GHDL Back in Debian

As I have noted, I have been working on packaging the VHDL simulator GHDL for Debian after it has dropped out of the archive for a few years. This work has been on slow burner for a while and last week I used some time at DebConf 18 to finally push this to completion and upload it. ftpmasters were also working fast, so yesterday the package got accepted and is now available from Debian unstable.

The package you get supports up to VHDL-93, which is entirely down to VHDL library issues. The libraries published by IEEE along with the VHDL standard are not free enough to be suitable for Debian main. Instead, the package uses the openieee libraries developed as part of GHDL, which are GPL’ed from-scratch implementations of the libraries required by the VHDL standard. Currently these only implement VHDL-89 and VHDL-93, hence the limitation.

I intend to package the IEEE libraries in a separate package that will go into non-free. The new license under which the libraries are distributed is frustratingly close to free except in the case of modifications, where only specific changes are allowed. No foreseeable problems for the non-free section though. This package should integrate itself into the GHDL package installations, so installing it will make the GHDL packages support VHDL-2008 — at least as far as GHDL itself supports VHDL-2008.

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