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Author Topic: Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave  (Read 896 times)

BernardLanguillier

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Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave
« on: June 05, 2018, 04:39:05 PM »

I am concerned by this since GPU acceleration on Mac is based on OpenCL which is a cross platform standard.

It appears that Metal is good, but this is probably going to:
1. Make it significantly harder for developers to make cross platform photo apps with suitable GPU acceleration support on Mac (I am thinking about PTGui for example)
2. Result in additional quality issues for these (I remember that P1 needed nearly one year to make C1 pro OpenCL support work on my mac pro...)

Thoughts?

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 07:45:41 PM by BernardLanguillier »
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Brad Paulson

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Re: Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2018, 05:04:59 PM »

Sorry to hear Bernard.  I love Apple and the platform, but their desktop decisions for years haven’t been meshing with at least what I think I need.  Sadly I’ve decided to build my own PC dedicated only to photo processing and graphics (and antivirus the heck out of it - see another post near this one), but keep everything else on the Apple platform. This bit of news makes me feel more resolute in that decision.
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kers

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Re: Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2018, 10:37:31 PM »

So in 2019 we have a macpro without any third party pro programs.
I think of building a hackintosh that i can easely change into an Windows machine if needed...
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2018, 03:18:08 AM »

So in 2019 we have a macpro without any third party pro programs.
I think of building a hackintosh that i can easely change into an Windows machine if needed...

Sometimes it looks like Apple is trying as hard as they can to avoid someone being productive on the Mac platform... and/or to avoid that some software manufacturers may make some money in the process... ;)

Cheers,
Bernard

nemophoto

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Re: Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2018, 09:37:26 PM »

I often think Apple is trying it's hardest to abandon the desktop computer biz altogether -- the disaster of the "trash can", long product cycle times, etc. I think they see it as a money loser compared to the cash cow iPhone.

Joe Towner

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Re: Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2018, 12:51:23 AM »

I wonder how OpenCL v Metal would apply to the eGFX functionality.  If it takes Metal to get eGFX, there are big upsides.
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Jeremy Roussak

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Re: Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 03:43:07 AM »

I often think Apple is trying it's hardest to abandon the desktop computer biz altogether -- the disaster of the "trash can", long product cycle times, etc.

Where, in your view, does the iMac Pro fit into this scenario?

Jeremy
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nemophoto

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Re: Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2018, 09:28:05 AM »

Where, in your view, does the iMac Pro fit into this scenario?

Mid-range. The Mac Pros are supposed to be the “high end”. (Honestly, you can stick the word “Pro” on anything. That doesn’t always make it so. That said, my wife’s next Mac may be an iMac because of cost, not preference.) From everything I’ve read, even the laptops have suffered a degree of stagnation. It’s not that they will “give up” computers. I think Apple just doesn’t care to put the same resources into the computer biz since the entire computer segment has leveled. We, as professionals, are truly among the few who need/demand computer power. Most of the rest of the world whips out their cell phones and are content. Another case in point, look at the article about phone apps on the homepage by Rad Drew. We, as photographers, have the ability of using our DSLRs OR phones for imagery. Most people just have their phone — and that’s often where the images stay. I think Apple sees a paradigm shift there and doesn’t pursue the computing world as it once did. Witness, even, the name change. Apple dropped “Computers” from it’s official corporate name.

Case in point — Google bought NIK to get it’s hands on Snapseed and proceeded to abandon the rest of the software because it didn’t really fit with their views and plans. And in my view, OS X has stagnated. The interface looks tired and dated. The updates are very incremental while also sometimes rendering programs in operable.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 09:38:39 AM by nemophoto »
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Chris Kern

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Re: Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2018, 09:46:46 AM »

I am concerned by this since GPU acceleration on Mac is based on OpenCL which is a cross platform standard.

I have no inside information, but while Apple remains secretive about the details, its management has been sharing enough clues about their product plans that I think it's fairly evident what is going on here.

While in principle it's nice to have cross-platform APIs like OpenCL and OpenGL, they haven't been particularly successful in the respective markets that matter most to Microsoft and Apple.  They apparently have been trouble-prone to code to (that's an impression; I have no personal experience using them) and their performance has been disappointing.

If you're a hard-core gamer, sucking down enough electricity to power a Las Vegas casino and running superheated, water-cooled graphics processors, chances are your applications were built on Microsoft's DirectX APIs.  MS-Windows is the predominant platform for personal computer gaming and it's an important market for Microsoft.  Not because there are so many gamers out there—although I gather there could be more of them than might be evident to old-timers like me—but because it drives a fast-moving, competitive, generic high-performance hardware industry that, in turn, generates the high margins that allow the same manufacturers to produce the inexpensive generic hardware for institutional IT managers (such as I used to be) who acquire thousands of machines at a time for office workers and license MS-Office products to run on them.

