Ubuntu 9.10 had its beta release last week and the final release is coming in just three weeks, but this late in the release cycle, it has been decided to pull in the final Mesa 7.6 version. Pulling in this newer code that provides OpenGL acceleration on Linux provides numerous bug-fixes along with support for a greater number of OpenGL extensions on different hardware and other improvements.
We have been talking about Mesa 7.6 since this May when the OpenVG state tracker was added in and since then it has picked up a plethora of new features and changes. In this release on the ATI side it has integrated the Radeon 3D driver rewrite to use the buffer manager, VBO and OQ support, and proper OpenGL 1.5 support. This time around the Intel DRI and software drivers (along with the Gallium3D drivers) have picked up support for various OpenGL extensions like GL_ARB_map_buffer_range, GL_ARB_copy_buffer, and GL_ARB_vertex_array_object. Mesa 7.6 also includes the assembly shader rework.
While Gallium3D is not used by default within Ubuntu 9.10, in Mesa 7.6 it has picked up the OpenVG state tracker, OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 state trackers, networking support, an initial LLVMpipe driver and plenty of other work.
Mesa 7.6 does not drastically change the level of performance compared to the older Mesa snapshot that was found in Ubuntu Karmic up until today, but there are improvements in a few areas. In the below example from an Intel G43 system we compared the Ubuntu 9.04, Ubuntu 9.10 Beta, and Ubuntu 9.10 Beta with Mesa 7.6 performance using the Phoronix Test Suite. With the Urban Terror game there were performance improvements already to be found in Ubuntu 9.10 compared to Ubuntu 9.04 with Mesa 7.4, but this latest code steps up the performance one bit more.
We have been testing out the latest Ubuntu 9.10 development builds with the latest Mesa code and are quite pleased with the decision to pull this latest Mesa code into the Karmic Koala, albeit at the very last minute. However, this latest Mesa code in Ubuntu does not provide ATI R600/700 3D acceleration support by default (nor is ATI kernel mode-setting enabled for Ubuntu 9.10), but that will come with Ubuntu 10.04.
Canonical's Bryce Harrington made an announcement today on the Ubuntu development list today as well regarding Mesa 7.6 in Karmic with additional details.