Mesa 21.0 Has Finally Killed The Classic "SWRAST" Software Rasterizer

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 31 December 2020 at 12:00 AM EST. 1 Comment
For years LLVMpipe has been around as a superior software-based OpenGL implementation for those without a working GPU / hardware driver support or needing to test a bit of GL code along a vendor-neutral path. LLVMpipe thanks to leveraging LLVM is more performant than the traditional Mesa software rasterizer or similar avenues like Softpipe. Finally as we hit 2021, SWRAST has been removed from the Mesa code-base.

Earlier this month Mesa 21.0 dropped the classic OSMesa code while for ending out the year Red Hat's Adam Jackson has removed the classic software rasterizer.

Jackson noted, "Following up from the classic swrast OSMesa removal in favor of llvmpipe/softpipe, remove the classic swrast DRI driver. It's unused by any distribution -- debian was the last holdout until this week, which had it enabled instead of softpipe on obscure platforms (non-LLVM and hurd). Now that debian has switched, remove the driver so nobody can accidentally enable it again."

SWRAST shouldn't be missed by anyone in 2021 with LLVMpipe being far superior or Softpipe if on an obscure platform lacking proper LLVM support. Mesa 21.0 with this and other changes should be out in March.
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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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