What's the state of PS3 Linux Cell development?

Discussion in 'CellPerformance@B3D' started by Shifty Geezer, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Some while back it was mentioned, when Mike Acton asked what was wanted, about a program framework of something similar that would relieve Cell developers of the mundane housework and give them a simple engine to run algorithms, giving them room to play. There have also been a couple of B3D threads on PS3 Linux. All in all though, I've heard very little about actually PS3 optimized programs. The only Cell related optimizations seem to come from the high-performance Cell-blade sector. Considering homebrew on PS3 is there to encourage Cell development and create expertise, I'd hope there was a busy section of interested parties experimenting.

    So, what's the situation with Cell development on PS3? Are there any algorithms/applications nicely optimized, with Linux program whizzing along? Is any doing image processing or audio engineering on Cell? Or optimizing engines for inclusion into other apps, such as Cell accelerated GIMP? Are there any simple tools/engines to get an interested party up and running? Have any vector graphics libraries been optimized for Cell? Is anyone even trying? eg. Has Adobe got any interest in porting Flash to Cell, where it ought to run supremely fast? Or is all Cell development confined to particular algorithms used in games and HPC, and PS3 Linux is something of a no show at the moment?
     
  2. OzzyBC42

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  3. patsu

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    I haven't heard much on PS3 specific Linux development (since the SIXAXIS robot and PS3 Bootloader). It seems that people are still working on it (e.g., http://lists.mplayerhq.hu/pipermail/ffmpeg-devel/2007-May/028866.html).

    There is also a continuous stream of information from the scientific and business community:

    Recent material I found include:

    * March 2007: GRID superscalar: from the Grid to the Cell processor: Parallal programming model ported to Cell...
    http://webrt.ciemat.es:8000/docs/e-science/Perez.pdf

    * June 2007: An Open Source Environment for Cell Broadband Engine System Software : Yet another overview... (I think)
    http://csdl2.computer.org/persagen/.../co/2007/06/r6toc.xml&DOI=10.1109/MC.2007.192

    This one I missed last time:

    * Technology Enables More Reliable, Less Expensive Oil Exploration In Gulf of Mexico:
    http://www.cell-processor.net/news.php?extend.54

    EDIT:
    Applaud at OzzyBC42's post.
     
    #3 patsu, Jul 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2007
  4. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    I really should install Linux on my PS3 sometime. It'd be awesome to play around with the Cell a little, even if I'll never be able to do something incredibly fancy. Just fun to see if I can get something going at all. I've really just let all my time slip away playing with the damn thing ... ;) (not that much time either, I finished Super Rub-a-Duck, and last Friday Resistance SP, and now I'm working through the Stardust planets).

    I'd love to try and get something going though! Thanks for sharing that, Ozzy.
     
  5. inefficient

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    running 'yum update' right now!
     
  6. ebola

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    Does anything like this exist ? :- To port existing code we'd created a load of templated wrapped pointers & iterators to abstract dma-ing to LS and stepping through data*; and at the top level something like a 'PAR_ForEach'... with a few defines to map the glue for loop bodies compiled on SPU/or SMP threads. I'd posted some questions about this on the ibm forums.

    It was done from the point of view of crossplatform development; i.e. running one code path between generic SMP and SPU's. I had the option of emulating LS on the 360 for ease of debugging. So next time round we just have a load of templates people can map to and it makes an SPU port a lot easier.

    I imagine most game developpers would have had to do something similar, and it would be in sti's interest to just give out such code...

    Setting it all up was great fun but if it existed externally, all documented etc it would be easier to get coders to use it. (and to lose their fear of this great processor)

    Another thing I was working through/looking for was emulation of SPU intrinsics on other platforms.. (and vica versa) to help writing helpers for branchless code. (Gets easier with SSE4.)

    Unfortunately I can't spend as much time on pure SPU optimized cases as id' like - but i'm finding a lot of common ground is possible between what I'd describe as 'cutting edge' 360 code & spu code.
     
