Mesa 18.2 Is Releasing Soon With Many OpenGL / Vulkan Driver Improvements

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 21 August 2018 at 05:47 AM EDT. 17 Comments
Mesa 18.2.0 is expected to be released in the days ahead as the latest quarterly feature release to this collection of open-source user-space graphics driver components. As has been the case each quarter for particularly the past few years, these timed quarterly releases are quite feature-packed.

As a reminder of some of what you can expect to see in Mesa 18.2, highlights of these Linux graphics driver updates include:

- ASTC texture compression support for RadeonSI and can also be easily hooked up by the other Gallium drivers.

- OpenGL 4.3 for VirGL for dealing with GPU acceleration in guest VMs with VirtIO and the VirGL renderer.

- Vulkan display extensions were merged for the ANV/RADV drivers with these extensions to be used by SteamVR on Linux. This is part of Keith Packard's long ongoing VR infrastructure improvements to Linux/X.Org/Mesa.

- Vega 20 GPU support in its initial stage and also goes along with the latest AMDGPU Linux kernel DRM enablement that appears to be in good shape with Linux 4.19. AMD has yet to formally introduce this 7nm Vega GPU expected for workstation / deep learning use-cases.

- New extensions for the RADV driver like 16-bit storage.

- OpenGL 4.4 compatibility profile support for the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver, a big update over the previous OpenGL 3.1 compat profile limitations. Besides helping out workstation applications and other select applications/games relying upon this alternative to the OpenGL core profile, it should help some games on Wine too.

- OpenGL ES 3.2 is supported now by RadeonSI and VirGL. RadeonSI also supports the GL_ANDROID_extension_pack_es31a extension.

- V3D Gallium3D is enabled by default for this driver formerly known as VC5. There have also been many OpenGL ES conformance and performance improvements too for this driver.

- RADV also now has faster LLVM shader compilation as well as minor CPU overhead reductions.

- Several RadeonSI performance tweaks/optimizations over the span of various patches.

- The Mesa shader cache now supports RadeonSI compute shaders.

- RadeonSI EQAA anti-aliasing support is the latest AA mode supported.

- A performance boost for older AMD Kaveri APUs, among other AMD Radeon performance tuning.

- Raven Ridge performance optimizations thanks to binning and other performance improvements particularly helping GFX9/Vega class graphics hardware.

- The Intel ANV Vulkan driver now has 8-bit storage support and other Vulkan extension work.

- The ANV driver can now yield playable frame-rates for Skyrim with the DXVK layer on Wine thanks to various ANV improvements.

- Continued Intel work on OpenGL SPIR-V support albeit the necessary SPIR-V extensions for OpenGL 4.6 aren't ready in time for Mesa 18.2.

- Various NIR optimizations to this increasingly used intermediate representation by the different Mesa drivers.

- Various DXVK improvements.

- Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D has multi-sampled images support for Maxwell and newer.

- Freedreno performance counters for A5xx hardware.

- The Gallium HUD has a new frametime graph capability.

Mesa 18.2-RC4 is expected tomorrow or could even be v18.2.0 if the developers are feeling confident. But otherwise this quarterly feature update can be expected to debut over the next week or so unless some pesky bugs are uncovered. Mesa 18.3 meanwhile is already under development on Git master as the Q4'2018 feature update.
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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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