While Mesa still is only officially at OpenGL 3.3 compliance, a lot of OpenGL 4.x extensions continue to be worked on by open-source developers interested in advancing the free software graphics drivers.
The latest Mesa 10.5 point release, Mesa 10.5.6, is now available.
Mesa 10.6 is up to a release candidate state and should be officially released in early June. If you're not up to speed on this quarterly update to the open-source user-space graphics drivers, here's an overview of the new features for Mesa 10.6.
S3TC remains the most common form of texture compression relied upon by video game developers and others, but it remains a legal mess for open-source graphics drivers. ETC2 texture compression isn't faced by legal issues but was only mandated by OpenGL ES 3.0 / OpenGL 4.3, which makes it less well adopted. Meanwhile, in looking forward to the future, ASTC is the royalty-free next-gen texture compression solution that's backed by the Khronos Group. Intel's forthcoming Skylake hardware will make ASTC a much more widespread reality.
Among other OpenGL 4.x extensions, one of the more recent additions to OpenGL being tackled by open-source developers is ARB_shader_storage_buffer_object.
Following this morning's branching of Mesa 10.6 and pushing Git master to Mesa 10.7, the Mesa 10.6 Release Candidate 1 is now available.
As planned, Mesa 10.6 has been branched and due to lacking OpenGL 4.0 / OpenGL ES 3.1 support, the version will not be bumped to Mesa 11.0. This also now makes Mesa 10.7 officially under development.
For users of the Freedreno Gallium3D driver for having unofficial open-source Qualcomm graphics support, the Adreno 306 is the latest graphics processor now supported.
With the latest Mesa patch series by Chih-Wei Huang of Android-x86, the AMD RadeonSI Gallium3D driver is to be enabled.
Most often when talking of new OpenGL 4 extensions in Mesa it tends to be regarding the Intel Mesa driver given they're the company investing the most into the Linux graphics stack, followed by the Radeon and Noveau drivers. However, this week in Mesa is some love to the fallback/debugging software rasterizers.
The current plan is to branch Mesa 10.6 from Git master on Friday, which would put the official 10.6.0 release in early June.
Intel as of late seems quite set on seeing OpenGL ES 3.1 becoming a reality for Mesa in the near-term.
Months after working on direct state access support in Mesa, Fredrik Höglund of KDE has finished off this OpenGL 4.5 feature for core Mesa.
In January of 2014 there was ARB_viewport_array added to the Intel Mesa driver, an extension needed for OpenGL 4.1 compliance, but at the time it was only enabled for Ivy Bridge graphics hardware and newer. Intel has now extended that support back to Sandy Bridge.
Marek Olšák has implemented support for the EGL sync extensions within Gallium3D.
The latest Mesa/Gallium3D driver work by AMD's Marek Olšák is on working out create_context_robustness work for the Gallium3D drivers.
For users of "Gallium3D Nine", the state tracker providing Direct3D 9 API support within Mesa, there's a number of fixes that were pushed into Git this morning.
While there's still more work to be done before advertising OpenGL 4.0~4.1 compliance, the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver is now advertising support for GLSL 410 (4.10), the GL Shading Language version to match OpenGL 4.1.
For the past two years there has been an optional Gallium3D HUD to display various performance-related metrics as an overlay while running OpenGL applications with the Gallium3D drivers. With the latest Mesa Git code, the heads-up display can be a bit more customized.
One of the biggest additions to Mesa so far this year has been the introduction of NIR, the new intermediate representation designed to replace GLSL IR and designed by a bright student fresh out of high school.
Those paying attention to the mailing list may have seen the patches yesterday that surfaced from an independent developer for implementing ARB_gpu_shader_fp64 with Intel's graphics driver for Gen 7+ hardware. Unfortunately, it was too good to be true.
Intel's i965 Mesa driver has begun using the NIR intermediate representation by default when dealing with fragment shaders.
Following Intel's development of NIR as the new intermediate representation for Mesa and the Raspberry Pi graphics driver switching to NIR, the Freedreno Gallum3D driver as the open-source user-space GPU driver for Qualcomm Adreno now has NIR support too.
While the Radeon, Nouveau, and LLVMpipe/Softpipe drivers have already supported the OpenGL ARB_clip_control extension, the Intel (i965) driver now finally supports this OpenGL 4.5 extension too.
With the latest Git code for Mesa 10.6 development, the Raspberry Pi VC4 Gallium3D driver has switched to using the NIR intermediate representation.
While Mesa is talked about as being able to be built for Google's Android operating system to run these open-source graphics drivers on Android devices with OpenGL ES support, in reality there's a lot left to be desired.
Emil Velikov has pushed out a weekend update for stable Mesa users.
Earlier this week I shared some new OS X 10.10 vs. Fedora 21 vs. Ubuntu 15.04 benchmarks, which were quite interesting and Linux ended up having the upper-hand on this new Mac Mini with an Intel "Haswell" CPU sporting Iris Graphics. For those interested in more cross-OS benchmarks with Intel Iris Graphics, here's some additional results.
The NIR intermediate representation for Mesa continues taking flight and driven by Intel's open-source developers.
With Q1'2015 quickly coming to an end, here's a look at the Mesa Git activity for the past few months.
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