HSA on Linux

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2014 - 11:36 AM |
Tagged: linux, hsa, amd, open source

Open source HSA has arrived for the Linux kernel with a newly released set of patches which will allow Sea Islands and newer GPUs to share hardware resources.   These patches are both for a sample driver for any HSA-compatible hardware and the river for Radeon GPUs.  As the debut of the Linux 3.16 kernel is so close you shouldn't expect to see these patches included until 3.17 which should be released in the not too distant future.  Phoronix and Linux users everywhere give a big shout of thanks to AMD's John Bridgman for his work on this project.

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"AMD has just published a massive patch-set for the Linux kernel that finally implements a HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) in open-source. The set of 83 patches implement a Linux HSA driver for Radeon family GPUs and serves too as a sample driver for other HSA-compatible devices. This big driver in part is what well known Phoronix contributor John Bridgman has been working on at AMD."

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Source: Phoronix
July 11, 2014 | 04:03 PM - Posted by Alamo

this is really exciting, ONLY IF, software developers take linux and HSA as a fresh start for new creations for steamos or linux, this could really help give an alternative from windows.
imaggine console like OS for gaming coupled with HSA, resources would be so well managed and efficiently used, the gain would be huge.
interesting times ahead, if only soft devs take this seriously...

July 11, 2014 | 09:42 PM - Posted by fade2blac

Indeed...IFF (the logical/mathematical IFF)

This makes me hopeful, but guarded. It could have great implications. Lately some big players have stepped up to contribute works such as this (and recently millions of dollars for open source projects). Is enough momentum building among developers to challenge the status quo and break down remaining barriers?

The Linux community in general has been evolving their projects into more and more friendly/capable products for decades. As a result Linux has some pretty broad appeal and lurks beneath the surface more than the average person probably realizes. With SteamOS, Valve has provided a beacon of sorts that seems to be finally drawing Linux and PC gaming closer together. If open standards like HSA, OpenGL, OpenCL, HTML5, etc. are cross-platform then are these "bridges" enough? Can more be done to reduce the baggage and barriers for everyone?

Devs are unhappy with DirectX and OpenGL (legacy baggage, high overhead, slow to evolve, duplicates effort across API's, mixed support/performance across hardware vendors)

PC gaming on Windows is heavily biased towards Direct X and Microsoft further fragmented the PC market by tying API versions to its OS iterations (WinXP/DX9, Vista/DX10, Win7&8.x/DX11).

PC gaming on other platforms seems to be a mix of OpenGL and things like Flash, HTML5, or some sort of Java, etc.

Cue the low-level API revolution

Imaginary happy little world time...
1. AMD publishes Mantle and also makes it a reality for Linux
2. Intel now sees Mantle as a worthwhile "experiment" and provides support
3. nVidia still isn't motivated to join the party and waits for DX12 to quell the uprising
4. Devs meanwhile have a cross-platform low-level API to use with support by 2 out of 3 main GPU manufacturers
5. Mantle games can now be quickly ported between SteamOS and Windows
6. More devs decide to try Mantle and then "OpenFX" or w/e becomes a reality for shared libraries and optimizations
7. HSA and Mantle somehow collide and OpenCL type tasks can be similarly optimized which feeds back into "OpenFX"
8. AAA games start to ship with Linux/SteamOS support via Mantle
9. Somewhere along the way DP Adaptive Sync actually happens and 60+ FPS becomes less important (unless you're gaming on your 60" TV that doesn't support variable refresh /sigh)
10. Intel eventually gets around to creating a Havok physics library as part of this Mantle "experiment"
11. nVidia is not impressed and is busy integrating ARM cores into their GPU's to do arguably nifty (but proprietary) things
12. DX12 finally arrives, but only on Win9 meanwhile Mantle has become the "Direct X" of Linux
13. Devs and Linux users beg nVidia to implement Mantle
14. nVidia sees PhysX, GSync, ShadowPlay, GameStream, Cuda, Gameworks have become exclusive in name only and releases the Mantle drivers that they have had all along
15. PC gaming experiences a true renaissance
16. Shield becomes a WiiU-like controller for SteamOS but it somehow actually makes sense and...everyone lives happily ever after?

July 11, 2014 | 06:38 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There is something creeping in the shadows, the trees stand still. Yet a calm wind is blowing just enough so that you couldn't hear anything beyond the bushes...

Its getting dark. Its one of those snow-less winter days.
You would hear your own breath and you would feel every drop of sweat rolling down your skin. Cold sweat. Because you need to fix your scarf... but you shouldn't, you wouldn't want to disturb the silence...

Windows was never heard from again. None could find a trace of it, yet everyone could feel it in the air - it was very afraid in its last moments.

July 12, 2014 | 03:05 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I just wnt all games supported on Linux and i will ditch windows and D3D :)

July 12, 2014 | 08:06 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

So long windows, no more having to pay for a Pro Upgrade license, just to get the ability to backup to a network attached storage device, or the window's restriction of being not able to stripe some cheep thumb drives for faster transfers(Linux allows striping thumb drives). So long crappy every other windows release, and the UBER crappy TIFKAM UI. So long being forced to use only the discrete GPU while the integrated GPU is turned off, and useless for computation, or graphics. The very definition of HSA and HSA aware OSs, is to utilize all of the devices computational resources, CPUs and GPUs, to be available for use, ALL of the time! With HSA aware Linux OS distros, expect home servers with the ability to wirelessly and asymmetrically Multiprocess across all of the connected devices, be they laptops, tablets, or phones, for game streaming and computing workloads run on the server, and running, on the Fly, games and general purpose workloads that would not be able to be run on just the mobile devices by themselves. With Linux, the home server computing/gaming cluster will become the norm, with homes having a blade server type of system the can be upgraded with more processing/GPU power, plug and play style, with every member of the house remoting into their on desktop on the server, a desktop run from the device, and able to compute/game across the connected devices themselves, as well as the home computing cluster/server, when more computing/gaming ability is needed, with seamless automatic HSA load balancing between all connected device's CPUs/SOCs.

So Long M$, do let the door hit you on the way out and knock you into the street, right in the path of an overloaded double bottom simi, going way over the speed limit.

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