Intel Wants You To Help Test The i965 Mesa Shader Cache, Not Yet Enabled By Default
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 6 December 2017 at 05:08 AM EST. 7 Comments
Back in early November Intel finally landed its shader cache support for allowing GLSL shaders to be cached on-disk similar to the RadeonSI shader caching that has been present since earlier in the year. But this functionality isn't yet enabled by default as it still needs more testing.

Last month I covered some early test results of this Intel i965 Mesa shader on-disk cache within Intel's Mesa GLSL Shader Cache Is Speeding Up Game Load Times. In my experiences thus far it's been working out well but currently isn't used by the Intel driver unless the MESA_GLSL_CACHE_DISABLE=0 environment variable is set.

This Mesa-dev discussion has been reignited about whether to turn on the i965 Mesa shader cache by default. There is some differing views by Intel developers about whether this feature is fully-baked and bug-free, the cost of continuous integration testing of the shader cache due to the need for multiple runs, etc.

The next Mesa release, Mesa 18.0, won't be released until mid-to-late February or early March. Thus if enabling the cache by default now there is a few months of forced test coverage, but there isn't agreement over that yet. We'll see what happens and if the Mesa shader cache is at least temporarily flipped on.

If you are riding Mesa Git and want to test, just set the MESA_GLSL_CACHE_DISABLE=0 environment variable and report in if by chance you expose any new bugs.
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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 or contacted via

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