Playing With Intel Skylake OpenCL On Ubuntu 15.10

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 28 November 2015 at 12:18 AM EST. 3 Comments
As it's been a while since last playing with Intel's Beignet project, the open-source effort to allow OpenCL compute capabilities on HD/Iris Graphics under Linux, I decided to try it out on an Ubuntu 15.10 system this weekend with a Skylake processor.

Ubuntu Linux still sadly doesn't ship with any open-source OpenCL support enabled by default, but beignet and clinfo (for showing OpenCL adapters on a system, similar to glxinfo) are available via Ubuntu's universe archive. Another sad part of Ubuntu's OpenCL story right now is that it doesn't ship POCL for running OpenCL on CPUs (such as in a fallback or development scenario). POCL was in Ubuntu Vivid but out of date, not in Ubuntu Wily, and for Ubuntu Xenial it's currently sitting in the proposed archive.

When installing Beignet on Ubuntu 15.10, it ended up being Beignet 1.0... Beignet 1.1 was released in July with Skylake support, SPIR handling, and support for other new features. Sadly, Ubuntu 15.10 doesn't have Beignet 1.1 available.

I ended up downloading the Beignet 1.1.1 packages from the updated version currently packaged for Ubuntu Xenial. The Beignet 1.1.1 packages from Xenial were working fine on Ubuntu Wily Werewolf. Beignet 1.1.x exposes OpenCL 1.2 support while there's a Git branch where Beignet has been slowly working toward OpenCL 2.0 support.

Once switching over to Beignet 1.1 rather than 1.0, Skylake open-source OpenCL 1.2 support was working for me on a Pentium G4400 box as well as a Core i5 6600K system. The next article in this series will feature some Skylake OpenCL benchmark results with Beignet.

Hopefully in 2016 we'll see the overall open-source OpenCL platform situation improve for Beignet, POCL, and Gallium3D Clover -- and ideally to see more Linux distributions shipping these components or making them more readily available to developers for leveraging open-source GPGPU computing.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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