Xilinx 2013.2 software on Ubuntu with Unity Menus install guide

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Ubuntu Unity users wanting to keep a clean desktop and slick operation better modify what Xilinx offers. This guide can be used by everyone installing Xilinx Vivado Tools with Ubuntu Unity. Those who already installed a previous version of the Xilinx development tools on Ubuntu and already followed a previous guide on how to setup a Unity menus for the Xilinx tools probably want to only pick specific information from this text while first time installers/users best read all and follow each bullet.

With Xilinx Vivado 2013.2 tools, Xilinx also introduces desktop icons for their tools. The setup of the icons is done so that the icons can be used in most Linux distributions but with a preference for RedHat systems.Existing or returning users of Xilinx, Ubuntu, Unity might consider to execute following steps in order to start with a clean slate.

Uninstall the Xilinx tools (probably version Vivado 2013.1) Open a terminal window.

cd /opt/<install folder path>/Vivado/<version>/.xinstall/bin/lin
sudo xsetup -uninstall 
  • Uninstall the previous version of the Xilinx Document Navigator.
cd /opt/<install folder path>/DocNav/.xinstall/bin/lin
sudo xsetup -uninstall
  • Backup all existing Unity_Drawers_Xilinx menus.
cd ~/.local/share/applications
mkdir OldUnityDrawersXilinxMenus
  • move all Xilinx icons to the "OldUnityDrawersXilinxMenus" folder.
  • Above three steps can also be done from Nautilus.
  • Start a Nautilus file browser and go to Home/.local/share/applications
  • Right click and "Create New Folder", Name it:
  • Select the Xilinx tool icons (.desktop files) and drag them into the "OldUnityDrawersXilinxMenus" folder.

how to install the Xilinx Vivado-SDK tools:

  • Download the tar file form the Xilinx web site.
  • Xilinx uses a Download Manager tool but I prefer not to.
  • On the Xilinx software download page a message as figure 2 is displayed
  • Click the AR<number> link, download and save the file (~6Gb) without Download manager.

Figure 2: Download message "without Download Manager". Figure 2: Download message "without Download Manager".

  • Open a file browser and go to the folder used to save the Xilinx software file: "Xilinx_Vivado_SDK_2013.2_0616_1.tar".
  • Right click the file icon and select to open the file with "Archive Manager".
  • Extract the file With the Archive Manager. When done, close the Archive Manager.
  • Open a terminal window and change directory to the folder created after "Untar-ing" the software.
* x: cd /Dowloads/Xilinx/Xilinx_Vivado_SDK_2013.2_0616_1
  • Type now:
* sudo ./xsetup
  • Provide you password and follow the instructions in the Xilinx graphical installation tool. By default the Xilinx tools are installed in the /opt directory.

After installation of the Xilinx tools there will be a set of icons capable of launching Xilinx tools on the desktop, figure 1. This is not exactly conducive for a clean desktop and does not reflect what Unity is promoting, simplicity, power and integration delivering attractive and clean user experience.

Figure 1: Default Desktop Icons. Figure 1: Default Desktop Icons.

From here on it is assumed that the Xilinx Vivado tools are installed in the folder: /opt/Xilinx. Sub-directories in /opt/Xilinx are generated by the installation as showed in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Xilinx Vivado Software installation. Figure 3: Xilinx Vivado Software installation.

The software also adds some folders to your local (home) directory setup. A hidden folder .xilinx is added. This folder contains tool preferences, licenses, and etc. In the hidden .local/share folder, new folders are added and existing folders are modified.

Figure 4: Extra folders is .local/share Figure 4: Extra folders is .local/share.

  • "desktop-directories": Created by Xilinx install and containing icon launcher descriptions.
  • "data": Created by Xilinx install and containing information for the DacNav tool.
  • "applications": The Xilinx install tool added here icons and .desktop files that are displayed on the Ubuntu desktop, Figure 5.

Figure 5: Icons dropped in .local/share/applications by the Xilinx Install tool. Figure 5: Icons dropped in .local/share/applications by the Xilinx Install tool.


All files added by the Xilinx installer tool have "root" user and group permissions. Possibly you can leave it like it is, but I've modified all file permissions to user permissions.

cd ~/.local/share/desktop-directories
sudo chgrp <your_username> *.directory
sudo chown <your_username> *.directory
cd ../applications
sudo chgrp <your_username> *.desktop
sudo chown <your_username> *.desktop

When viewing the directory contents with Nautillus, the padlock emblem in the different Xilinx tool icons will be removed. If not already done, download and install a small but very useful Unity tool called "drawers".

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ian-berke/ppa-drawers
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install drawers

Provide the developer of this tools credit via a small donation/contribution. Previous users might shack if they have the latest version of "Drawers" installed. Setting up and configuring the "Drawers" Unity utility doe snot need explication. I'm providing here a possible setup of the Xilinx tools with the Unity Utility "Drawers" to get the slick, powerful and clean Unity feeling back.

  • Make sure some Xilinx icons are available
  • Create a folder "icons" in Home/.local/share
  • Create in Home/.local/share/icons a folder called "Xilinx".
  • Copy into this folder some icons you are going to use for creating Xilinx menus.In previous version post I've supplied a zip file with icons. You can use that and even you might ahve it already installed. It is possible to use default installed Ubuntu icons that can be found in: "/usr/share/icons or /usr/share/icons/Humanity/places". Browse the sub-directories with icons available here.

We are going to create six (6) drawers for all of the Xilinx Vivado tools. If you plan to also install the Xilinx ISE tools extra drawers might be needed.

setup drawer menu structure

This is the setup of the drawer menu structure:

- Xilinx Design Tools (icon: .local/share/icons/xilinx.svg) (Drawer name: Xilinx Design Tools) - Vivado (icon: /usr/share/icons/Humanity/places/32/folder.svg) (Drawer name: Vivado Menu) - Accessories (icon: idem as above) (Drawer name: Vivado Accessories Menu) - Vivado SDK (icon: idem as above) (Drawer name: Vivado SDK Menu) - System Generator (icon: idem as above) (Drawer name: Vivado SystemGen Menu) - Vivado HLS (icon: idem as above) (Drawer name: Vivado HLS Menu)

To create a drawer for each of the listed above.

  • Launch "Drawers"(Dash Home --> Type "drawers" in the search bar and click the "Drawers" icon when it appears).
  • The program starts as in figure 6.
  • Press "Create a New Drawer" and type the name of the new drawer to create.
  • Click the, top right, drawer icon and select a new one (see list above).
  • Hit close.

Figure 6 Figure 6.

There will now be six .desktop files in the .local/share/applications folder.

  • The top level icon with the Xilinx 'X' icon
  • Five other with the regular 'Folder' icon.

Most likely the just created drawer will be available in the Unity Quick Launch Bar at the left side of the screen. Right click each icon and select "Unlock From Launcher".

  • Open a Nautillus file browser from the "Home/.local/share/applications" folder.
  • Drag the "Xilinx Design Tools" icon onto the Unity Quick Launcher Bar.
  • Click the "X" icon.
  • A small window will open as in figure 7.
  • Drag now the other icons onto it as in figure 8.
  • To put icons and drawers in the "Vivado Menu" icon, click on it.
  • An empty "Vivado menu" box will open where other Icons and drawers can be dropped.
  • View below figures for the whole build.
  • Customize the drawers as wanted for your system.

Figure 7 Figure 7.

Figure 8 Figure 8.

Done, you have now a nice, clean and powerful Unity approach to the Xilinx tools.