The OpenGL 3.0 specification was announced in August of 2007 and has already been succeeded by OpenGL 3.1, OpenGL 3.2, and then earlier this year came OpenGL 3.3 and OpenGL 4.0. While the 3.0 revision to this industry standard graphics API has been around for nearly three years, it's still not fully supported by the open-source Mesa graphics stack. Progress though is being made.
Besides a VDPAU state tracker for Gallium3D having emerged in the past couple of days, a new Gallium3D driver called "Galahad" has been committed to the Mesa mainline repository and has been worked on over the past week.
Committed to a branch of the Mesa repository over the weekend is an initial Gallium3D state tracker for providing VDPAU support. Yes, VDPAU as in NVIDIA's Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix that has become quite popular with Linux users and is supported by many media applications.
The very latest work going on within Mesa's core, the DRI drivers, and the Gallium3D stack for the past several months are what will eventually form Mesa 7.9 once released in the coming months. However, for those living atop Mesa's stable code-base and not this experimental code, the second point release of Mesa 7.8 has arrived.
Intel's Eric Anholt has been working on writing a GLSL2 compiler for their open-source Mesa graphics stack. Mesa's GL Shading Language compiler has been limited to version 1.4 support, but that is changing. In response to the recent ATI R300 GLSL discussion, Eric has provided an update on the Intel efforts.
As we talked about back in April, there are five summer X/Mesa projects as part of Google's Summer of Code. One of these projects is to improve the GLSL (GL Shading Language) compiler for the ATI R300 class graphics processors and while the summer has just begun, there is already some work emerging.
On the same-day as publishing new Gallium3D benchmarks of the ATI R300g driver, we have more Gallium3D news to share. Zack Rusin has just announced a new Gallium3D branch that provides support for "Stream Out" with this advanced graphics driver architecture.
A $600 bounty came around a while back within the AROS (AROS Research Operating System) community to port Gallium3D and the Nouveau driver to this operating system that is a free software implementation of the AmigaOS 3.1 APIs. This bounty was successful in getting an OpenGL subsystem running on this free AmigaOS alternative via Mesa and Gallium3D and now a 2D architecture is also being implemented atop Gallium3D -- it sounds familiar to how the X.Org developers are implementing the Xorg state tracker to accelerate EXA and X-Video.
VMware's Roland Scheidegger has announced he soon will be merging gallium-msaa to Mesa master soon, which will put this branch into the mainline Mesa code-base in time for the Mesa 7.9 release in the coming months.
Last week we published our first benchmarks of LLVMpipe, which is a new driver for Gallium3D that's to serve as a software rasterizer on the CPU. LLVMpipe is ideal for cases where a GPU is not available or supported and it leverages LLVM (the Low-Level Virtual Machine) for optimization and providing much better software acceleration than Mesa's traditional software rasterizer or Gallium3D's previous Softpipe driver. LLVMpipe really likes modern, fast processors with SSE3/SSE4 support especially for best performance, but will work with nearly any 64-bit Intel/AMD processor. Unfortunately, LLVMpipe doesn't yet play well with GNOME Shell.
Red Hat's David Airlie has started a new mailing list discussion that's surrounding the "stupid development model" of Mesa. Their accepted policy of developing in stable branches and then pulling the code into the master code-base periodically (rather than just working directly on master) is causing many frustrations for Dave in being able to back-port fixes to existing stable branches of Mesa.
A month ago we talked about Gallium3D's LLVMpipe performing well and providing a much better software rasterizer than what is available with classic Mesa. Using LLVMpipe and a modest CPU for acceleration, the OpenArena was just about playable without any GPU assistance. Now a month later LLVMpipe is becoming a even more serious performer. LLVMpipe now is able to tap into the new geometry processing pipeline and it's causing some major performance gains.
While OpenGL 3.0 was announced in August of 2007, nearly three years later its coverage in the open-source Mesa stack is lacking even while the 3.1/3.2/3.3 revisions have been introduced and OpenGL 4.0 was already introduced this year. Slowly but surely though, the open-source developers are making progress in implementing OpenGL 3.x support for Mesa.
In May of last year there were Gallium3D state trackers published for OpenGL ES 1.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0. These were among the first major working state trackers for this new graphics architecture, but in the months since they have continued to receive much affection from a few developers and continue to improve. The OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 support though may now be reworked by Kristian Høgsberg.
Mesa 7.8 was released last week (and then yesterday an emergency 7.8.1 release arrived) in its traditional bundled form with the DRI drivers, but this afternoon a version with the popular hardware drivers modularized and built around an SDK, has been published.
Mesa 7.8 was only released one week ago, but an "emergency" release of Mesa 7.8.1 will be arriving in just a few hours.
