Zink OpenGL-On-Vulkan Making Progress On Windows, X-Plane Looking To Use It

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 20 April 2022 at 07:36 PM EDT. 14 Comments
There is some exciting progress around Zink as the OpenGL 4.6 implementation built atop Vulkan APIs for generally quite performant OpenGL-on-Vulkan acceleration... Zink with the recently-merged Kopper code is even beginning to work on Windows and Laminar Research is hoping to use Zink for the next major X-Plane release!

X-Plane's Sidney Just has been working with Mike Blumenkrantz and upstream Mesa developers on enabling Zink on Windows. With the recently merged Kopper code for offering native WSI (windowing system integration) handling and other improvements, Sidney has been working to get Zink running properly on Windows.

Sidney today opened a Mesa pull request adding Windows WGL support for Kopper. With this latest code, Zink is running on Windows at "full speed" with proper windowing system integration. This is also the first hardware-accelerated OpenGL 4.6-capable Mesa driver running natively on Windows.

It turns out the X-Plane developers are interested in using Zink as their OpenGL back-end with X-Plane 12. While X-Plane recently added native Vulkan support, X-Plane does rely on OpenGL still for various X-Plane plug-ins in rendering of certain elements like custom avionic screens. Currently X-Plane 11 is relying on driver OpenGL/Vulkan interoperability extensions to achieve the GL/VLK rendering, but for some platforms the interop extensions are non-existent or buggy.

X-Plane features native Vulkan support but still relies on OpenGL for maintaining compatibility with the flight simulator plug-ins.

With X-Plane 12 as the next major release of this realistic flight simulator the hope is to ship it with Zink as the OpenGL back-end for use by plug-ins and going through that when in need of GL rendering support. That avoids buggy OpenGL drivers / interoperability extensions lacking.

More details on Mike's blog for this notable milestone and exciting planned use for Zink, which also leads to the work for making sure Zink can work well on Windows in addition to Linux.
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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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