Ubuntu 16.10 Isn't Shipping Vulkan Support By Default

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 28 September 2016 at 03:28 PM EDT. 10 Comments
With Ubuntu 16.10 being right around the corner you may be wondering about its support for Vulkan. Here's my experience when trying out today's Ubuntu 16.10 "beta 2" release and looking for Vulkan support.

Ubuntu 16.10 isn't shipping with Vulkan support installed by default. This is while Ubuntu 16.10 is making use of Mesa 12.0 and with that release was the Intel "ANV" Vulkan Linux driver as part of Mesa. However, there is the Intel Mesa Vulkan driver support available via the Universe repository.

If you simply install the mesa-vulkan-drivers package on Ubuntu, you will have access to the Intel Mesa Vulkan driver (currently v12.0.3). Also on Ubuntu 16.10 within the universe repository is libvulkan-dev to provide the Vulkan headers (currently based on Vulkan 1.0.21) and libvulkan1 for the common loader library and then vulkan-utils provides the vulkaninfo command.

So there's no support out-of-the-box for Vulkan on Ubuntu 16.10, but at least it's within easy reach now for the Yakkety Yak. Hopefully by the time more Linux games are shipping with Vulkan support, we'll see it shipping by default on future Ubuntu releases. There is also the matter in Ubuntu-land of still waiting on Vulkan Mir support, something originally talked about for Ubuntu 16.04 and two years after Canonical joined The Khronos Group.

If you are a Linux gamer or enthusiast, the mesa-vulkan-drivers package probably won't be too exciting though since it's based on the four-month-old Mesa 12.0 and Ubuntu 16.10 won't get the next Mesa release. Thus with third-party PPAs like Padoka, you can still get the Intel Vulkan driver (including on Ubuntu 16.04) while enjoying Mesa Git for the very latest Vulkan support. Hopefully we'll see the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver merged into mainline Mesa too, thereby providing greater purpose for the graphics PPAs over this default package.

For binary driver users, the nvidia-367 package on Ubuntu 16.10 has the NVIDIA 367.44 driver with Vulkan support. For AMDGPU-PRO, it's currently not packaged in the Yakkety archive.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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