After the rather unsuccessful introduction of hard IP processors in the FPGA devices few year back, the soft processors are becoming more and more popular. Much more flexible, they have been adopted by major FPGA vendors like Altera  and Xilinx . They allow even the smallest parts to include the flexibility of software development. Other soft or hard IPs have become indispensable in FPGA fabric. For powerful CoDesign platforms that require the best of the FPGA logic and the power of large deticated single or mutli core processors, high speed communication links like PCI Express, SerialIO etc.. have become the indispensable channels to transfer data from processor to FPGA and vice versa. Soft processors might just be a transition to something even more flexible, but until then, they can turn out very usefull in many projects.
There is around the web several iniatives to run eCos RTOS on Altera Nios II processor, eCosCentric, or the public project from Zylin:
- git clone git://repo.or.cz/nios2ecos.git