I have found that I am going to have to pause my series on the XP2 board. The reason is that I cannot get my USB programmer to be recognized by Lattice’s software via VirtualBox. I use Mac OS X, and I have Windows XP2 installed in a virtual machine (VirtualBox). Though Mac OS X recognizes the USB programmer and VirtualBox does as well, Lattice’s software does not recognize the hardware and nor does Windows XP. I cannot seem to find a way to get it to either, so I’m essentially dead in the water.
At this point I have three options:
- Install BootCamp on my Mac so that I can dual boot OS X and Windows XP — I don’t particularly like this because the Windows XP install will eat up quite a bit of my disk space that I would rather use for video editing. I suppose I could reclaim some of it by deleting my VirtualBox Windows XP install. But I hate the idea of having to reboot to use Windows or Mac OS X, what a pain! Hopefully a native install of Window with direct access to the USB subsystem on this computer would allow the Lattice USB programmer to function.
- I have an old Pentium-III machine with 256 MB of memory and 10 GB of disk space that runs Windows 2000 smoothly. I do not have a monitor for the machine, however, so I would need to purchase a monitor, then setup the machine again, and hope that the Lattice software won’t overpower this old machine that I purchased in 1999. This machine has a parallel port on the motherboard, so I could use the parallel port programmer cable that came with the XP2 board. This parallel port support gives me some hope that Lattice’s design software is no overbearing. After all, new Dell PCs don’t even have parallel ports!
- Buy a new PC with Windows 7 – I’d rather not take this route, but for the long-term it may be necessary. My hobby and passion is electronics, and despite how much I love Mac OS X, I may have to prepare a Windows machine so that I can take advantage of all of the free tools available for Windows in the electronics world. I could purchase a basic modern PC for less than $400 and I could get a nice monitor for $200, but that is still a lot of money when I am already happy with my Mac.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. Once I’ve found my solution I will re-start this series about the Lattice XP2 board. In the mean time, I have learned that despite the growth in Mac computing, Windows still rules the world. Even though most of the FPGA vendors now support Linux, I would still go the Windows route until the industry is ready to accept Linux alongside Windows.