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

Arch Linux Enables Mesa Floating Point Textures

Operating Systems

Published on 01 June 2011 11:09 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems
13 Comments

The rolling-release Arch Linux distribution has just enabled floating point textures for Mesa. This was the hotly-debated feature for Mesa that provides OpenGL floating point textures and render targets, but is disabled by default since its protected by patents in the United States and elsewhere. Arch Linux users when building new versions of Mesa will receive this support irrespective of their physical location.

It was in early March that the question arose of merging the Mesa floating point branch to master. Developers pushed on for this OpenGL 3.x requirement to be merged and then had also proposed that S3TC texture compression be merged too (this though was rejected since it can cleanly live as an external library to Mesa). By mid-April, floating point support was merged and by default is hidden behind the --enable-texture-float build-time flag.

Mesa 7.11 hasn't yet been released, but it will be the first official version carrying this floating textures support. It's disabled upstream and is expected to be disabled by default in most of the major Linux distributions as well due to the patent/legal concerns. It's likely that some third-party package repositories for Ubuntu, Fedora, etc will end up shipping Mesa packages with the option enabled. Users can also build their own Mesa if they so desire.

Following this Arch Linux bug report and a forum discussion with references to Phoronix, Arch Linux decided to carry the enable-texture-float flag.

The reasoning for enabling this support is that some Linux game engines won't work without the support, namely the Unigine Engine. While it's true the Unigine Engine can run on Mesa with this support enabled if you're on Git master, at this time regardless of the hardware driver, the performance is at a slide-show pace and it will likely not be really usable by open-source drivers any time in the near future. If you use the open-source drivers and think otherwise, you can participate in the Phoronix-Unigine OilRush giveaway.

This Git commit to the Arch Mesa package updates the source-code to as of Git yesterday (31 May) and adds in the --enable-texture-float argument.

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. ASRock X99 Extreme3 Is An Affordable Choice For Linux Users
  2. A Walkthrough Of The New 32 System Open-Source Linux Benchmarking Test Farm
  3. Habey MITX-6771: Mini-ITX Board With Quad-Core J1900 Bay Trail
  4. OCZ Vector 150 SSD On Linux
Latest Linux Articles
  1. 17-Way Linux Graphics Card Comparison With Civilization Beyond Earth
  2. AMD Kaveri: Open-Source Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver
  3. 12-Way AMD Catalyst 14.12 vs. NVIDIA 346 Series Linux GPU Comparison
  4. AMD Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver Brings Mixed Results For Linux Users
Latest Linux News
  1. Orange Pi Is The Latest Raspberry Pi Inspired ARM Board
  2. An Open-Source Hardware Ambient Light Sensor Is Brought Up
  3. Heterogeneous Memory Management Is Coming Along For The Linux Kernel
  4. NTP Is The Latest Project Struck By Security Issues
  5. LDC 0.15.1 Released For A D Compiler In LLVM
  6. Fedora Doesn't Yet Enable F2FS File-System Support
  7. XZ 5.2 Adds New Multi-Threaded Options
  8. Intel 2.99.917 X.Org Driver Released, 3.0 Release Finally Near
  9. Server-Side XCB Is Being Discussed For The X.Org Server
  10. Adreno A4xx Rendering With Freedreno Takes Shape
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Need some hand holding with upgrading xserver
  2. Maker3D - create your 3D RPG
  3. FPS capped on Linux (AMD fglrx drivers)
  4. Looking for an nVidia GPU, but not sure how well they are supported.
  5. Speeding up systemd networking service
  6. Major Performance Breakthrough Discovered For Intel's Mesa Driver
  7. Are there an app using HSA ?
  8. The New SuperTuxKart Looks Better, But Can Cause GPU/Driver Problems