Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Installing Xilinx ISE Webpack on Linux workstations

Recently I pulled out the old Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) from my desk and dusted it off to get it ready for some small projects. I'd just like to get a little more into digital design, etc. My experimenter board of choice is the Digilent Basys2 Spartan 3E FPGA Board. This is my board of choice because it's not very expensive and though many people tell me the Spartan 3E are obsolete/deprecated. However, this is what I have so it's the board and chip I'll use.

But before I can go off and put any designs on the board I need to pick up some digital design software. I'll be using Xilinx's ISE WebPack (currently version 13.3).

The following outlines the steps to getting started with Xilinx ISE WebPack on Linux based machines.

  1. Goto: http://www.xilinx.com/support/download/index.html/content/xilinx/en/downloadNav/design-tools.html and download the latest version of Xilinx ISE WebPack for your platform (Linux Full Installer).
    1. You will need to register a Username/Password in order to get the download, this registration will also be used when getting the Licensing file to activate ISE WebPack, so keep a copy safe and available!
  2. Confirm the download was successful by comparing MD5 checksums on the archive to the information at the above location.
    1. This requires openssl
      1. eg. “openssl md5 Xilinx_ISE_DS_Lin_13.3_O.76xd.1.0.tar”
  3. Untar the archive
    1. This requires tar
      1. eg. “tar -xvf Xilinx_ISE_DS_Lin_13.3_O.76xd.1.0.tar”
  4. Enter the directory for the Xilinx installer:
    1. eg. “cd Xilinx_ISE_DS_Lin_13.3_O.76xd.1.0”
* ISE WebPack will ask for an installation directory during execution, the default is “/opt/Xilinx/13.3” (for the latest version as of 1/5/2011). The effective user must have write access to “/opt/” in order to install to this location. Speak to your system administrator for more information.
  1. Execute xsetup
    1. ./xsetup
  2. Click “Next”
  3. Review 1 of 2 License Agreement, click “I accept...” followed by “Next”
  4. Review 2 of 2 License Agreement, click “I accept...” followed by “Next”
  5. Select ISE WebPack, click “Next”
  6. Check the following:
    1. “Acquire or Manage a License Key”
    2. “Enable WebTalk to send software...”
    3. “Ensure Linux System Generator Symlinks”
    4. Click “Next”
  7. Check “Import tool preferences from previous version,” click “Next”
  8. Click “Install”
  9. Select “Get Free ISE WebPack License,” followed by “Next”
  10. Click “Connect Now”
    1. A browser should open redirecting you to login to register your ISE WebPack OR
    2. If this does not occur, you may follow the following link:http://www.xilinx.com/getlicense/
  11. Login using your credentials acquired through the registration process in Step 1.
  12. Confirm or Modify any registration information and click “Next” in your web browser.
  13. Continue any on screen instructions for generating a License Key [Unfortunately: I did this a while ago and no longer need to do it again. I merely managed my existing license and had a new copy of the Xilinx.lic file (the license) to me.]
  14. Once you have your Xiling.lic file emailed to you, download it to any directory and Select “Copy License File”
  15. Browse to the file location select the file, you will be prompted with a successful message, click “OK” followed by “Close”
  16. Click “Finish”
This concludes the installation of Xilinx ISE WebPack.

Coming soon, a quick intro to using ISE WebPack to load the default program...


  1. I want to question admin:
    How to install /setup uClinux on Spartan 3E
    Let's to me step by step to do it
    Thank you very much

    1. I believe this is beyond the scope of anything we've done - but if you get it worked out, please follow up with us!