Mesa Made Massive Progress In 2018 On Open-Source Vulkan / OpenGL Drivers

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 26 December 2018 at 08:06 AM EST. Add A Comment
Mesa had another wild year with countless improvements to the multiple vendor OpenGL/Vulkan drivers, continued improvements by Valve and other companies to make these drivers better for Linux gaming, the Meson build system support took shape, new Intel and AMD Radeon graphics support was punctually added, and many other milestones achieved.

Besides showing things like how the RADV Vulkan performance evolved in 2018, in this article is a look at the most-viewed Mesa news on Phoronix for this calendar year if you wish to relive all the exciting highlights.

For as great Mesa achievements were in 2018 for open-source Linux graphics drivers, two notable items stand out that didn't materialize for the year... There still is no working Vulkan driver for Nouveau (open-source NVIDIA) and the RadeonSI/i965 OpenGL drivers this year didn't cross the OpenGL 4.6 milestone. Intel still has a lot of GL 4.6 patches pending but not yet merged. The SPIR-V support in the OpenGL drivers is a big undertaking but hopefully in H1'2019 we'll finally see OpenGL 4.6 crossed off the list for these main Linux desktop OpenGL drivers.

Of the 271 original Mesa-related news articles on Phoronix this month, here is a look back at the 20 most popular items for showing the major advancements and features tacked on for 2018.

Mesa Can Finally Build With Almost No Compiler Warnings
Quite a feat for modern open-source projects with large C/C++ code-bases developed over the years, Mesa3D can almost be compiled now without any warnings -- there's just one remaining.

Mesa 18.2.3 Coming This Week With Fixes/Workarounds For Several Steam Play Games
Igalia's Juan Suarez Romero as the Mesa 18.2 series release manager is putting the finishing touches on the 18.2.3 point release to benefit Steam Play / Proton / Wine games.

The New Features Coming In Mesa 18.1: Intel Cache By Default, Many Vulkan Strides
While Mesa 18.0 was just released a little over one month ago, Mesa 18.1 is already gearing up for release this month after going through two release candidates already. Here's a look at the new features of this second quarter 2018 Mesa 3D update.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood - Latest Steam Play Game On Linux Receiving Mesa Fix
While the Mesa OpenGL/Vulkan drivers have matured into great shape particularly over the past two years for vastly improving the Linux gaming experience on Radeon and Intel hardware, with Valve's Steam Play allowing more Windows games on Linux via Proton/Wine has opened up Mesa to needing a lot more optimizations, workarounds, and dealing with other intricacies. The latest receiving the special treatment is Wolfenstein: The Old Blood.

OpenGL Floating Point Textures No Longer Encumbered By Patents, Enabled In Mesa
Back in 2012 when talking with Gabe Newell of Valve about open-source/Linux challenges one of the topics he was awed about was patents encumbering the open-source graphics driver progress. Six years later, Timothy Arceri working on the Valve Linux graphics driver team has freed Mesa's ARB_texture_float support from being built conditionally due to these patent fears.

AMD Kaveri Gets A Big Performance Boost With Mesa 18.2 & AMDGPU DRM
When using the latest Git/development code of Mesa 18.2 on Kaveri APUs you may find up to a 2x increase in performance if you are using the AMDGPU DRM driver rather than the default Radeon DRM driver.

A Valve Linux Developer Managed Another Small Performance Optimization For RADV
The RADV Vulkan driver performance on the latest Mesa Git code is already looking quite good compared to the NVIDIA Vulkan Linux performance and even the Vulkan driver on Radeon Software under Windows. But the game is not over for the never-ending process of tuning the driver for optimal performance.

Mesa 18.2 Is On The Final Days Of Development With Many New Features Coming
Mesa 18.2 is going to be branched at the end of the month to mark the end of feature development for this quarterly Mesa feature release. This is a few weeks later than originally scheduled and has allowed for some extra features to land. Here is a look at some of the Mesa 18.2 changes on the way.

Mesa 18.2.1 Is Coming This Week With Dozens Of Fixes
As the first stable point release to the newly-christened Mesa 18.2, the Mesa 18.2.1 release is going to be a big one.

Mesa 18.1 Released With Intel Shader Cache Default, OpenGL 3.1 ARB_compatibility
First time Mesa release manager Dylan Baker has managed to release Mesa 18.1 on time as the Q2'2018 quarterly update to this OpenGL/Vulkan driver stack.

AMD's Marek Olšák Is Dominating Mesa Open-Source GPU Driver Development This Year
With Q3 coming towards an end, here is a fresh look at the Mesa Git development trends for the year-to-date. Mesa on a commit basis is significantly lower than in previous years, but there is a new top contributor to Mesa.

Mesa 18.3 Released With Intel & Radeon Vulkan Driver Improvements, New GPU Support
Mesa 18.3 is now available as the latest quarterly feature update to these open-source OpenGL and Vulkan graphics drivers for Linux.

Mesa 18.2.1 Released With A Number Of Fixes For The Vulkan Drivers
Mesa 18.2.1 is out this morning as the first stable point release to the recently introduced Mesa 18.2 series. Mesa 18.2.1 marks the point at which it should be relatively safe for stable-minded users to switch over to this quarterly release stream.

Mesa 18.2 Released With Vega 20 Support, OpenGL 4.4 Compat Profile & A Lot More
Following a few delays that pushed back its release date from August to ultimately today, Mesa 18.2 is out as this third-quarter 2018 update to the Mesa3D graphics driver stack most commonly associated with the Linux desktop's open-source Vulkan/OpenGL drivers for Intel, Radeon, and Nouveau (as well as many smaller drivers).

More Intel ARB_gl_spirv Code Lands In Mesa, But Still Not Ready To Finish Up OpenGL 4.6
The end of July marks one year since the release of OpenGL 4.6 but sadly it doesn't look like the Mesa drivers will meet that anniversary for having working open-source OpenGL 4.6 compliance in the mainline Mesa code-base.

RadeonSI Fast Color Clears Should Now Be Even Faster
Prolific Radeon Mesa contributor Marek Olšák of AMD started off his Sunday by posting another set of RadeonSI driver patches.

10-bit Color Visual Support Lands In Mesa
Mario Kleiner's work on plumbing Mesa for handling 10-bit colors has landed in Mesa 17.4-dev Git.

Mesa 18.2 Should Now Be Clear For Releasing With Its Many OpenGL/Vulkan Improvements
Mesa 18.2 ended up having two unscheduled release candidates due to open blocker bugs, but those issues have been cleared up and so this official quarterly update should be launching soon.

Mesa Gets Patch For Official Intel Whiskey Lake Support
Back in June there was the initial Whiskey Lake support for the Intel DRM kernel driver ahead of the Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake announcement from late August. Now there is formal Whiskey Lake support for Intel's Mesa code.

Mesa 18.0 Officially Released With Plenty Of OpenGL & Vulkan Improvements
Mesa 18.0 managed to meet its Q1'2018 release target by just a couple of days... After being delayed a month and a half, Mesa 18.0.0 is now the latest stable version of this user-space driver stack most commonly associated with its OpenGL and Vulkan implementations.
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Michael Larabel

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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