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The State of State Trackers In Gallium3D

Mesa

Published on 04 November 2009 09:36 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa
6 Comments

With all of the talk earlier this week regarding the Poulsbo Gallium3D driver and its performance improvements along with the restarted efforts on the Intel 965 Gallium3D driver and then word that Mesa 7.7 may be out by Christmas, it's likely that many are wondering about the current state of the various Gallium3D state trackers that we have been talking about for the past months. Well, here's a few observations on the different state trackers at least where they are at in Git.

The most recent Gallium3D state tracker we have talked about is the X.Org/X11 state tracker that really started coming around in September and provides EXA (2D) and X-Video acceleration. XvMC is also coming to this state tracker started by Zack Rusin. This state tracker seems to receive the most work lately, at least publicly. Once this state tracker is complete and there is good driver coverage for most graphics hardware in Gallium3D, it will really downplay the need for the traditional X.Org DDX driver with mode-setting being done on most hardware now in the kernel with KMS and then the 2D/X-Video coming via Gallium3D, which is a good fit considering most 2D acceleration with modern graphics processors is already handled by the 3D engine.

Coming out just before the X.Org State Tracker announcement was the OpenCL state tracker. Tungsten Graphics / VMware previously hoped for OpenCL in Gallium3D by this summer, but it wasn't until late summer that this initial state tracker arrived. Unfortunately, the OpenCL state tracker has largely been neglected due to work on other state trackers and parts of Gallium3D. Unlike the other state trackers, the OpenCL state tracker is still living in an entirely different Git repository from Mesa (the mesa/clover repository). This repository hasn't actually been touched now in two months -- since the end of August. The efforts on the OpenCL support are effectively stalled right now.

Earlier this year Zack Rusin shared that a state tracker to provide OpenGL 3.x support would be hopefully soon, but this state tracker is still entirely M.I.A., at least from the public spotlight. with no update on the matter in months. However, there may be patent issues for OpenGL 3.x support in Mesa. This state tracker to finally provide OpenGL 3.x support in an open-source driver on Linux is perhaps the most anticipated feature for users with Gallium3D.

While not very extensive, a bit more information is also available on the X.Org Wiki with regard to the status of Gallium3D. We will have more information soon.

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 .
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