[Mesa-dev] [RFC] Linux Graphics Next: Explicit fences everywhere and no BO fences - initial proposal

Jason Ekstrand jason at jlekstrand.net
Tue Apr 27 19:41:41 UTC 2021

Trying to figure out which e-mail in this mess is the right one to reply to....

On Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 12:31 PM Lucas Stach <l.stach at pengutronix.de> wrote:
> Hi,
> Am Dienstag, dem 27.04.2021 um 09:26 -0400 schrieb Marek Olšák:
> > Ok. So that would only make the following use cases broken for now:
> > - amd render -> external gpu

Assuming said external GPU doesn't support memory fences.  If we do
amdgpu and i915 at the same time, that covers basically most of the
external GPU use-cases.  Of course, we'd want to convert nouveau as
well for the rest.

> > - amd video encode -> network device
> FWIW, "only" breaking amd render -> external gpu will make us pretty
> unhappy, as we have some cases where we are combining an AMD APU with a
> FPGA based graphics card. I can't go into the specifics of this use-
> case too much but basically the AMD graphics is rendering content that
> gets composited on top of a live video pipeline running through the

I think it's worth taking a step back and asking what's being here
before we freak out too much.  If we do go this route, it doesn't mean
that your FPGA use-case can't work, it just means it won't work
out-of-the box anymore.  You'll have to separate execution and memory
dependencies inside your FPGA driver.  That's still not great but it's
not as bad as you maybe made it sound.

> > What about the case when we get a buffer from an external device and
> > we're supposed to make it "busy" when we are using it, and the
> > external device wants to wait until we stop using it? Is it something
> > that can happen, thus turning "external -> amd" into "external <->
> > amd"?
> Zero-copy texture sampling from a video input certainly appreciates
> this very much. Trying to pass the render fence through the various
> layers of userspace to be able to tell when the video input can reuse a
> buffer is a great experience in yak shaving. Allowing the video input
> to reuse the buffer as soon as the read dma_fence from the GPU is
> signaled is much more straight forward.

Oh, it's definitely worse than that.  Every window system interaction
is bi-directional.  The X server has to wait on the client before
compositing from it and the client has to wait on X before re-using
that back-buffer.  Of course, we can break that later dependency by
doing a full CPU wait but that's going to mean either more latency or
reserving more back buffers.  There's no good clean way to claim that
any of this is one-directional.


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