LinuxDNA Supercharges Linux with the Intel C/C++ Compiler
Exciting news from the LinuxDNA project, which earlier this month successfully compiled a recent Linux kernel with the Intel C/C++ compiler (ICC). This is not just a compile without errors, this is — for the most part — a fully bootable, compatible Linux kernel that can boot into a full Linux system. The full system is based on Gentoo Linux, and utilizes kernel version 2.6.22.
The project's goal is to be able to maintain an Intel-compiler-compatible kernel source along side the current kernel. A few remaining issues that need to be resolved before moving to 2.6.23 and beyond are under investigation.
One might ask: Why compile the kernel with something besides gcc?
The answer: Performance.
Earlier work at compiling the Linux kernel with ICC found that ICC provided up to a 40% boost in performance. Ingo A. Kubblin, a German developer that worked on the original ICC porting project in 2004, gave the following quote:
This early work was based on version 8 of ICC; current efforts are using versions 10.1 and 11.
The Intel compiler often produces faster code as the result of two major optimizations: IPO (Inter Procedural Optimization) and PGO (Profile Guided Optimization). IPO is a heuristics based optimization mechanism, while PGO uses several code stages, first to build code with special modifications that analyse code use, and then a recompile of the code for better execution based on that usage. As PGO is based on usage patterns, it can custom design an optimized kernel for a specific purpose: HPC, DCC, gaming, servers, etc. Although, PGO is also available in gcc, ICC is generally regarded as producing a superior result.
Among the contributors to LinuxDNA are:
- LuYi Cheng: A Chinese kernel hacker responsible for the code becoming fully operational.
- Feilong H: An Intel employee who laid the groundwork for needed patching.
- An unnamed kernel hacker at Broadcom who contributed advice and technical assistance.
- Claude Tyler McAdams: Hacker & spokesperson.
Currently, closed source drivers will not install out of the box, though the developers believed this issue should be easily fixable.
LinuxDNA is an Open Source project that aims to bring a compatible, current kernel source to the high-performance Intel Linux compiler.
Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Rogue Wave Software's Zend Server
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script