The 12 Big New Features Of Mesa 12.0

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 31 May 2016 at 07:39 AM EDT. 9 Comments
With Mesa 12 now having been branched with plans to release next month, the code is under a feature freeze as developers turn to fixing bugs ahead of this stable release. With no more major features planned, here's an overview of the new features for Mesa 12.0.

Mesa 12.0 is quite a big release as for this three-month release they have almost double the amount of new code as from earlier releases. Some of the prominent highlights for Mesa 12.0 (up until yesterday, this release was known as Mesa 11.3) include:

- OpenGL 4.3 is now available for Intel i965 (with Broadwell hardware and newer), Nouveau NVC0 (for Fermi and Kepler), and RadeonSI (when using LLVM 3.9 SVN). This is quite the big leap forward, particularly for the Intel driver that up to now only offered OpenGL 3.3 support. Many of these drivers are also close to OpenGL 4.4~4.5, which should be reached for the next Mesa release due out in September.

- On a related note, OpenGL ES 3.1 functionality is now exposed on Nouveau NVC0 and RadeonSI.

- Intel's Vulkan driver has landed. The Intel Anvil/Anv Vulkan driver is part of this Mesa release with having been mainlined in Git.

- OpenGL performance improvements for Intel Skylake as well as with Broadwell hardware too.

- RadeonSI OpenGL performance improvements too, including much faster tessellation performance, new texture copy code, and more.

- DRI3 video support in the VA-API and VDPAU Gallium3D state trackers.

- Many Gallium3D "Nine" improvements for Direct3D 9 support on Linux for use by optional Wine patches.

- The new interoperability interface worked out by AMD as part of their hybrid driver architecture.

- AMD Polaris support is present in RadeonSI. For this next-gen AMD GPU support you'll also need to be running a Linux 4.7+ kernel, newer LLVM, and obviously updated libdrm too.

- HEVC Main 10 profile support was added to the Radeon UVD code.

- Intel's OpenSWR software rasterizer has landed in Mesa as another software-based GPU option to Softpipe and LLVMpipe.

- Many bug fixes.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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