This week at the X Developers' Conference there was a talk surrounding OpenGL 3.x and its lack of complete support within the latest Mesa code. While development manpower can end up be limiting, there are also some patent / legal issues surrounding this with regard to some parts of core OpenGL being covered by such inhibitive patents. This was explained here
along with some of the possible ways to circumvent the issue.
Now, however, it looks like the Linux Foundation could get involved along with the Open Invention Network (OIN) to hopefully reach a proper agreement with the patent/IP holders. Greg Kroah-Hartman brought this 3D patent issue up with the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board to see what can be done. At this time they are still setting up a meeting.
The thread to follow is on the mesa3d-dev list