1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

S3TC Is Still Problematic For Mesa Developers, Users

Mesa

Published on 14 August 2013 01:31 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa
33 Comments

While there's now ETC2 texture compression and ASTC texture compression that were announced last year, S3 Texture Compression (S3TC) continues to be widely used by OpenGL games and application. This patent-encumbered means of graphics texture compression continues to cause massive headaches for open-source developers and end-users and will be the case for years to come.

There isn't any support for S3TC texture compression support within Mesa / Gallium3D itself since it's covered by patents that don't expire for several years. Every time it seems there's good news to share on opening up S3TC, there isn't. Past talk of the patent being potentially invalid, etc, all haven't panned out. Yet every few months, optimistic independent developers think they have come up with a solution.

A German developer, Uwe Schmidt, started a new Mesa development thread entitled Another Take on the S3TC issue. In there he proposes a change to Mesa for different handling of S3TC types. With numerous Mesa developers already having invested significant amount of time into the S3TC issue, the idea wasn't new and was quickly shot down. In response, "It's all patented...Until S3 grants it's IP to OIN or the patents expire, this is going to be the situation. We've been through this mental exercise of the last 5 years more times than I can count, and we always come back to the same place."

Those users of the open-source Mesa / Gallium3D Linux graphics drivers either need to rely upon the external Mesa S3TC library that is technically in violation of the S3TC patent or try using the S2TC library. Eventually ETC2, ASTC, and/or other texture compression methods will be devised that are more open-source friendly, but still for years to come there will be existing S3TC-dependent games/applications to support.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. AMD R600g/RadeonSI Performance On Linux 3.16 With Mesa 10.3-devel
  2. Intel Pentium G3258 On Linux
  3. SilverStone Precision PS10
  4. ASRock Z97 Extreme6
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Nouveau vs. Radeon vs. Intel Tests On Linux 3.16, Mesa 10.3-devel
  2. KVM Benchmarks On Ubuntu 14.10
  3. X.Org Server 1.16 Officially Released With Terrific Features
  4. Ubuntu With Linux 3.16 Smashes OS X 10.9.4 On The MacBook Air
Latest Linux News
  1. A New Video Has Us Real Excited About The New UT For Linux
  2. CoreOS Experiences Its First Stable Release
  3. GNOME 3.13.4 Continues Working On Wayland & More
  4. Wine 1.7.23 Has Initial Support For 64-bit Android Builds
  5. FreeBSD Developing A New Automounter, Other Features
  6. Guix 0.7 Can Now Install The GNU Operating System
  7. X.Org Foundation Still Works Towards Becoming An SPI Project
  8. Open-Source AMD Hawaii Support Should Now Be Working!
  9. KDE Developers Continue Working Toward Wayland Support
  10. Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS Released
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  2. AMD "Hawaii" Open-Source GPU Acceleration Still Not Working Right
  3. Radeon related kernel bug??
  4. how the US intellegentia operates:
  5. AMD Publishes Open-Source Linux HSA Kernel Driver
  6. Next-Gen OpenGL To Be Announced Next Month
  7. Open-Source Radeon Performance Boosted By Linux 3.16
  8. Remote gui not accessible in Phoronix Test Suite 5.2