Mesa Enjoyed A Record-Setting Year With Intel G3D Default, RADV ACO, Faster Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 1 January 2021 at 06:43 AM EST. 1 Comment
MESA --
2020 was easily the best year yet for Mesa with this collection of open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers seeing timely new hardware support, Intel's OpenGL support defaulting to Iris Gallium3D, the Radeon Vulkan (RADV) driver adding and defaulting to the ACO compiler back-end, many performance optimizations throughout, timely new GPU hardware support, and a lot more!

Particularly around the open-source Intel and AMD Radeon graphics support the past year was super exciting with all that happened. But there was also a lot of work to the smaller drivers as well like Freedreno / TURNIP, Panfrost, and others. The V3DV Raspberry Pi Vulkan driver also went mainline in Mesa this year after crossing the Vulkan 1.0 threshold. Zink also took shape for OpenGL over Vulkan and other Mesa infrastructure improvements too. Microsoft's work on Mesa also saw lots of upstream changes.

Mesa is now up to roughly 3.4 million lines of code built up over 132k commits from more than one thousand different developers.


Mesa had the most commits ever in a single year during 2020 coming in at 12,944 commits! That's around 700 more than their previous peak year back in 2010. Mesa in 2020 saw 880k lines of code added and 519k lines of code removed.


The most prolific contributor to Mesa in 2020 was Alyssa Rosenzweig with the Panfrost driver. The other top contributors of 2020 include Marek Olšák, Jason Ekstrand, Samuel Pitoiset, Eric Anholt, and Rhys Perry. Mesa saw around 238 developers contributing last year, which is on par with prior years.

Looking back at the most popular Phoronix stories on Mesa in 2020, they include:

Mesa 20.0 Now Defaults To The New Intel Gallium3D Driver For Faster OpenGL
After missing their original target of transitioning to Intel Gallium3D by default for Mesa 19.3 as the preferred OpenGL Linux driver on Intel graphics hardware, this milestone has now been reached for Mesa 20.0!

A Slew Of ACO Optimizations For The Radeon Vulkan Driver Landed In Mesa 20.0
The Valve-backed ACO compiler back-end that is optionally used by the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver has continued growing in popularity with Linux gamers and also has continued maturing a lot for Mesa 20.0 that is due out later this quarter.

Mesa 20.0 Released With Big Improvements For Intel, AMD Radeon Vulkan/OpenGL
Mesa 20.0 is now released as the first quarter 2020 update to the Mesa 3D open-source graphics driver stack.

Mesa 20.0 Feature Development Is Ending Next Week
Mesa developers are planning to end feature work on Mesa 20.0 next week as this first quarter update to the Mesa 3D graphics stack.

Raspberry Pi 4 V3D Driver Reaches OpenGL ES 3.1 Conformance
The V3D Gallium3D driver that most notably offers the open-source graphics support for the Raspberry Pi 4 is now an official OpenGL ES 3.1 implementation.

Imagination Working On A New Open-Source Linux Graphics Driver Project
While many in the Linux community still cringe when hearing Imagination Tech's PowerVR given the troubling state of their graphics drivers over the years, in 2020 it looks like they are pursuing a new open-source graphics driver project.

RADV ACO Can Now Handle More Shaders With Mesa 20.1-devel
Prolific ACO shader compiler back-end developer Timur Kristóf has managed to land his latest improvements in Mesa 20.1-devel for this alternative to the AMDGPU LLVM back-end supported so far by the RADV Vulkan driver.

Mesa's Continuous Integration To Begin Seeing Testing Coverage For Wine / DXVK
In hopefully meaning less regressions moving forward for DXVK with the latest open-source Vulkan drivers, the Mesa continuous integration (CI) infrastructure saw support added for playing DirectX (DXGI) traces with DXVK/Wine.

Mesa 20.1 Lands OpenGL Threading Improvements
Mesa's OpenGL threading "glthread" support has been around for a while but come Mesa 20.1 next quarter will be further improvements to this performance feature.

AMD's Marek Olšák Lands Even More OpenGL Threading Improvements Into Mesa 20.1
One month ago to the day I was writing about OpenGL threading improvements for Mesa 20.1 and since then more "GLTHREAD" work has materialized and successfully landed for improving the Mesa OpenGL driver performance.

Mesa's RADV Vulkan Driver Adding Compatibility For Use With The AMD Radeon GPU Profiler
To date the Mesa "RADV" Radeon Vulkan driver hasn't supported AMD's GPUOpen Radeon GPU Profiler but that is changing.

Mesa 20.1's RADV Lands More Performance Improvements For Recent id Tech Games
A number of recent id Tech games (though seemingly not DOOM Eternal) have seen another performance optimization with Mesa 20.1's RADV Radeon Vulkan driver.

Mesa 20.0.1 Released With First Batch Of OpenGL/Vulkan Driver Fixes For The Quarter
Following the release of Mesa 20.0 in mid-February, the first point release to this quarter's Mesa 3D feature series is now available.

NIR Vectorization Lands In Mesa 20.1 For Big Intel Graphics Performance Boost
The recently covered NIR vectorization pass ported from AMD's ACO back-end for improving the open-source Intel Linux graphics performance has landed now in Mesa 20.1.

Panfrost Gallium3D Driver Seeing New "BIR" Compiler
The Panfrost open-source, reverse-engineered Arm Mali Gallium3D driver is seeing work on a new driver-specific IR and compiler back-end.

AMD ACO Backend Implements 8-bit / 16-bit Storage Capabilities - Needed For DOOM Eternal
It's been another busy week for Mesa's RADV Vulkan driver with the Valve-backed ACO compiler back-end alternative to AMDGPU LLVM.

RADV Vulkan Driver Adds Option For Zeroing Out Video Memory
New to Mesa 20.1-devel is a new option for the Radeon Vulkan "RADV" driver to enable zeroing out video memory allocations.

Mesa OpenGL Threading Enabled For More Games Yielding Sizable Performance Jumps
Well known open-source AMD OpenGL driver developer Marek Olšák has enabled more Linux games to run with Mesa's GLTHREAD functionality enabled for helping with the performance.

AMD ACO Begins Using Navi NGG For Tessellation + Vertex Shaders
The AMD "ACO" compiler backed by Valve for offering a faster shader compiler back-end than AMDGPU LLVM for the RADV open-source Radeon Vulkan driver has begun making use of Navi's NGG "Next-Gen Geometry" hardware.

Zink Is Moving Closer To OpenGL 3.0 Support Over Vulkan
Zink was one of the Mesa/Gallium3D innovations that saw mainline status in 2019 for offering OpenGL support atop Vulkan hardware drivers. While an interesting approach, so far only the dated OpenGL 2.1 support has been exposed but the Collabora-led effort is closing in on OpenGL 3.0 capabilities.
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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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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