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  1. The compiler is optimizing printf("hello worldn") to puts("hello world"). Without the n, it can't use puts, so it has to pull in the whole printf() implementation. Depending on the libc you're using, printf can be rather large, particularly as it often pulls in large chunks of floating-point code (for %f). You may want to consider using a purpose-built printf() implementation that leaves out unnecessary features.
  2. This behavior is normal — since the I/O pins connected to the seven-segment display are not used by your design, they are all being weakly pulled down by default. You can fix this by changing the default state of unused pins to floating. Open the process properties for "Generate Programming File", and set "-g UnusedPin" (under the "Configuration" section) to "Float".
  3. Nearly. J8 controls which of the memories is used at startup, but it doesn't control which one is programmed. To write a bitstream to either of the flash devices on board, switch to the "Memory" tab of Digilent Adept, select "SPI flash" or "BPI flash" as appropriate, and program your .bit file to that device. Once these devices are programmed, the FPGA will boot from them when J8 is set appropriately. Note that CellularRAM (as well as the "RAM" option under the "Memory" tab) is a red herring! CellularRAM is not used in the FPGA configuration process, and is not the same as the memory used
  4. I've already got the Xilinx toolchain working on a remote machine. I just want some way to program the board hooked up to my laptop without the overhead of a virtual machine just for the Adept tools.
  5. Let's say I have a .bit file on my Mac, and I've got a Nexys 2 plugged into a USB port. As far as I know, Adept isn't available for OS X. What, if any, are my options for programming the board? Is there any documentation available for interfacing with the USB-FX2 controller it uses? (If it comes down to it, I'm comfortable putting something together with libusb.) (Yes, I'm perfectly aware that the Xilinx tools don't run on Mac OS X. And no, I'd prefer to not use a virtual machine. I have my reasons.)