LunarGLASS Shader Compiler Stack Is Still In Development
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 4 February 2017 at 10:45 AM EST. 8 Comments
When writing this week about ILO Gallium3D being dropped from mainline Mesa, a Phoronix reader asked if LunarGLASS would be the next thing to be removed from Mesa... But LunarGLASS never made it to mainline Mesa, though it still is in development.

LunarGLASS is the multi-year project out of LunarG for creating an advanced shader compiler stack using LLVM IR. LunarGLASS origins date back to 2010 and there's been out-of-tree patches for tieing it into Mesa. The focus was on reducing the number of different intermediate representations used by drivers and instead centralize around LLVM IR for GLSL, OpenCL, etc.

We've written about LunarGLASS a number of times over the years, but it never ended up making it to mainline Mesa, thus is not in threat of being dropped from mainline Mesa like the experimental ILO driver. One of the most recent times we had written about LunarGLASS was back in 2015 when they were working on experimental SPIR-V support, the Khronos IR used by Vulkan, OpenCL 2.1+, and can also be interfaced with via OpenGL extensions.

When being reminded this week about LunarGLASS, I was pleasantly surprised to see there still is some development activity happening. Via LunarGLASS on GitHub there still is some activity with the most recent commits being from two weeks ago.

The project with 950 commits is self-described as "LLVM IR and optimizer for shaders, including front-end adapters for GLSL and SPIR-V and back-end adapter for GLSL." Within the tree there still are patches for integrating the support with Mesa.

Unfortunately, while the project is still being maintained, the website is no longer active. The goals for LunarGLASS remain to reduce the development burden for creating advanced shader compiler stacks and increasing the level of optimizations achieved by real-world applications/games. Hit up the project repository if wishing to learn more about this experimental compiler stack using LLVM IR for GLSL and SPIR-V.
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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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