    #6 ebola, Jul 9, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2007
  7. I.S.T.

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    Question: how well would sometihng like Open Office perform on a PS3? My mother is tihnking of getting one and installing Linux on it instead of messing around with PCs. She's a writer, and needs something like Open Office to do her work.
     
  8. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    That's more a question for a PS3 Linux thread.

    As for PS3 Linux Cell developments, the G3D sounds like a useful tool, but I'm utterly confused as to what it is! Is it an engine for OGL or other libraries, somehow? From the sounds of it, it's not a graphics lib in and of itself. What's the Cell variant going to provide?
     
  9. Carl B

    Carl B Friends call me xbd
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    Open Office comes pre-installed with most every present version of PS3 compatible Linux distros. It works fine, so for emailing docs and other basic purposes, you'd be good to go. Remember that as a PC replacement, the PS3 does suffer from some minor limitations, and you'll have to make pains to make sure that any peripherals are USB and supported.

    Shifty's right though, general usability questions of that nature aren't the thrust of the thread.
     
  10. Mike Acton

    Mike Acton CellPerformance
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    spu2vmx, si2vmx

    There are spu to vmx (altivec) wrappers available. Called spu2vmx.h and si2vmx.h -- both part of the standard IBM install. These can be helpful to test our your spu code logic on the PPU (or on any PowerPC with Altivec support), if that's easier for you.

    I know quite a lot of people have written spu to c-scalar code wrappers as well, but I haven't seen any out in the wild.

    Mike.
     
  11. Mike Acton

    Mike Acton CellPerformance
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    Flash on anything other than x86?

    Flash still hasn't got proper PowerPC support - so I don't expect that Cell is high on their priority list.
     
  12. ADEX

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    I've got a wave shaper working on an SPE. A single SPE can do > 300 million samples per second with 42 instructions in the loop. That's 30X faster than the standard PPE version (scalar, non-unrolled).

    The PPE AltiVec version is currently getting scores very close to the SPE. I've only just got it running so I may be able to change that. I suspect changing to HPFS will produce a difference.
     
  13. patsu

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    It's over a year since this post.

    Someone posted an update on the cbe-oss-dev mailing list: http://ozlabs.org/pipermail/cbe-oss-dev/2008-August/005406.html

    http://ozlabs.org/pipermail/cbe-oss-dev/2008-August/005407.html :
     
  14. erwincoumans

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    Yes, for example the Bullet physics library emulates LS and Fake DMA transfers to create portable SPU tasks. Apart from the SPURS version, which is only available for PS3 developers from PS3 Devnet, all source code is available under the Zlib license, free for commercial use from http://bullet.googlecode.com

    [​IMG]


    It seems a good compromise with reasonable performance on non-SPU platforms and it is easier to maintain than a fork/rewrite for each platform.
     
  15. patsu

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    YDL 6.2 released

    http://us.fixstars.com/news/2009/2009-06-29.shtml

     
  16. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Can this be booted off a thumbstick on PS3? Would provide an easier option to try it out.
     
  17. patsu

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    Should be able to. There was an Ubuntu distro that did it that way.
     
  18. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    Sounds pretty great. If someone manages to boot this off a thumbstick or something similar let me know, I want to try it as well.
     
  19. patsu

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  20. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    If I hadn't been working with Linux on my new PC so much these days, I would probably forget about it. In fact I was thinking about installing Ubuntu 9.04 on my PS3, and then realised that YellowDog 6.2 should be out now for the public and come with the CellSDK, PS3VRAM and all that pre-installed. So now I'm downloading that. Anyone else going to try this / has tried this already?

    I'm not sure yet how I'm going to install this - installing it on my external drive could be good, because then I could basically compare different Linux installs from there much more easily, but I may stick to just using this one, we'll see, and then try that remote session option that I've heard others about.
     

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