Three days ago we reported on Luc Verhaegen and his expedition of modularizing Mesa and its DRI drivers following his talk last month at FOSDEM concerning the ways of cleaning up the Linux graphics driver stack. While we were early to report on Luc's work, yesterday he announced his modularized DRI drivers and Mesa SDK on the Mesa3D development list, but his work has fallen on deaf ears.
Mesa 7.8 was branched earlier this month in preparation for a release later this month, and today the first planned release candidate of this major update to this critical piece of the open-source Linux 3D stack has arrived.
While we are still waiting for the hardware drivers to mature for Gallium3D (particularly the Nouveau stack for all NVIDIA GPUs, the Intel 965 driver, the ATI R300g driver to mature, and then the R600g driver to come about), VMware has been working on their a software rasterizer as well through a Gallium3D state tracker. This new software rasterizer looks like it's finally coming about and is already delivering great performance compared to Mesa's existing software rasterizer that is rather crippled.
Beyond working on a R600/700 winsys as well as a command submission checker for these ATI Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series graphics processors, Jerome Glisse of Red Hat has also been busy at work on a shader compiler for the R600/700 ASICs with the still-in-early-development Gallium3D driver. Over the weekend Jerome hit one of his first milestones with this code.
Mesa 7.7 was released just before the end of 2009, but by the end of March there will be the 7.8 release of the Mesa 7.8 graphics stack. Since January the Mesa 7.8 release plans have been to release it by the end of March -- around the same time as the planned X Server 1.8 release -- and in preparation for that this release series has now been branched from master.
Zack Rusin of VMware announced the other day that they are working on a DirectX 10/11 state tracker. This caused quite a discussion in our forums and now Zack has clarified his remarks. There is already a DirectX 9.0 state tracker for Gallium3D, but it and the state tracker to support the 10 and 11 versions of this Microsoft API will have a few limitations compared to most of the other state trackers. Simply put, the Direct3D state tracker from VMware will only be supported on Windows and it will not be released as open-source.
With state trackers emerging for the Gallium3D driver architecture to provide acceleration for a range of APIs from OpenGL ES and OpenVG to OpenGL and OpenCL, we knew it was likely that at some point there would be support for Microsoft's DirectX API. There was even a rumor of Tungsten Graphics already having a working DirectX state tracker. As VMware, which now owns Tungsten Graphics, the creator of Gallium3D, is using this open-source driver architecture within their virtualization platform for providing all sorts of hardware acceleration support to guest operating systems over the GPU, the DirectX support has become important.
Kristian Høgsberg, the mastermind behind DRI2 and the one behind the Wayland Display Server, has a new announcement and that's a DRI2 driver for the new Mesa EGL implementation. Kristian's work interfaces EGL with DRI2 and is described as a "nice, self-contained implementation." Kristian has aspirations to add support for EGL with a DRI2 driver on the KMS frame-buffer, which could be used in the Wayland world.
Back in December of 2008 VMware acquired Tungsten Graphics, the company that's principally behind Mesa 3D along with the Gallium3D driver architecture, the TTM memory manager, and other parts of the Linux graphics stack. A year later (this past November/December) we then found out VMware had them create a virtual Gallium3D driver for their VMware virtualization platform so that virtualized operating systems can exploit the graphics processor on the host system just not for driving OpenGL support, but OpenCL, OpenVG, OpenGL ES, and other areas covered now by the Gallium3D state tracker and going into the future (VDPAU, etc).
Back in mid-2008 we published two articles that looked at the contributors to the X Server and contributors to Mesa, which provided statistics as to the companies and developers contributing to these two important free software projects over the years. Since the start of the new year though I've been meaning to provide some other statistics about how the projects themselves have evolved over the year, but this morning I am finally pushing out these new numbers for the X.Org Server and Mesa.
In a Phoronix Forums thread in regards to a 2010 Linux graphics driver wish-list, a developer has shared that he has started a Direct3D 9.0 state tracker for Windows! Yes, where it would actually be possible to accelerate Direct3D 9.0 while on Linux when using a Gallium3D hardware driver.
While a blitter module was introduced for Gallium3D that uses the 3D engine for blitting, this doesn't help those without blit support that are still running the "classic" Mesa driver stack. Over the night, however, blit support has arrived for the ATI R600/700 Mesa driver. This support arrived in the form of three commits (1, 2, 3) that increase the driver's code-base by around 2,000 lines of code.
This week in the Mesa world Gallium3D feature levels came about and a new EGL state tracker was released. The week though is not over and there are more announcements coming out for this free software OpenGL stack used on Linux and other operating systems.
For the past few months there has been a developer, Chia-I Wu, working to bring the Mesa 3D stack to Android netbooks. Chia-I has worked to improve the OpenGL ES support in Mesa, wrote an Android EGL driver, Mesa OpenGL ES/EGL support outside of an X Server, and various other areas of interest. Also being worked on by this developer have been a set of improvements to the EGL support in the Gallium3D stack.
The last time we talked about Gallium3D work being done by Zack Rusin was just before the holidays when he was hacking on new geometry shader support. Zack's latest work on Gallium3D though is for defining "feature levels" that provides a table for what features can be supported by a given driver / graphics processor.
