You are provided with accounts on the CSIL machines with access to the Synopsis implementation of VHDL. This is the implementation your assignments will be marked with, so you need to make sure your code works with it.
That being said, you may want to use other VHDL implementations that will run on your own computer. We won't provide technical support for these; you're on your own. If anyone would like to write up some quick instructions (especially if there are tricks to getting these to work), I'd be happy to post them here.
- The CDs that come with your textbook includes the Xilinx software, which says "VHDL and Verilog Synthesis tools included". Presumably, that means there are VHDL synthesis tools included.
- Altera offers a free license for the student edition of MAX+PLUS II. You have to request a license from their web site.
- Symphony EDA has a download of their VHDL Simili software. It's command-line only, but you can also download Visibly which can view the outputted waveforms. There are also some other GUI tools in their contrib section.
- There is a GPL implementation called GHDL. I have not had a chance to experiment with it.
Again, if anyone want to write up instruction (or even finds a link to some), please send them to Greg and they will be included here.