SUSE Linux Enterprise / openSUSE Leap Pursuing x86_64-v2 Optimized Libraries
Written by Michael Larabel in SUSE on 16 June 2021 at 05:11 AM EDT. 14 Comments
SUSE --
In addition to the rolling-release openSUSE Tumbleweed looking at HWCAPS / x86-64 feature levels for being able to provide greater out-of-the-box performance by selectively loading more tuned libraries depending upon the CPU in use, SUSE Linux Enterprise / openSUSE Leap are also looking at offering similar functionality that may turn up in time for the next point release / service pack.

On the table for openSUSE Leap 15.4 / SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP4 is offering x86_64-v2 enabled libraries of important base system packages. The developers admit though that this might not all come to pass until the second update from now, Leap 15.5 / SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP5, given the work at hand.

The latest GCC and Clang releases both support the notion of x86-64 micro-architecture feature levels and Glibc 2.33 added the HWCAPS bits for at run-time being able to dynamically load more optimized libraries for the given CPU being used where there is such library/libraries present on the system. This work can allow for Linux distributions to provide more optimized packages that would allow making use of AVX and other newer instruction set extensions without raising the base requirement for all users.

Various Linux distributions have been looking at making use of HWCAPS / x86-64 micro-architecture feature levels and for openSUSE Leap / SUSE Linux Enterprise they are too at least for prominent key system libraries.

The x86_64-v2 feature level that openSUSE Leap / SLE is pursuing assumes the CPU can handle SSE4.2, SSSE3, POPCNT, and CMPXCHG16B. Most CPUs for the past number of years can support at least x86_64-v2 -- basically CPUs going back to the Intel Nehalem days. It's with v3 and higher where the support gets a bit more tricky due to requiring AVX2.

The x86_64-v2 HWCAPS for libraries of important base system components is currently part of the feature planning for the next SLE / Leap release and hopefully that will pan out without needing to slip for another cycle.

Meanwhile Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 will require x86_64-v2 in bumping the base requirement itself rather than just using HWCAPS there. So we'll see if come SUSE Linux Enterprise 16 if SUSE makes a similar move to just require that and possibly then offer HWCAPS for -v3 or -v4. In any case, at least more Linux distributions are beginning to look at HWCAPS and other x86_64 considerations in the name of greater out-of-the-box performance.
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