@Folknology Several points came up from last night's discussion on the Amalgam board - the new ECP5 board with the Blackedge connector.
The main issues seem to be Wifi, USB and an RTC with battery back-up.
It is my experience with the Ulx3s ECP5 board which drives my views on this. I have implemented 30 or more significant projects on the Ulx3s board (see https://github.com/lawrie/ulx3s_bit_streams) and I would like to see those, and more, working on the Amalgam board.
I have also been involved in getting SaxonSoc Linux using all the hardware on the Ulx3s, and I would like to see it run at least as well on the Amalgam board.
I like the proposed change to use micropython or circuitpython on the host microcontroller, as that makes it much easier to program and would make it much easier to port stuff from the Ulx3s.
One concern I have is usb and uart connections.
If the main usb connection goes to the STM32 running micropython or circuitpython, will it be possible for it to pass data through to the fpga uart like the icecore software does? If not how will we get a uart connection to the fpga?
With circuitpython there are multiple usb endpoints including a serial one and a disk drive. The ideal configuration would be to add another endpoint for the uart to the fpga, so you could talk to both the microcontroller and the fpga uart from the PC host at the same time.
An alternative might be to use the second usb connector to connect to the fpga uart and leave the first one dedicated to the STM32.
But the second usb connector is also needed for usb and ps/2 connections to the fpga, where the fpga is the host. If the second usb connector was not available for this, then using full-size usb host connectors on a carrier board would be an alternative.