Xilinx WebTalk


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(this post has nothing to do with Papilio. Papilio is great)


I dislike WebTalk. Real or imaginary, it seems evil.


So, I was thinking of using Ubuntu's wubi to create a little Linux partition. Should Xilinx ISE work OK there compared to a Windows 7 environment (maybe Ubuntu 12.04 or 14.04)? It will probably have around 20 gigs of free space.


I read that you can thwart webtalk under Linux. Don't know if that is fair. But I don't want stuff mucking around in the background taking notes and pictures and sending a lump off to someone for something.


And really Mr. Xilinx this medieval thinking is "all good" on the way up, but what if you need people on the way down, or when we have a little more choice? I suppose the MCU market is very different than FPGA realated stuff, but there are a lot more high quality free toolsuites for MCU development nowadays. 


And another thing .... the basic idea of free dev tools is that we the developers, free of charge, will be more inclinded to spec Xilinx chips in our design when we use a spyware_and_$ free develeopment tool from a friendly company.


Do you really learn that much from a bunch of students who are learning FPGA? Hmm. Can't imagine it would be about design, but anyway. And if you see a need for free anything, why stuff webtalk in there? Tell the bean counters you are thinking long term, like a champion.


BTW the chips are truely amazing & I think some appreciate that Xilinx is at least informing us about webtalk.


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On the whole I think WebTalk is a good idea. It allows XIlinx to see what people are doing without being too intrusive, allowing them to tune their product offerings to the market demands.


I hope it influences decissions about End-of-life for parts (e.g. keep Spartan 3E supported for longer), and hopefully the balance of resources in new chips - If most designs use 80% of block RAM and 20% of logic then put more BRAM on the next generation, allowing most users to use a 'smaller' at higher utilisation).


I sort of think of it as being our side of the "We will let you use our tools for free, but in return we would like some feedback on how they work for you" arrangement.


If you have a look at the "Secondary Reports" in the Design summay you can see the Webtalk data - sort of interesting stuff like 

  • How many time the tools have crashed
  • What chip you are using
  • The count of what on-chip resources you are using
  • What CPU & OS is being used

None of that stuff seems too troublesome to me... but that is just me - you might view it differently!

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The stuff you reported isn't too bothersome to me either.

Hopefully it is restrained to do just what we think it does. We hear about intrusions and security breaches so much that our guard is up against any intrusion or snooping, I think.

It chaps me that users can only walk away or report.

Then since people do typically react against this mode, does it really help Xilinx? Technically - ok, but for goodwill? It seems like no. However, perhaps they are gracious compared to other rival vendors. I need to learn more to better formulate my opinions on this.

BTW, thank you for your helpful and available book.

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>> It chaps me that users can only walk away or report.


What? You can buy a regular license, then you're able to turn it off. You can disconnect your computer from the internet, then it won't report.

This is very clearly communicated during installation. The latter makes it a mere inconvenience, if privacy is important to you.


>> I think some appreciate that Xilinx is at least informing us about webtalk

I don't like what I read between the lines here. Remember, you entered an agreement when you installed the software, voluntarily and of your own initiative. Nobody forced you.

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Regarding buying a license .... huh? The discussion was in the context of webtalk and webpack. So how much is a license to make webtalk go away? Isn't it a bit much? Maybe not, but if it is too high then it is not practical for casual users.


I suppose you could make sure the computer was not connected to the internet, but that seems akward, at least.


When I started the post I had not agreed to anything. What do you see between the lines?

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joki: I think you might be over-stressing regarding webtalk. The information that's being sent to Xilinx does not seem to invade anyone's privacy.


I do now know your system, but even Debian (which is quite serious about openness and privacy) has a package called "popularity-contest" which publishes your installed package list upstream so that they know which packages are being used, but more important, the ones that are not. This can help them decide whether to deprecate an not-so-used package is a good move or not.


If you're using Windows, then know that Microsoft was more knowledge of you than Xilinx will ever have.


If you're so pissed about xilinx, figure out where it sends its data, and block it using your firewall of choice.


I'm pretty happy about WebTalk, and Xilinx in general.

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