With the recently released AMD A10-7800 Kaveri APU I carried out some new benchmarks comparing the open and closed-source Linux GPU driver performance for AMD with their Catalyst and RadeonSI Gallium3D solutions. When running the open-source Ubuntu driver tests, multiple versions of Mesa and the Linux kernel were used.
While the OpenGL 4.5 specification is fresh off the press and we haven't even seen the Khronos SIGGRAPH announcement yet, NVIDIA has already made public their OpenGL 4.5 beta drivers for Linux and Windows.
The NVIDIA 340.23.01 Linux driver is available today and provides beta support for OpenGL 4.5 and the OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) 4.50 versions. For tapping all of the potential of OpenGL 4.5, a Fermi, Kepler, or Maxwell GPU is needed. This is conveniently the GeForce 400 series and newer, which is only what's supported now after NVIDIA dropped pre-Fermi support from their mainline Linux driver.
Khronos announced a call for participation in a next-generation OpenGL initiative. The announcement reads, "Khronos announced a call for participation today in a project to define a future open standard for high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs. Key directions for the new ground-up design include explicit application control over GPU and CPU workloads for performance and predictability, a multithreading-friendly API with greatly reduced overhead, a common shader program intermediate language, and a strengthened ecosystem focus that includes rigorous conformance testing. Fast-paced work on detailed proposals and designs are already underway, and any company interested to participate is strongly encouraged to join Khronos for a voice and a vote in the development process."
Being merged into the mainline kernel code-base for Linux 3.17 was the big DRM feature pull that included enhancements to the Intel and AMD Radeon graphics drivers (among the other smaller DRM/KMS drivers), but missing from action was the open-source NVIDIA driver. The Nouveau driver changes were delayed by some last-minute bug-hunting but now a separate pull request was issued to land the Nouveau driver updates for Linux 3.17.
Wednesday is the day we've been waiting for when hopefully the lid will be lifted on OpenGL 5 by the Khronos Group.
On 13 August is when the Khronos Group will be announced the next-generation OpenGL at SIGGRAPH in Vancouver. Given that it's going to be going head-to-head with DirectX 12, AMD's Mantle API, and to some extent Apple's Metal, we (and others) assume this is most likely where they're going to make the jump to OpenGL 5.0 rather than OpenGL 4.5 for the next-gen functionality.
Linux 3.17-rc1 is still about one week away at least, but already two commits of new functionality were reverted from the Intel DRM driver code for Linux 3.17.
The first revert yesterday to the Linux Git code was in regards to semaphores support for Broadwell. Semaphores support for Broadwell -- a performance-boosting feature -- was part of Intel's big set of changes for this kernel merge window. The DRM pull was just sent in a few days ago but Intel developers decided to end up disabling the semaphores support in a drm-intel-fixes pull request they already submitted to Linus Torvalds.
While we're still waiting until around the end of the year to see Broadwell processors, Intel's Open-Source Technology Center is already prepping Linux graphics driver code to begin pushing Skylake support into their driver stack.
Skylake is the successor to Broadwell that's expected to be out in late 2015 but could slip into 2016. Skylake is expected to be more of a SoC design layout with the PCH integrated onto the die and will be launched in conjunctiuon with the Intel 100 Series "Sunrise Point" chipsets. Broadwell is expected to significantly boost the graphics capabilities over Haswell while Skylake will take the performance even further.