9680 as MASTER
Freeing unused kernel memory: 3016K (c02e5000 - c05d7000)
Starting logging: OK
Initializing random number generator... random: dd urandom read with 35 bits of
entropy available
Starting network...
altera_tse 10181000.ethernet eth0: device MAC address b2:94:3d:6e:11:8f
altera_tse 10181000.ethernet eth0: TSE revision f01
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: Link 1 ch 0 CDR/CMU PLL & RX offset cal
ib OK
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: Link 1 ch 1 CDR/CMU PLL & RX offset cal
ib OK
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: Link 1 ch 2 CDR/CMU PLL & RX offset cal
ib OK
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: Link 1 ch 3 CDR/CMU PLL & RX offset cal
ib OK
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: RX transceiver ready
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: Link 0 ATX PLL calibration OK
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: Link 0 ch 0 TX termination and VOD cali
b OK
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: Link 0 ch 1 TX termination and VOD cali
b OK
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: Link 0 ch 2 TX termination and VOD cali
b OK
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: Link 0 ch 3 TX termination and VOD cali
b OK
altera_xcvr 10000000.daq3_axi_jesd_xcvr: TX transceiver ready
altera_tse 10181000.ethernet eth0: Link is Up - 1Gbps/Full - flow control off
Network cable is plugged
udhcpc (v1.24.2) started
Sending discover...
Sending select for
Lease of obtained, lease time 28800
deleting routers
adding dns
adding dns
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
Starting dropbear sshd: OK
Starting IIO Server Daemon

Welcome to Buildroot
buildroot login:

IIO Oscilloscope Remote

The IIO Oscilloscope application can be used to remotely connect to another platform that has a connected IIO device in order to configure the device and read data from it.

To install the application, please follow the instructions from here: Oscilloscope

Once the application is launched go to Settings → Connect and enter the IP address of the target in the popup window. Click Refresh and OK.

Note: The IP address of the target can be found by looking to the Linux console messages (Lease of obtained, lease time 28800) or using the Linux ifconfig command (log in using user root and password analog):

Welcome to Buildroot
buildroot login: root
# ifconfig
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr B2:94:3D:6E:11:8F
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          RX packets:47 errors:0 dropped:11 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:3 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:5386 (5.2 KiB)  TX bytes:1026 (1.0 KiB)

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback
          inet addr:  Mask:
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:65536  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

Some examples of the IIO Oscilloscope running on Windows and connected remotely to a target that runs Linux:

Build Linux

Build Linux - Script method

We provide a script that does automates the build for Nios 2.

The script takes 4 parameters:

  1. <path_to_nios2_toolchain> - this is mandatory, since already built Nios 2 toolchains are not very common ; point this to the nios2eds directory [e.g. /home/<user>/intelFPGA/<version>/nios2eds/bin/gnu/H-x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/bin/nios2-elf- ]
  2. <local_kernel_dir> - default is linux-adi if left blank ; use this, if you want to use an already cloned kernel repo
  3. <altera_branch> - default is altera_4.9 if left blank
  4. <devicetree_file> - which device tree should be used for build; default is a10gx_adrv9371.dts

The script will:

  1. clone the ADI kernel tree
  2. download the Linaro GCC toolchain [if no other is specified]
  3. build the ADI kernel tree
  4. export/copy the Image file and device tree file out of the kernel build folder

Running the script in one line

wget && chmod +x && ./ /home/<user>/intelFPGA/<version>/nios2eds/bin/gnu/H-x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/bin/nios2-elf-

Build Linux - Step by Step Instructions

Get Linux Kernel Source

user@pc:~/nios2$ git clone
Cloning into 'linux'...
remote: Counting objects: 4331580, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (23/23), done.
remote: Total 4331580 (delta 10), reused 5 (delta 5), pack-reused 4331552
Receiving objects: 100% (4331580/4331580), 1.27 GiB | 1.88 MiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (3598928/3598928), done.
Checking connectivity... done.
Checking out files: 100% (49759/49759), done.

Checkout Corresponding Branch

user@pc:~/nios2$ cd linux/
user@pc:~/nios2/linux$ git checkout altera_4.9
Branch altera_4.9 set up to track remote branch altera_4.9 from origin.
Switched to a new branch 'altera_4.9'

Get Root Filesystem

user@pc:~/nios2/linux$ wget -P arch/nios2/boot/rootfs.cpio.gz
--2015-07-21 09:30:19--
Resolving (
Connecting to (||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 2786418 (2.7M) [application/octet-stream]
Saving to: ‘arch/nios2/boot/rootfs.cpio.gz’

arch/nios2/boot/rootfs.cpi 100%[=========================================>]   2.66M   111KB/s   in 20s

2015-07-21 09:30:40 (134 KB/s) - ‘arch/nios2/boot/rootfs.cpio.gz’ saved [2786418/2786418]


Set Environmental Variables

user@pc:~/nios2/linux$ export ARCH=nios2
user@pc:~/nios2/linux$ export CROSS_COMPILE=~/nios2/tools/bin/nios2-linux-gnu-

Configure Kernel for Nios2 Platforms

user@pc:~/nios2/linux$ make adi_nios2_defconfig
# configuration written to .config

Copy Corresponding Devicetree

your_setup.dts is a generic file name - it should be replaced by the desired devicetree file name.

Valid options: a5gt_fmcjesdadc1.dts , a10gx_daq2.dts , a10gx_daq3.dts

user@pc:~/nios2/linux$ cp arch/nios2/boot/dts/your_setup.dts arch/nios2/boot/devicetree.dts

Build Kernel

user@pc:~/nios2/linux$ make zImage
scripts/kconfig/conf --silentoldconfig Kconfig
  CHK     include/config/kernel.release
  WRAP    arch/nios2/include/generated/asm/atomic.h
  LD      arch/nios2/boot/compressed/vmlinux
  OBJCOPY arch/nios2/boot/zImage
Kernel: arch/nios2/boot/zImage is ready
01 Feb 2018 14:07 · Alexandru Ardelean


Prebuilt image:

HDL Project: a10gx

Linux Kernel: altera_4.6

a10gx_adrv9371.dts: a10gx_adrv9371.dts

rootfs: rootfs_adrv9371x.cpio.gz

resources/tools-software/linux-drivers/platforms/nios2.txt · Last modified: 30 Oct 2018 13:59 by Andrei Grozav