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Valued Contributor III
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On Nios II IP licensing and IDE

Dear Experts, 

 

I am relatively new to Altera FPGAs (and the Nios II soft-core). The design I am now responsible for includes a Cyclone III FPGA on which a Nios II processor is instantiated. I read on the Altera website that in order to ship designs with the Nios II IP, the IP-NIOS license is required. Since my project is currently in field test and on the verge of commercialization, I am guessing the team has the IP-NIOS license. However, it is the details that I am missing and want to understand: 

 

1. At what point does this license come into play? Is it during Nios II development/building the output with the Quartus II software? Or when the target is actually being programmed? 

2. The team appears to have purchased the Subscription Edition of Quartus II software + IP-NIOS for $2495. Apparently, this license is about to expire soon. So, in order to continue shipping the Nios II based hardware, we would need to renew this license, correct? 

3. Another issue is that the team - for some inexplicable reason - did not use the Nios II IDE for development or debugging. Is it easy to create a new project (with the right settings) and import the existing source files, build the output, and program the target? Currently there are only script files to build the firmware and program the target (using a USB-Blaster cable). 

 

Thanks, 

Sira
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Valued Contributor III
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The Nios license is required for integrating the Nios IP core into the FPGA design, so you need it whenever you rebuild the Quartus project. 

If you don't have a valid licence the Nios core would work only in OpenCores mode, i.e. as long as you keep USB-Blaster attached. 

The software part is not affected by the license. You can use IDE, sw build tools for Eclipse or script files to create Nios projects, compile them, program and debug the target without bothering if you have a valid licence or not. In other words, the licence is only for the 'hardware' part. 

Please also note that the /e (economy) variant of Nios processor is free: in this case you don't even need licensing for integrating the IP into your FPGA .
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Valued Contributor III
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Thank you for replying. So when exactly would I need to rebuild the Quartus project?

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Valued Contributor III
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--- Quote Start ---  

Thank you for replying. So when exactly would I need to rebuild the Quartus project? 

--- Quote End ---  

 

 

When you change anything in Quartus or Qsys. So, when you change the processor or peripherals structure. 

If you only change the software you don't need to. I mean if you are only modifing the C code in Nios IDE, the Quartus project is not involved and you don't need any futher license.
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