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Building GNU and LLVM toolchains for custom SoCs

Anil Khanna

Anil Khanna

Posted Jul 10, 2013

Designing specialized hardware has been a popular approach by companies to differentiate and enhance their offerings. Typically, the functional and performance requirements for a target application drive this strategy. While customization begins with the hardware, for example custom DSP architectures (e.g. Qualcomm Hexagon DSP) or custom SoCs with updates to the ISA etc., in the end it is the software that is key to the enablement of any novel new architecture.

Offering a C/C++ development toolchain is a core requirement for embedded development targeting one’s custom hardware. Most organizations look towards open-source technologies such as GNU or LLVM for the key pieces to help build this toolchain. The catch, however, is that open-source bits are available only for a part, the standard issue, of their architecture. The customized pieces of the hardware require development work on top of the open source bits (optimizing the compiler, adding an IDE, extending the libraries, enhancing binutils and more)

As any person that has developed an OSS-based development environment will vouch, creating a fully validated toolchain is not a trivial task. Creating one for a custom hardware is a step-up in complexity!

Mark Mitchell is one of the few experts in the industry with hands-on experience in successfully delivering custom OSS-based toolchains for enabling the most interesting and unique SoC architectures. I am excited to announce that Mark will be sharing some of his knowledge from years of experience both from founding and running his company (CodeSourcery) and most recently as the General Manager of Open Source Solutions for the Mentor Graphics Embedded division.

Mark will be presenting in an online webinar on C & C++ Development for Custom Instruction Set Architectures with GNU or LLVM Toolchains.

Topics covered in this session will include – differences between the GNU and LLVM toolchains, steps necessary to build a C/C++ compiler for a custom instruction set architecture and the licensing implications of using open-source software with a highly proprietary SoC.

Not only is Mark technically astute, he is an all-around great guy and an excellent speaker! This is an event you do not want to miss. I look forward to very informative presentation.

GCC, GNU, code sourcery, OSS, LLVM

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About Anil Khanna Follow on Twitter

Anil KhannaI am part of the marketing organization in the Embedded Software Division here at Mentor. Before this I spent 10 years marketing Mentor's hardware design products, specifically in the RTL and high-level synthesis domains. Moving from addressing the requirements of hardware designers to those of software designers has been quite the change. Throw in open-source and you have a heady mix - which keeps me on my toes! Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading a good book or the occasional round of golf (in the few hours of sunshine we get in Portland!). I hope you find my thoughts interesting and look forward to your comments. Visit Embedded Blog

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