While work on OpenGL 3.x support in Mesa has been very slow, many have been looking forward to the day when Gallium3D
hardware drivers provide fast acceleration and a OpenGL 3 state tracker
to provide this support to all Gallium3D users. Intel though has also been wanting to bring some OpenGL 3 support to the classic Mesa stack. However, at XDC2009, Intel's Ian Romanick has expressed some issues with patents that could inhibit the support.
Patented technologies like floating point textures, render targets, and some compressed formats that are part of core OpenGL 3 is currently the problem. To work around these OpenGL patent issues for Mesa, Ian is looking at possibly making some external libraries, creating a configure switch so the user/vendor can decide on building with patented work or not, and getting the help of the Open Invention Network to address the patent problem.
The notes regarding OpenGL 3 and patents can be found in this Wiki section