Gaming has never been Apple's strength.  Yes, some gaming developers used the open graphics libraries because they wanted to maintain a presence in the Apple ecosystem, but their applications were probably coded for DirectX on MS-Windows, so they were already in many cases supporting two different sets of APIs.  Switching from OpenCL/GL to Apple's Metal will involve a one-time conversion effort.  Assuming they want to do so.

Apple has a large installed base among home users and other individual buyers, but the company's primary institutional target is the so-called multimedia market, and particularly the large commercial video shops.  Apple has a strategic advantage there that it hasn't exploited very successfully in the last few years because of the amount of time it is taking the company to engineer a new product generation.  In a Microsoft environment, it is necessary to push extra compute cycles through an inherently sludgy hardware abstraction layer, but Apple can couple the hardware and system software much more closely.  That allows it to deliver high performance more efficiently—which is really important for large graphics shops, where power consumption and the concomitant need for air conditioning are serious cost factors—and offer developers the hooks they need to exploit that efficiency with minimal programming effort.

So in the Microsoft universe, you get high performance hardware at a premium price and operating cost for power users, and inexpensive hardware for institutional office customers.  In the Apple universe, you get an easy-to-use ecosystem of desktop, portable and mobile devices for individual users at a mid-range to upper price-point and—potentially, at least—a very efficient platform for institutional graphics customers.

So where does that leave the majority of us (i.e., LuLa forum participants), who, I presume, are primarily interested in post-processing stills?

Well, my 2013 Mac Pro (six cores, 64 GB of memory, 1 TB flash filesystem) is still a very capable platform for the two photography apps I use the most, Lightroom and Photoshop, and I expect it to remain so for several years to come.  I don't use more specialized applications like PTGui, but I presume they would perform even better on MS-Windows with the DirectX APIs and even better on MacOS with the Metal APIs—and Apple isn't ending support for the cross-platform graphics libraries, just alerting developers that it's time to start planning for the transition.

Frankly, unless you have a strong preference for one operating system over another, or do your own software development, I don't see why it matters to most photographers which operating system they use.  The applications that support both operating systems mostly look and work the same on either platform.

I think Apple understands that some customers feel constrained by the hardware performance of their current products—hence the iMac Pro—but those who really need the highest level of personal computing performance, or at least believe they do, can easily assemble a very powerful machine from generic parts (or buy one from an integrator) and run MS-Windows on it.  Or wait another year for Apple to roll out its next generation of products, and see if the company can successfully exploit its strategic advantage as the designer of integrated hardware and system software.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 01:39:58 PM by Chris Kern »
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davidgp

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Re: Apple to deprecate OpenCL in OSX 10.14 Mojave
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2018, 05:58:20 AM »

I am concerned by this since GPU acceleration on Mac is based on OpenCL which is a cross platform standard.

It appears that Metal is good, but this is probably going to:
1. Make it significantly harder for developers to make cross platform photo apps with suitable GPU acceleration support on Mac (I am thinking about PTGui for example)
2. Result in additional quality issues for these (I remember that P1 needed nearly one year to make C1 pro OpenCL support work on my mac pro...)

Thoughts?

Cheers,
Bernard


Hi Bernard,

Not suprised for the Apple move. Both OpenCL and OpenGL implementations at Apple were outdated. Apple only supported until OpenCL 1.2: https://support.apple.com/es-es/HT202823 , while the spec was already 2.2.

Apple wants everybody to move to Metal in Mac OS X in the following years. I think applications like Lightroom or Capture One will support it, after all, they have a very big user base. They probably have already a lot of optimized code just for OS X and Windows... specially if they use Cuda in Windows (like Premiere seems to like) and other thing in OS X (no optimized Cuda here, since Apple seems to like AMD GPUs).

What it is going really to suffer are scientific applications for Apple. These are the types of applications that relay more on OpenCL. But I think Apple is no longer very interested in the University/Research Centers users.

Some people are mentioning games, but I think those are the less interested in OpenGL or OpenCL. Since a long time they were more busy talking directly to the GPU via Cuda or DirectX and now Metal in Mac OS X. For example, one popular game engine used to develop games, Unity, already supports Metal: https://unity3d.com/ . And people develop games over it that later can run on Windows, OS X, and so on... anyway, Macs are not the favourity platform for gamers, they usually prefer Windows and PCs, with lots of RGB leds lately... Microsoft did it very well here with their DirectX platform (and gamers is a very nice market, all PC components vendors are jumping to it since some years...).

This specific movement of Apple does not worry me. It worries me more other things, that they don't release the Mac Pro, and looks like it is not going to happen until next year. The normal iMacs have a very long due update, and since Q4 last year, Intel is offering 6 cores processors that can go inside them, 50% performance increase. iMac Pro looks to me like something very inflexible and with few possibilities of upgrading without making your warranty void in the long run. External eGPUs are nice if you have a laptop, but for a Workstation the possibility of adding more GPUs directly at 16x PCIe speed instead of 4x like in an eGPU scenario will be nice.

Anyway... maybe I'm being a bit negative... but I will hate the idea of jumping from my Mac to a Windows 10 PC.

Regards,

David
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