Mesa 7.12 Is Now Where The Fun Is At
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 29 June 2011 at 11:45 AM EDT. 40 Comments
Mesa 7.11 has been branched in preparation for its release next month. What this means is that now Mesa Git master is for Mesa 7.12, which will be the graphics code in-development until next January when it's either released as 7.12, or Mesa 8.0 should the OpenGL 3.0 support land by year's end.

Mesa 7.11 contains a lot of new work, including:

- Intel DRI driver speed-ups and much improved Sandy Bridge support.
- R600 Gallium3D is built by default now that it has had tons of improvements.
- AMD Llano Fusion support.
- AMD Radeon HD 6000 series support for Northern Islands and Cayman ASICs.
- Initial Intel Ivy Bridge support (the successor to Sandy Bridge).
- GLSL compiler improvements.
- Support for more OpenGL 3.0 functionality.
- OpenGL floating-point textures support if the build-time switch is supplied to enable this patented feature.
- Many bug-fixes.

With Mesa 7.11, the Nouveau and Radeon Gallium3D drivers are much better off than in Mesa 7.10 and the Intel DRI driver is also better too. There's also been various enhancements to core Gallium3D and its state trackers. Nearly every open-source Linux Mesa/Gallium3D driver advancement talked about on Phoronix since January is incorporated in mesa 7.11.

What's in the queue for Mesa 7.12? Well, ideally more OpenGL 3.x functionality. Should there be proper OpenGL 3.0 support by the time 7.12 is branched, it would be released as Mesa 8.0. Perhaps though it's still a pipe dream to see OGL3 support by January, even though it will have been four and a half years since the release of the Khronos OpenGL 3.0 specification by the time it would be released. After OpenGL 3.0 is in place, there's still OpenGL 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 to tackle. OpenGL 4.0 and OpenGL 4.1 is also left to be tackled in the open-source world too, while OpenGL 4.2 is already right out on the horizon.

Besides playing a long game of catch-up with OpenGL and GLSL (GL Shading Language) support, Mesa 7.12 will surely contain many enhancements to the various Gallium3D drivers. Ideally some of these hardware driver improvements over the next six months will be performance optimizations. We'll also see further stabilization work to Intel's Ivy Bridge support. VMware will also likely end up merging their new XA State Tracker by then along with their overhauled driver stack.

Other hopes for Mesa 7.12 would be merging the pipe-video branch of Mesa with the VDPAU / XvMC support for Radeon Gallium3D and other fun. It would also be wonderful to see the OpenCL Gallium3D state tracker (Clover) ready and merged for the 7.12 release. Beyond the GSoC OpenCL work, as part of this year's Google Summer of Code is also morphological anti-aliasing support for Mesa.

What else would you like to see in Mesa 7.12/8.0? Share in our forums.
About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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