[Mesa-dev] RFC - libglvnd and GLXVND vendor enumeration to facilitate GLX multi-vendor PRIME GPU offload

Kyle Brenneman kbrenneman at nvidia.com
Fri Feb 8 22:43:25 UTC 2019

On 2/8/19 2:33 PM, Andy Ritger wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 08, 2019 at 03:01:33PM -0500, Adam Jackson wrote:
>> On Fri, 2019-02-08 at 10:19 -0800, Andy Ritger wrote:
>>> (1) If configured for PRIME GPU offloading (environment variable or
>>>      application profile), client-side libglvnd could load the possible
>>>      libGLX_${vendor}.so libraries it finds, and call into each to
>>>      find which vendor (and possibly which GPU) matches the specified
>>>      string. Once a vendor is selected, the vendor library could optionally
>>>      tell the X server which GLX vendor to use server-side for this
>>>      client connection.
>> I'm not a huge fan of the "dlopen everything" approach, if it can be
>> avoided.
> Yes, I agree.
I'm pretty sure libglvnd could avoid unnecessarily loading vendor 
libraries without adding nearly so much complexity.

If libglvnd just has a list of additional vendor library names to try, 
then you could just have a flag to tell libglvnd to check some server 
string for that name before it loads the vendor. If a client-side vendor 
would need a server-side counterpart to work, then libglvnd can check 
for that. The server only needs to keep a list of names to send back, 
which would be a trivial (and backward-compatible) addition to the 
GLXVND interface.

Also, even without that, I don't think the extra dlopen calls would be a 
problem in practice. It would only ever happen in applications that are 
configured for offloading, which are (more-or-less by definition) 
heavy-weight programs, so an extra millisecond or so of startup time is 
probably fine.

>> I think I'd rather have a new enum for GLXQueryServerString
>> that elaborates on GLX_VENDOR_NAMES_EXT (perhaps GLX_VENDOR_MAP_EXT),
>> with the returned string a space-delimited list of <profile>:<vendor>.
>> libGL could accept either a profile or a vendor name in the environment
>> variable, and the profile can be either semantic like
>> performance/battery, or a hardware selector, or whatever else.
>> This would probably be a layered extension, call it GLX_EXT_libglvnd2,
>> which you'd check for in the (already per-screen) server extension
>> string before trying to actually use.
> That all sounds reasonable to me.
>>> At the other extreme, the server could do nearly all the work of
>>> generating the possible __GLX_VENDOR_LIBRARY_NAME strings (with the
>>> practical downside of each server-side GLX vendor needing to enumerate
>>> the GPUs it can drive, in order to generate the hardware-specific
>>> identifiers).
>> I don't think this downside is much of a burden? If you're registering
>> a provider other than Xorg's you're already doing it from the DDX
>> driver (I think? Are y'all doing that from your libglx instead?), and
>> when that initializes it already knows which device it's driving.
> Right.  It will be easy enough for the NVIDIA X driver + NVIDIA server-side GLX.
> Kyle and I were chatting about this, and we weren't sure whether people
> would object to doing that for the Xorg GLX provider: to create the
> hardware names, Xorg's GLX would need to enumerate all the DRM devices
> and list them all as possible <profile>:<vendor> pairs for the Xorg
> GLX-driven screens.  But, now that I look at it more closely, it looks
> like drmGetDevices2() would work well for that.
> So, if you're not concerned with that burden, I'm not.  I'll try coding
> up the Xorg GLX part of things and see how it falls into place.
That actually is one of my big concerns: I'd like to come up with 
something that can give something equivalent to Mesa's existing 
DRI_PRIME setting, and requiring that logic to be in the server seems 
like a very poor match. You'd need to take all of the device selection 
and enumeration stuff from Mesa and transplant it into the Xorg GLX 
module, and then you'd need to define some sort of protocol to get that 
data back into Mesa where you actually need it. Or else you need to 
duplicate it between the client and server, which seems like the worst 
of both worlds.

By comparison, if libglvnd just hands the problem off to the vendor 
libraries, then you could do either. A vendor library could do its 
device enumeration in the client like Mesa does, or it could send a 
request to query something from the server, using whatever protocol you 
want -- whatever makes the most sense for that particular driver.

More generally, I worry that defining a (vendor+device+descriptor) list 
as an interface between libglvnd and the server means baking in a lot of 
unnecessary assumptions and requirements for drivers that we could 
otherwise avoid without losing any functionality.

Also, is Mesa the only client-side vendor library that works with the 
Xorg GLX module? I vaguely remember that there was at least one other 
driver that did, but I don't remember the details anymore.

> Two follow-up questions:
> (1) Even when direct-rendering, NVIDIA's OpenGL/GLX implementation sends
>      GLX protocol (MakeCurrent, etc).  So, we'd like something client-side
>      to be able to request that server-side GLXVND route GLX protocol for the
>      calling client connection to a specific vendor (on a per-screen basis).
>      Do you think it would be reasonable for GLX_EXT_libglvnd2 to define a
>      new protocol request, that client-side libglvnd uses, and sends either
>      the profile or vendor name from the selected '<profile>:<vendor>'?
> (2) Who should decide which vendor/gpu gets the semantic name
>      "performance" or "battery"?  They are relative, so I don't know that
>      vendors can decide for themselves in isolation.  It kind of feels
>      like it should be GLXVND's job, but I don't know that it has enough
>      context to infer.  I'm curious if anyone else has ideas.
Ultimately, I think this should be up to the user. If you've got a 
system with two high-power GPU's, then both of them would have a 
reasonable claim for "performance," but a user ought to be able to 
designate one or the other.

> Thanks,
> - Andy
>> - ajax

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