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PathScale Open-Sources The EKOPath 4 Compiler Suite

Michael Larabel

Published on 13 June 2011
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 4 - 234 Comments

Within the free software world, GCC has long been the dominant compiler with it being backed by the Free Software Foundation, it being the most well developed free compiler suite, and is a feature rich offering that is put out under the GNU GPLv3. As of late, LLVM has also been hitting the nail on the head. The Low-Level Virtual Machine with its C/C++ Clang compiler front-end offers great performance, is successful in building code-bases like the Linux kernel, its modular design allows the compiler infrastructure to be used in areas like graphics drivers, is under a BSD-style license, and carries numerous other advantages. Other open-source compilers have advanced too, including the release of PCC 1.0. Now there is a new and extremely interesting option to shake the open-source compiler world: PathScale is freely releasing the source to the EKOPath 4 Compiler Suite. EKOPath 4 is a high-performance compiler that up until now has been proprietary and costs nearly $2000 USD per license, but now it's open-source and can sharply outperform GCC in many computationally-intense workloads.

[Editor's Note: At the time of reading this, the PathScale press release should be available on their web-site and/or PRNewsWire. The source and a convenient binary file should also be available from PathScale's site. After several delays, I haven't been told what time the release is expected to take place, but it should be today. Regardless, see the notes at the bottom of this page, as most Phoronix readers by now have figured out that EKOPath 4 is being open-sourced and the news is also beginning to leak out elsewhere, hence now moving forward with this Phoronix article.]

PathScale is announcing that they are open-sourcing their EKOPath 4 Compiler Suite. For those not familiar, EKOPath is a high-performance Intel 64 / AMD64 compiler for C99, C++ 2003, and partial support for Fortran 2003. Up to this point in development, PathScale's compiler has been proprietary and has carried a rather high price-tag with the licensing starting out at $1795 USD and going up from there. Of course, that's a small price to a large organization seeking to build their software for maximum performance, but is out of the price range for nearly any independent enthusiast or non-commercially-backed free software project. This code compiler is especially popular in super-computing environments. The open-source EKOPath 4 will be available to Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris users free of charge. PathScale will also continue to offer commercial support for this compiler suite.

EKOPath 4 carries full support for the SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, SSE4A, and AVX instruction sets. The run-time is GNU compatible and with the GCC tool-chain, provides optimized C/C++ debugging, excellent multi-core support, provides the PathDB debugger, a PathAS assembler, and supports OpenMP 2.5. The PathDB debugger was previously open-sourced and ported to FreeBSD on GitHub as the Path64 debugger.

Notes: Before continuing, yes, the open-sourcing of EKOPath 4 is what in recent days on Phoronix has been codenamed Dirndl as the results have been very impressive. Some Phoronix readers were sharp to figure it out within the forums and those following me on Twitter. Originally this open-source announcement was to happen two weeks ago, but since then there have been multiple delays for various reasons.

While some Phoronix readers figured out EKOPath 4 was being open-sourced in advance, in some development circles this was already known for a number of days. Three weeks ago, Christopher Bergström (PathScale's CTO), wrote to the Illumos development list and publicly dropped the EKOPath 4.0.10 binary and said "There will be a more broad and related announcement next week, but PathScale promises to continue providing EKOPath 4 as a free download for Solaris and family." On the Illumos IRC that day, the free EKOPath was again brought up. On a related note, back in April news broke that PathScale was working to develop a "CUDA killer" for the GPU. Back then it was promised it would be open-source and freely licensed.

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