Following yesterday's article comparing the AMD Radeon Linux drivers on Ubuntu 12.10, Marek Olšák looked into some of the cases where the open-source Radeon Gallium3D driver was much slower than the proprietary Catalyst driver. Already with one patch that touches only two dozen lines of code, Marek was able to quadruple the open-source driver frame-rate for at least one game.
OpenGL support is becoming an increasing hard requirement on the Linux desktop. Even if your hardware comes up short, more desktops are requiring GL support, which means falling back to the CPU-based LLVMpipe Gallium3D driver.
For those Intel Sandy Bridge owners wondering if there's any worthwhile performance improvements when upgrading from Ubuntu 12.10 with Mesa 9.0 and the Linux 3.5 kernel up to the early Mesa 9.1-devel state with the Linux 3.7 Git kernel, here are some benchmarks.
While this morning I shared my views about nine good features of Mesa 9.0 for the major open-source OpenGL user-space update, there's also many disappointing items and shortcomings of this Mesa 9.0 release as it pertains to end-users running the open-source Linux graphics drivers.
With Mesa 9.0 having been released last night and in continuing in a similar manner to eight good things about Mesa 8.0 and eight shortcomings about Mesa 8.0 from its release, let's start off with nine good things about Mesa 9.0.
After facing some delays, Mesa 9.0 was released on Monday afternoon as the latest bi-annual feature release of this important open-source OpenGL driver stack. This is also the first release that supports OpenGL 3.1, albeit the hardware support is currently limited to the Intel DRI driver.
Ian Romanick of Intel has shared his revised plans for releasing Mesa 9.0.
On the last day of XDC2012, plans for the future OpenGL Linux ABI began to be plotted. This was quite an interesting discussion that's certainly worth watching.
The latest work by Marek Olšák is a major rework to the way that blitting is handled by graphics drivers on the Gallium3D architecture.
The Linux OpenGL stack along with the upstream OpenGL specification has been evolving at a fast pace in recent years. There was recently some discussion within the Khronos camp for updating the guide for how to implement OpenGL support on Linux and it's been decided it will be talked about next week at XDC2012. To get the ball rolling for planning out a new Linux OpenGL ABI, NVIDIA has published a proposal.
Vincent Lejeune has shared a new Mesa branch that he's currently soliciting for comments as it introduces a new GLSL to LLVM pass. He hopes drivers will begin to use it, including the Intel driver with their new-found LLVM compiler ambitions.
Patches for supporting OpenGL Geometry Shaders within Mesa/Gallium3D are said to be published soon, which is a big step that will make Mesa closer to supporting the OpenGL 3.2 specification.
The VA-API state tracker for Mesa's Gallium3D is set to be removed since it's fallen into disrepair without active maintenance.
The Direct3D 10/11 state tracker for Mesa's Gallium3D has basically fallen into an unfortunate and unusable state.
While PRIME offloading has finally materialized and will be set when X.Org Server 1.13 is released, a new client-side GPU offloading implementation has now surfaced. Primus is a small lightweight GPU offloading implementation written in about 500 lines of code.
Intel OTC developers that generally have been providing most of the new OpenGL functionality within Mesa have shared their views this week that they will not be implementing the GL_ARB_compatibility extension within the open-source project.
While VMware's VMWGFX graphics driver has been deemed stable for months, only now with the Mesa DRM library is the driver support being built by default.
Support for OpenVMS is set to be removed from Mesa due to lack of maintainership in four years and trimming out the OpenVMS can shave just over two thousand lines of code.
The code branching of the next Mesa release -- what was going to be known as Mesa 8.1 but is now being called Mesa 9.0 -- is being delayed by a few days to allow time for some last-minute features to land.
Marek Olšák, the prolific independent contributor to Mesa/Gallium3D and the open-source Radeon Linux graphics driver, has landed a number of commits today in Mesa pertaining to MSAA, a.k.a. multi-sample anti-aliasing for newer Radeon GPUs.
With OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenGL 4.3 there is now mandatory texture compression support in the form of ETC2, the Ericsson Texture Compression method.
The OpenGL ES 3.0 specification was released earlier this week at SIGGRAPH 2012. The slides from the OpenGL ES BoF session have now surfaced with more perspective on this latest Khronos standard targeting OpenGL on mobile devices.
Well, there isn't a major Mesa release happening this month as was originally planned. There also isn't going to be a Mesa 8.1 release. Instead, Mesa 9.0 will be released in September.
If you aren't satisfied with seeing Mesa lag far behind the latest OpenGL standard and come up short when in the areas of performance and features compared to some of the proprietary graphics drivers, they always welcome additional help.
While the OpenGL 4.3 specification was just released (along with OpenGL ES 3.0), there's already a beta NVIDIA Linux proprietary driver supporting this latest desktop graphics API from Khronos. AMD will also soon be released a Catalyst beta with the GL 4.3 / GLSL 4.30 support. However, the open-source Mesa support will still be a ways out.
While the open-source Linux graphics drivers may not be up to scratch with the proprietary Linux graphics drivers from NVIDIA and AMD in terms of features, power efficiency, and performance, Linux isn't the only operating system with less than desirable OpenGL drivers. I've been surprised by the OpenGL issues under OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion" with the Retina MacBook Pro.
Haiku OS, the open-source operating system that's a re-implementation of BeOS, is continuing to look at leveraging more of Mesa for its 3D/OpenGL rendering.
There was exciting OpenGL 3/4 news yesterday for Mesa when it came to early but yet-to-be-merged support for OpenGL geometry shaders, but that's not all the new Mesa GL news this week. Patches were also published to provide support for OpenGL Core contexts for OpenGL 3.1 and newer.
An exciting message hit the Mesa mailing list on Friday morning concerning support for OpenGL geometry shaders.
If you have an AVX-enabled processor like Intel's Sandy/Ivy Bridge or AMD's Bulldozer, there's some good news should you be relying upon Mesa's Gallium3D LLVMpipe driver.
877 Mesa news articles published on Phoronix.