While ATI R600 users only recently received OpenGL 2.0 hardware support within the open-source Radeon 3D stack and there is many more OpenGL extensions to be implemented just not for the ATI Mesa driver but the other DRI drivers as well, Brian Paul has published a document that lays out the current state of OpenGL 3.x within the classic Mesa core. This document lays out what core Mesa supports and not necessarily that any of the drivers are implementing the said support at this time. Granted, with Mesa not really being very performance-efficient at this time or capable of running most games, a majority of users will be waiting for the OpenGL 3.x state tracker for Gallium3D.
Zack Rusin has just shared with the Mesa development community a plethora of new code. This is not code for yet another state tracker or new hardware driver, but rather it brings new geometry shader support to the Gallium3D infrastructure. There's a new syntax now being used for geometry shaders and these patches fully implement the support, including with the TGSI components. So far the feedback on these patches are very positive and should be merged to master in the near future.
VMware's Keith Whitwell has mentioned on the Mesa3D development list that he plans to merge the new Intel i965 Gallium3D driver to Mesa's master repository. At the beginning of November this new Gallium3D driver emerged and was formed within the i965g-restart branch, which continues to frequently see new work on this Gallium3D driver.
Just as planned, Mesa 7.7 has been released in time to make it into everyones stockings this holiday. Intel's Ian Romanick has just pushed out the release of Mesa 7.7.0, which delivers many new features, along with Mesa 7.6.1, which delivers bug-fixes and greater stabilization work atop the Mesa 7.6 code-base.
A month and a half ago we shared that Mesa 7.7 should be a Christmas present with a release date just before the holidays. Since then we have seen release candidates for Mesa 7.7 and it's still on track to debuting next week. Intel's Ian Romanick has today announced Mesa 7.7-rc3 (along with Mesa 7.6.1-rc4 for carrying bug-fixes in the current stable branch).
A week ago we shared that the first of the slides and videos from VMware's recent Gallium3D workshop were now posted on the Internet. This morning some more of this content is being published, which covers the VMware SVGA driver status, a Gallium3D state tracker overview, and the status of the OpenGL ES state tracker. The content from the previous video/slides push along with today's uploads can be found here. Unfortunately we have found out that some of the videos from the Gallium3D workshop have been lost.
Gallium3D has been a topic we have talked about a lot lately from the OpenCL state tracker to VMware's virtual GPU driver, but this graphics driver architecture keeps on advancing. The most recent module for Gallium3D is one written by Marek Olšák that provides a blitter.
While NVIDIA and ATI/AMD have OpenCL support within their binary drivers, the open-source Mesa / Gallium3D stack is still lacking open-source support for the Open Computing Language on Linux. But the discussion surrounding OpenCL in Gallium3D has been renewed on the mailing list today.
Not only are Mesa developers -- those at VMware and within the open-source community -- busy at work on producing new state trackers (such as for OpenCL and OpenGL 3.1/3.2 support) and actual hardware drivers (or virtual drivers), but the core Gallium3D architecture and API continues to be revised as well. Over the past few days there have been some new Gallium3D branches that have come about and others that are getting ready to be merged to master, or enter the mainline Mesa code-base.
Mesa 7.7 crept closer to being released last week when the first release candidate had arrived, but now we are even closer with there being a second release candidate. Intel's Ian Romanick has announced the release of Mesa 7.7 RC2 (along with Mesa 7.6.2 RC3) in hopes of still putting this release out before Christmas.
Nearly a month ago VMware had hosted the first-ever Gallium3D Workshop at its headquarters in California for developers and users interested in this graphics driver architecture that will be predominately used on Linux. We had monitored this workshop and provided live coverage -- A Virtual Gallium3D Driver Coming For VMware and The State Of Gallium3D, Its Future, Etc -- but beyond that not much information was released about the conference. Today, however, the slides and video recordings from this Gallium3D Workshop are finally coming out.
Mesa 7.7 is planned for release by Christmas and now being less than a month out from this targeted release, Ian Romanick has announced the first release candidate in the 7.7 series.
Last Friday during the Gallium3D workshop we learned that the Tungsten Graphics developers that were bought out by VMware have been working on a virtual Gallium3D driver that would be used by guest operating systems running within VMware's virtualization platform. This is especially interesting considering that it will allow virtualized guests to have accelerated access to X11, OpenGL, OpenCL, X-Video, XvMC, and all sorts of other possibilities that's just limited by what's supported by the available state trackers.
VMware hosted a Gallium3D workshop today at its headquarters in California (and via teleconference too) where the former Tungsten Graphics developers talked about all that they have been working on with Gallium3D, the current state of this graphics driver architecture, and what's to come. The biggest news coming out of this workshop is word that a virtual Gallium3D driver is coming, which will allow Gallium3D to run within a virtualized environment. It's looking like there will be this Gallium3D driver that can run within a VMware guest virtual machine and then take advantage of the state trackers on the host machine whether it be providing hardware-acceleration for OpenGL, OpenGL ES, OpenVG, OpenCL, etc. We're also thinking now that it's even more likely a Direct3D 9/10 state tracker will be made available too.
We like hearing about performance improvements for Linux and also Linux graphics in general, but when there's something about performance improvements for Linux graphics, it certainly gets us excited and garners our interest. This time we get to report on work being done to Mesa's GLSL compiler, which is now running drastically faster in a branch of Mesa that will be published in about a week.
797 Mesa news articles published on Phoronix.