Xilinx ISE 12 phoning home


I hate when applications go online without prior permission. What I hate even more is when they say that they will happily ignore you trying to disallow them to do so, just like the new 12.1 version of Xilinx ISE.

ISE 12 installation screen - you HAVE to enable Webtalk!


For those not familiar with Xilinx software, Webpack is the free of charge license of their design tools, that supports a limited range of devices. The Webtalk “feature” phones home every time you generate a programming file for their devices, and previous versions of ISE asked you whether you wanted to send Xilinx information about your design. What is new in version 12 is that Webpack users are forced to enable Webtalk, and even users of the paid version will have information about their designs sent to Xilinx should they use a device included in the Webpack license!

Fortunately, there is a simple and expedient solution to this problem. As it turns out, the Xilinx software people prefer to spend time trying to invade their customers’ privacy instead of making their tools easy to install (i.e. by providing packages for Linux distributions). Thus, ISE comes with its own version of the cURL library, that is used for the Webpack “feature”. Therefore, cutting off ISE’s internet access and thereby solving the Webtalk problem as well as potential others is as simple as doing:
rm -f /usr/Xilinx/12.1/ISE_DS/ISE/lib/lin/libCurl_Curl.so
rm -f /usr/Xilinx/12.1/ISE_DS/common/lib/lin/libCurl_Curl.so

  1. #1 by ยท on May 11, 2010 - 1:14 am

    Naughty indeed. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I haven’t installed version 12 yet, for another reason – Xilinx didn’t publish the “what’s new” list. The threading they bragged about for the earlier update is not enabled for the devices I use, and I have to go further back to version 10 for others. Why are we supposed to update?

  2. #2 by Shaunak De on June 14, 2010 - 7:06 am

    Any Idea how to download the webpack via wget?

    I tried downloading via firefox, but somehow it stopped at 3.2GB and said that the download was done.

  3. #3 by David on December 4, 2011 - 12:50 pm

    One more reason to get rid of this proprietary, bloated FPGA toolchain crap. Hopefully this works with ISE 13.3, too?

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