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Porting GNOME OS to Microchip’s PolarFire® SoC FPGA Icicle Kit for the First Time | Microchip

By July 26, 2022July 31st, 2022No Comments

Customers often require support to bring up new boards and architectures on Linux. Our Mi-V ecosystem partner, Codethink’s specialty is board bring-up and they perform a lot of work around BSPs, often for upcoming prototypes and commercial hardware. 

Codethink helps clients to apply best practice open source for commercial devices and provide Linux Kernel and Board Support Package (BSP) assistance to device manufacturers and platform providers. Their work includes Kernel configuration and tuning, driver development, tools development, back/forward porting of changes and upstreaming as well as BSP updates and long-term production lifetime maintenance.

Codethink views RISC-V as a growth market and believes the market has shown time and again that open-source technologies win in the long term. For this reason, they are passionate about contributing and becoming heavily involved in early RISC-V BSP and Kernel efforts.

Codethink’s strong interest in the future of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) technologies and RISC-V in general led them to direct their research and development budget towards supporting GNOME OS on our PolarFire® SoC FPGA boards as a first step in our involvement in the Mi-V ecosystem.

Codethink has been participating in the RISC-V ecosystem for a while now, and their engineers recognise its potential to disrupt the tech landscape. We decided that the Icicle developer board, based around our PolarFire® SoC FPGA system-on-chip (SoC), was a good starting point for application-class RISC-V hardware. If you want to try this work yourself, you can check the step by step guide here: 

Using GNOME OS to leverage Freedesktop software development kit (SDK) simplified the process of creating an SD card image by merging the PolarFire BSP and RISC-V based root file system with GNOME OS to produce this proof-of-concept (PoC).

Given that the board was not designed with this use-case in mind, this demonstrates the flexibility of Microchip’s FPGA-based development board approach.

RISC-V has the potential to disrupt the tech landscape in a big way: it’s already finding its way into hard drive controllers and soldering irons. Beyond the embedded market (typically the domain of Arm CPUs and microcontrollers), RISC-V has its eyes set on the high-performance computing market where you’d typically find an x86 CPU (servers and desktops). Codethink is interested in demonstrating that they can work with RISC-V across many domains.

In a nutshell, Codethink provides consultancy and software engineering services to international-scale customers. They help to design and deliver systems and software at all scales, from dedicated microcontroller/DSP/FPGA solutions to embedded medical devices, in-vehicle systems, network and cloud infrastructure. Codethink is one of the few firms in the market with the expertise to reliably deliver complete custom Linux systems and open-source solutions for critical devices and services. Bringing this knowledge to the forefront alongside RISC-V and FOSS is sure to create a winning formula down the line. 

Codethink are experts in FOSS and participate upstream. They are an active contributor to a wide range of cutting-edge FOSS projects, processes and cultures. They highly value the amazing contributions, made over decades, by the Free Software and open-source communities.

They help clients and partners take maximum advantage from the knowledge and technologies developed by the FOSS community. Even in situations where source code cannot be shared,their teams draw on and benefit from FOSS people, code, processes, insights and values.

Codethink believes that Microchip provides strong leadership and presence within the developing RISC-V ecosystem and are looking forward to exploring how they can help Microchip, its clients and partners to achieve cutting edge results moving forward.

If you need assistance in porting GNOME OS on PolarFire® SoC FPGA, feel free to get in touch with Codethink, and they would be happy to assist.

For more information about other RISC-V related projects done in the open by Codethink, please visit here:

If you face any issues, or if any of services are of interest to you, feel free to contact Codethink at

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