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Mesa 10.0 Delivers Many Exciting New Features

Mesa

Published on 27 November 2013 01:44 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa
23 Comments

Mesa 10.0 is due to be released today and with it will become many new features that landed in this open-source graphics driver project over the past three months.

Here's some of the most interesting changes that you will be able to find with Mesa 10.0:

- OpenGL 3.2 support and OpenGL 3.3 support is now handled by core Mesa and the Intel DRI driver. The Intel driver supports OpenGL 3.3 for Ivy Bridge and Haswell graphics processors while the Nouveau (NVIDIA) driver currently advertises OpenGL 3.1 and the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver comes up just shy of GL 3.2. LLVMpipe is limited to OpenGL 2.1 officially but OpenGL 3.0~3.1 support is nearly in place.

- Support for new OpenGL 4 extensions but full OpenGL 4.0 (and 4.1/4.2/4.3/4.4) support is still a ways off in Mesa. Hopefully around the end of Q2'2014 we'll see GL 4.0 compliance.

- Improved support for Haiku OS. There's also been BSD operating system support improvements with FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and DragonFlyBSD beginning to support the modern Radeon and Intel drivers.

- Many Linux OpenGL performance improvements. Intel Haswell graphics are much faster but still mixed against the Intel Windows driver, R600 Gallium3D is almost on par with Catalyst, the RadeonSI Gallium3D still has a lot of work ahead for better AMD HD 7000 series and newer support, Nouveau support is hit-or-miss depending if the DRM driver supports re-clocking, etc. For those in need of good performance, aside from the Intel DRI driver with Haswell hardware, R600g is competing with AMD's Catalyst using the latest code.

- The RadeonSI driver is much more mature with many new features being supported for the Radeon HD 7000 series GPUs and newer (GCN-based GPUs). For fully benefiting from the open-source RadeonSI support you will also need to be using the LLVM 3.4 code for the AMD GPU compiler back-end. As a side note, the AMD Hawaii support didn't make the cut for Mesa 10.0.

- OpenCL ICD support for the Gallium3D "Clover" state tracker. In general there's also been many OpenCL support improvements found in this Mesa release.

- DRI3 support. Obviously this also means using a supported X.Org driver (right now just xf86-video-intel), the yet-to-be-official X.Org Server 1.15 release, and other updated X.Org components for Direct Rendering Infrastructure 3.

- A new Mesa-original GLX extension for satisfying Linux game developers. This extension exposes GPU/system information much more cleanly for game engine developers on Linux.

- Various game optimizations and fixes for the various new Linux games offered via Steam, such as Valve's Source Engine games having Intel Mesa improvements.

- Freedreno Gallium3D driver improvements with this reverse-engineered Qualcomm Adreno graphics driver being the leading open-source ARM graphics driver.

- Many bug-fixes.

Assuming you're not already running the latest Mesa graphics driver code from Git, stay tuned for news of the official release that should come later today. More Mesa Linux GPU benchmarks are, of course, always ongoing at Phoronix.

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