Besides the Mesa 7.8 release announcement hitting the Mesa mailing list over the weekend, also catching our interest is a new discussion concerning S3TC texture compression in this open-source software stack. One of the developers working on Spring RTS, an open-source real-time strategy game engine for Linux and Windows, is wanting the open-source Mesa developers to implement S3TC texture compression/decompression. But this is a rather sticky situation.
Ian Romanick has just released the 7.7.1 and 7.8.0 versions of the Mesa3D open-source OpenGL stack with the DRI/Gallium3D drivers. As planned, this release is coming right on time for the end of March with Intel preparing to make its quarterly Linux graphics driver update and there is also the release of X Server 1.8 coming in the near future.
Coming just one week after the first release candidate, the second release candidate for Mesa 7.8 is now available. This is in hopes of meeting the release schedule and pushing out the final release on Friday.
OpenGL 3.0 was announced in the summer of 2007 and since then we have seen the subsequent releases of the 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 specifications. Just last week there was even the release of OpenGL 4.0. The proprietary Linux graphics drivers have picked up support for these latest industry standard specifications, but it hasn't been smooth sailing in the open-source world.
Three days ago we reported on Luc Verhaegen and his expedition of modularizing Mesa and its DRI drivers following his talk last month at FOSDEM concerning the ways of cleaning up the Linux graphics driver stack. While we were early to report on Luc's work, yesterday he announced his modularized DRI drivers and Mesa SDK on the Mesa3D development list, but his work has fallen on deaf ears.
Mesa 7.8 was branched earlier this month in preparation for a release later this month, and today the first planned release candidate of this major update to this critical piece of the open-source Linux 3D stack has arrived.
While we are still waiting for the hardware drivers to mature for Gallium3D (particularly the Nouveau stack for all NVIDIA GPUs, the Intel 965 driver, the ATI R300g driver to mature, and then the R600g driver to come about), VMware has been working on their a software rasterizer as well through a Gallium3D state tracker. This new software rasterizer looks like it's finally coming about and is already delivering great performance compared to Mesa's existing software rasterizer that is rather crippled.
Beyond working on a R600/700 winsys as well as a command submission checker for these ATI Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series graphics processors, Jerome Glisse of Red Hat has also been busy at work on a shader compiler for the R600/700 ASICs with the still-in-early-development Gallium3D driver. Over the weekend Jerome hit one of his first milestones with this code.
Mesa 7.7 was released just before the end of 2009, but by the end of March there will be the 7.8 release of the Mesa 7.8 graphics stack. Since January the Mesa 7.8 release plans have been to release it by the end of March -- around the same time as the planned X Server 1.8 release -- and in preparation for that this release series has now been branched from master.
Zack Rusin of VMware announced the other day that they are working on a DirectX 10/11 state tracker. This caused quite a discussion in our forums and now Zack has clarified his remarks. There is already a DirectX 9.0 state tracker for Gallium3D, but it and the state tracker to support the 10 and 11 versions of this Microsoft API will have a few limitations compared to most of the other state trackers. Simply put, the Direct3D state tracker from VMware will only be supported on Windows and it will not be released as open-source.
With state trackers emerging for the Gallium3D driver architecture to provide acceleration for a range of APIs from OpenGL ES and OpenVG to OpenGL and OpenCL, we knew it was likely that at some point there would be support for Microsoft's DirectX API. There was even a rumor of Tungsten Graphics already having a working DirectX state tracker. As VMware, which now owns Tungsten Graphics, the creator of Gallium3D, is using this open-source driver architecture within their virtualization platform for providing all sorts of hardware acceleration support to guest operating systems over the GPU, the DirectX support has become important.
Kristian Høgsberg, the mastermind behind DRI2 and the one behind the Wayland Display Server, has a new announcement and that's a DRI2 driver for the new Mesa EGL implementation. Kristian's work interfaces EGL with DRI2 and is described as a "nice, self-contained implementation." Kristian has aspirations to add support for EGL with a DRI2 driver on the KMS frame-buffer, which could be used in the Wayland world.
Back in December of 2008 VMware acquired Tungsten Graphics, the company that's principally behind Mesa 3D along with the Gallium3D driver architecture, the TTM memory manager, and other parts of the Linux graphics stack. A year later (this past November/December) we then found out VMware had them create a virtual Gallium3D driver for their VMware virtualization platform so that virtualized operating systems can exploit the graphics processor on the host system just not for driving OpenGL support, but OpenCL, OpenVG, OpenGL ES, and other areas covered now by the Gallium3D state tracker and going into the future (VDPAU, etc).
Back in mid-2008 we published two articles that looked at the contributors to the X Server and contributors to Mesa, which provided statistics as to the companies and developers contributing to these two important free software projects over the years. Since the start of the new year though I've been meaning to provide some other statistics about how the projects themselves have evolved over the year, but this morning I am finally pushing out these new numbers for the X.Org Server and Mesa.
877 Mesa news articles published on Phoronix.