Mesa 12.0 Released With OpenGL 4.3 Support, Intel Vulkan & Many Other Features

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 8 July 2016. Page 1 of 1. 27 Comments

While it's coming late, the huge Mesa 12.0 release is now official! Mesa 12.0 is easily one of the biggest updates to this important open-source user-space OpenGL driver stack in quite some time and will offer much better support and features especially for Intel, Radeon, and NVIDIA open-source Linux desktop users/gamers.

First of all, the open-source Intel driver is no longer living in an OpenGL 3.3 world but with this release is now able to expose OpenGL 4.3. This OpenGL 4.x support is currently for Intel Broadwell hardware and newer with the Haswell / Ivy Bridge support still being worked on. For the next Mesa release, the Intel driver should be at OpenGL 4.5 for at least Broadwell and newer too.

The Nouveau NVC0 driver for Fermi/Kepler/Maxwell has also advanced to supporting OpenGL 4.3 (from GL 4.1) along with the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver for AMD GCN GPUs also supporting OpenGL 4.3. They too are closing in on OpenGL 4.5 support that will hopefully be wired in for the next stable Mesa release in September. The NVC0 and RadeonSI drivers also now support OpenGL ES 3.1 for those interested in the mobile contexts.

In addition to advancing the GL4 support, Mesa 12.0 also mainlines the Intel Vulkan open-source driver. Intel's Vulkan driver is part of Mesa and currently supporting Ivy Bridge hardware and newer. This Vulkan driver should be good enough for being able to run the Vulkan-rendered Dota 2 and Talos Principle on Linux.

Some other features include GLVND GLX/OpenGL support for NVIDIA's OpenGL Vendor Neutral Dispatch Library. Once all the Linux OpenGL drivers are playing nicely with GLVND, this new OpenGL ABI will make it much easier for multiple drivers to co-exist on the same system and allow for other improvements too.

A new driver to Mesa 12.0 is the Intel-backed OpenSWR software rasterizer that aims for higher performance over LLVMpipe and has been coming together nicely over the past few months.

Mesa 12.0 also has DRI3 support for VDPAU/OpenMAX/VA-API and numerous other additions and new features. See my many Mesa 12.0 articles and benchmarks for more information on this release. If you are riding a rolling-release distribution, Mesa 12.0 will likely be hitting shortly otherwise expect for Mesa 12.0 to land in the fall Linux distribution updates like Fedora 25 and Ubuntu 16.10. Mesa 12.1 development already has been going on quite well too, should you be adventurous and want to run with the bleeding-edge open-source OpenGL driver code.

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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 TwitterLinkedIn,> or contacted via