Quick note on CUDA/OWL on Ubuntu 20

Not sure if a “blog post” is the right medium for that, but just in case anybody stumbles over this: I just upgraded my ubuntu 18 based laptop to ubuntu 20, and after that ran into some issues compiling my CUDA projects – apparently, the gcc version 9 that Ubuntu 20 ships with isn’t yet supported in CUDA (at least, not in the version I have installed!?), meaning I ended up with an error of

/usr/local/cuda/include/crt/host_config.h:129:2: error:
#error -- unsupported GNU version! gcc versions later than 8 are not supported!

Just in case anybody else stumbles over this, the solution is actually quite simple: First, make sure to install the ‘g++-8’ package:

sudo apt install g++-8

(note: mind the “++”: my machine already had `gcc-8` installed by default, but you need g++-8)

Once installed, just tell nvcc to always use ‘/usr/bin/gcc-8’. If you’re using cmake under linux, that’s as simple as setting CUDA_HOST_COMPILER to /usr/bin/gcc-8; cmake and make should then run through just fine.

Hope that helps.

PS: I also previously experimented with using ‘alternatives’ to change my system to use gcc-8 by default, but that didn’t go all too well: yes, setting gcc-8 as default compiler did make nvcc work, but the next apt update ended up being quite confused …. not good. Setting it in the project seems to work just fine.

PPS: Update – for another machine I also installed U20 “from scratch” (rather than upgrading). In this case, installing U20 was actually an amazingly impressive experience: not only did it install out-of-the-box on a RTX-enabled Thinkpad laptop that I had not gotten any other distribution to run on at all, it even came with pre-packaged nvidia 440 driver, with apt packages for CUDA, etc. You still need the “g++-8” think from above, but overall that was a very pleasant experience.

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