Linux and OpenCL

Installing both NVidia GTX and AMD Radeon on Linux for OpenCL

August 2012: article has been completely rewritten and updated. For driver-specific issues, please refer to this article.

Want to have both your GTX and Radeon working as OpenCL-devices under Linux? The bad news is that attempts to get Radeon as a compute device and the GTX as primary all failed. The good news is that the other way around works pretty easy (with some luck). You need to install both drivers and watch out that isn’t overwritten by NVidia’s driver as we won’t use that GPU for graphics – this is also the reason why it is impossible to use the second GPU for OpenGL.

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Install OpenCL on Debian, Ubuntu and Mint orderly

Libraries - can't have enough

If you read different types of manuals how to compile OpenCL software on Linux, then you can get dizzy of all the LD-parameters. Also when installing the SDKs from AMD, Intel and NVIDIA, you get different locations for libraries, header-files, etc. Now GPGPU is old-fashioned and we go for heterogeneous programming, the chances get higher you will have more SDKs on your machine. Also if you want to keep it the way you have, reading this article gives you insight in what the design is after it all. Note that Intel's drivers don't give OpenCL support for their GPUs, but CPUs only.

As my mother said when I was young: "actually cleaning up is very simple". I'm busy creating a PPA for this, but that will take some more time.

First the idea. For developers OpenCL consists of 5 parts:

  • GPUs-only: drivers with OpenCL-support
  • The OpenCL header-files
  • Vendor specific libraries (needed when using -lOpenCL)
  • -> a special driver
  • An installable client driver

Currently GPU-drivers are always OpenCL-capable, so you only need to secure 4 steps. These are discussed below.

Please note that in certain 64-bit distributions there is not lib64, but only 'lib' and 'lib32'. If that is the case for you, you can use the commands that are mentioned with 32-bit.

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OpenCL under Wine

The Wine 1.3 branch has support for OpenCL 1.0 since 1.3.9. Since Microsoft likes to get a little part of the Linux-dominated HPC-market, support for GPGPU is pretty good under the $799.00 costing Visual Studio – the free Express-version is not supported well. But why not take the produced software back via Wine? Problem is that OpenCL is not in the current Wine binaries for some reason, but that is fixable until we wait for inclusion…

Lazy or not much time? You can try my binaries (Ubuntu 32, NVIDIA), but I cannot guarantee they work for you and it is on your own responsibility: download (reported not working by some). See second part of step 3, what to do with it.

All the steps

I assume you have the OpenCL-SDK installed, but let me know if I need to add more details or clear up some steps.

1 – get the sources

The sources are available here. Be sure you download at least version 1.3.9. Alternatively you download the latest from git. You can get it by going to a directory and execute:

git clone git://

A directory “wine” will be created. That was easy, so lets go to bake some binaries.

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