Mesa 7.3 Released, Gallium3D Landing Soon

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 22 January 2009. Page 1 of 1. 7 Comments

Four months after Mesa 7.2 was released, Mesa 7.3 has now officially surfaced. Mesa 7.3 has been in testing since earlier this month with it having gone through three release candidates. The new features found in this latest version of the standard Open-Source OpenGL stack is proper support for GLSL 1.20 and the Intel DRI driver now supports the Graphics Execution Manager and Direct Rendering Infrastructure 2.

The GEM and DRI2 support in Mesa 7.3 is for Intel graphics but we should find this level of support coming to the ATI Radeon DRI driver followed by the Nouveau driver later on for NVIDIA hardware. To use GEM with Mesa 7.3 you will need a supported Linux kernel (it was initially merged for the Linux 2.6.28 kernel) as well as a supported xf86-video-intel driver (such as the latest 2.6 series). Regardless of using GEM, a newer version of the Direct Rendering Manager code is also required (v2.4.3 or later).

Some of the fixes found in Mesa 7.3 include various GL Shading Language bug fixes, Intel i965 driver fixes, a fix in the WGL/Windows driver, build fixes for OpenBSD and GCC 2.95, GLSL preprocessor now handling #pragma, an incorrect transformation of GL_SPOT_DIRECTION, fixes in glXMakeContextCurrent(), and assorted Windows build fixes.

Between Mesa 7.2 and Mesa 7.3 there were over 1,200 files changed with over 45,800 lines of new code and nearly 36,200 lines of deleted code for the difference (as measured by Git). In comparison to other recent Mesa updates, this update is a bit smaller especially considering there are over 1.1 million lines of code total within the Mesa tree. Between Mesa 7.0 and Mesa 7.1, for instance, there was over 128,000 lines of new code and 142,000 deletions.

In time for the round of distribution updates this spring will be Mesa 7.4. Mesa 7.4 is based upon the Mesa 7.3 work, but with it being an even-numbered release it will just include fixes that land following today's release of Mesa 7.3. All major development efforts are now going to be focused on Mesa 7.5. What Mesa doesn't yet support is OpenGL 3.0 / GLSL 1.30.

Looking forward to Mesa 7.5 we will hopefully see the arrival of Gallium3D. Gallium3D has been in development for a long while by Tungsten Graphics (now owned by VMware) and is the new architecture for developing graphics drivers. Gallium3D is centered on 3D graphics for OpenGL and other APIs, but work is underway in making it support 2D acceleration as well as video support. In addition to a host of other benefits, Gallium3D will significantly simplify driver development and once optimized it should allow for better performance on Linux.

We previously shared that Gallium3D will soon be entering the mainline Mesa code. The Gallium v0.2 branch is what will be merged to master now that Mesa 7.4 has been branched from the mainline Mesa tree, which will make for an exciting next couple of months in the Linux graphics world. There are Gallium3D drivers under development for Intel, ATI, and NVIDIA (through the Nouveau project) with each of them working to various extents. Mesa 7.5/7.6 should be out later this year with Gallium3D and other new features.

For those interested in downloading the Mesa 7.3 source package, head on over to The (short) release announcement can be found on the Mesa mailing list. Stay tuned for more Linux graphics news.

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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