Clang Offload Packager


This tool bundles device files into a single image containing necessary metadata. We use a custom binary format for bundling all the device images together. The image format is a small header wrapping around a string map. This tool creates bundled binaries so that they can be embedded into the host to create a fat-binary.

Binary Format

The binary format is marked by the 0x10FF10AD magic bytes, followed by a version. Each created binary contains its own magic bytes. This allows us to locate all the embedded offloading sections even after they may have been merged by the linker, such as when using relocatable linking. Conceptually, this binary format is a serialization of a string map and an image buffer. The binary header is described in the following table.

Offloading Binary Header
Type Identifier Description
uint8_t magic The magic bytes for the binary format (0x10FF10AD)
uint32_t version Version of this format (currently version 1)
uint64_t size Size of this binary in bytes
uint64_t entry offset Absolute offset of the offload entries in bytes
uint64_t entry size Size of the offload entries in bytes

Once identified through the magic bytes, we use the size field to take a slice of the binary blob containing the information for a single offloading image. We can then use the offset field to find the actual offloading entries containing the image and metadata. The offload entry contains information about the device image. It contains the fields shown in the following table.

Offloading Entry Table
Type Identifier Description
uint16_t image kind The kind of the device image (e.g. bc, cubin)
uint16_t offload kind The producer of the image (e.g. openmp, cuda)
uint32_t flags Generic flags for the image
uint64_t string offset Absolute offset of the string metadata table
uint64_t num strings Number of string entries in the table
uint64_t image offset Absolute offset of the device image in bytes
uint64_t image size Size of the device image in bytes

This table contains the offsets of the string table and the device image itself along with some other integer information. The image kind lets us easily identify the type of image stored here without needing to inspect the binary. The offloading kind is used to determine which registration code or linking semantics are necessary for this image. These are stored as enumerations with the following values for the offload kind and the image kind.

Image Kind
Name Value Description
IMG_None 0x00 No image information provided
IMG_Object 0x01 The image is a generic object file
IMG_Bitcode 0x02 The image is an LLVM-IR bitcode file
IMG_Cubin 0x03 The image is a CUDA object file
IMG_Fatbinary 0x04 The image is a CUDA fatbinary file
IMG_PTX 0x05 The image is a CUDA PTX file
Offload Kind
Name Value Description
OFK_None 0x00 No offloading information provided
OFK_OpenMP 0x01 The producer was OpenMP offloading
OFK_CUDA 0x02 The producer was CUDA
OFK_HIP 0x03 The producer was HIP

The flags are used to signify certain conditions, such as the presence of debugging information or whether or not LTO was used. The string entry table is used to generically contain any arbitrary key-value pair. This is stored as an array of the string entry format.

Offloading String Entry
Type Identifier Description
uint64_t key offset Absolute byte offset of the key in th string table
uint64_t value offset Absolute byte offset of the value in the string table

The string entries simply provide offsets to a key and value pair in the binary images string table. The string table is simply a collection of null terminated strings with defined offsets in the image. The string entry allows us to create a key-value pair from this string table. This is used for passing arbitrary arguments to the image, such as the triple and architecture.

All of these structures are combined to form a single binary blob, the order does not matter because of the use of absolute offsets. This makes it easier to extend in the future. As mentioned previously, multiple offloading images are bundled together by simply concatenating them in this format. Because we have the magic bytes and size of each image, we can extract them as-needed.


This tool can be used with the following arguments. Generally information is passed as a key-value pair to the image= argument. The file and triple, arguments are considered mandatory to make a valid image. The arch argument is suggested.

OVERVIEW: A utility for bundling several object files into a single binary.
The output binary can then be embedded into the host section table
to create a fatbinary containing offloading code.

USAGE: clang-offload-packager [options]


Generic Options:

  --help                      - Display available options (--help-hidden for more)
  --help-list                 - Display list of available options (--help-list-hidden for more)
  --version                   - Display the version of this program

clang-offload-packager options:

  --image=<<key>=<value>,...> - List of key and value arguments. Required
                                keywords are 'file' and 'triple'.
  -o <file>                   - Write output to <file>.


This tool simply takes many input files from the image option and creates a single output file with all the images combined.

clang-offload-packager -o out.bin --image=file=input.o,triple=nvptx64,arch=sm_70

The inverse operation can be performed instead by passing the packaged binary as input. In this mode the matching images will either be placed in the output specified by the file option. If no file argument is provided a name will be generated for each matching image.

clang-offload-packager in.bin --image=file=output.o,triple=nvptx64,arch=sm_70