Intel Hits "Almost There" GL 3.0 Support In Mesa
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 21 December 2011 at 01:03 PM EST. Add A Comment
There's just a week and a half left to the year, but will Intel be successful in their goal of open-source OpenGL 3.0 support in Mesa for their Sandy/Ivy Bridge hardware in 2011? It looks like they will fall just short.

Back during XDC2011 Chicago Intel OSTC developers shared their goal of seeing OpenGL 3.0 support in core Mesa and their Intel DRI driver before year's end. This would result in Mesa 7.12 being released as Mesa 8.0, etc. While they have made much progress on OpenGL 3.0 compliance in recent weeks, it looks like they will fall just short of proper compliance with the three-year-old industry specification before the year is out.

Intel developers have been successful in core parts of OpenGL 3.0 compliance like GL Shading Language 1.30 support and transformed feedback and other features, but their work queue Wiki page still reflects several open action items.

There's several high priority action items that are still un-addressed in their OpenGL 3.0 support for Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge hardware. Among the items are a kernel interface for setting registers, verifying buffer overflow behavior, implementing rasterizer discard for Ivy Bridge, and implementing support for some of the new queries. Some of the other high priority items on the open-source Intel developers' TODO list -- but not contingent on OpenGL 3.0 -- include generating GLSL IR for ARB assembly programs and NV vertex assembly programs, removing NV fragment assembly support, and eliminating some dead vertex shader code.

No official update has been shared yet by Intel regarding their new expectation for full OpenGL 3.0 support in their Mesa Linux driver, but hopefully it will come in January and not result in a significant delay to the next Mesa release.

Intel's Eugeni Dodonov did write a final blog post from the "Intel Linux Graphics land" to end out 2011. In there he states, "So starting with the coolest news – the Mesa team is getting close to the GL 3.0 milestone! Yeah, with latest GL_ext_transform_feedback patches from Paul Berry, the last major piece of GL 3.0 spec is getting into place. There are still some extensions missing and lots of smaller tasks to be done, but it is possible to say that we are almost there. I think that this is really exciting for both us, and for all the Linux and open-source users in the world – so yeah – we’ve been good boys and girls during the year and Santa Claus gift has materialized itself in form of almost-full GL 3.0 support in Mesa."

In terms of the non-Intel Mesa/Gallium3D drivers, they too are nearing OpenGL 3.0 compliance but still have some hardware-driver-specific work left as well.

After that there's only three more years of OpenGL and GLSL specifications to catch-up on before maybe at some point in the future being compliant against the latest upstream specifications from the Khronos Group and what's generally offered by the proprietary AMD and NVIDIA drivers.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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