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Mesa 21.0 Graphics Stack Released with Many New Features and Improvements

Mesa 21.0


The Mesa 21.0 open-source graphics stack for Linux-based operating systems is now available for download as a major update that includes numerous new features and improvements for a better Linux gaming experience.

Coming more than a year after the Mesa 20.0 series, the Mesa 21.0 release introduces many cool features to the Radeon Vulkan driver (RADV), including support for the VK_VALVE_mutable_descriptor_type and VK_KHR_fragment_shading_rate (RDNA2 only) Vulkan extensions, sparse memory support, and rapid packed math (16bit-vectorization).

Collabora’s Panfrost graphics driver for Mali GPUs (including Bifrost) also received OpenGL 3.1 support for Mali T760+ GPUs, as well as OpenGL ES 3.0 support on Mali G31, G52, and G72 GPUs.

Moreover, the Mesa 21.0 graphics stack adds OpenGL 3.3 support for Freedreno A6XX, and improves the RadeonSI graphics driver for AMD/ATI GPUs with support for the GL_EXT_demote_to_helper_invocation and GL_NV_compute_shader_derivatives OpenGL extensions.

This release also improves support for AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT, Radeon RX 480 GPUs, and Big Navi graphics cards, improves OpenGL support on the Intel GMA 4500MHD GPU, and improves support for Intel HD Graphics 5500.

Several games received better support too, including Desperados III, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition, The Surge 2, The Witcher, Rage 2, Overwatch, Elder Scrolls Online, Death Stranding, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Barn Finders, Two Point Hospital, TORCS, WoW, Minecraft, Mafia III Demo, Enter the Gungeon, Quake III Arena, and others.

Other noteworthy changes include support for EGL_MESA_platform_xcb to enable OpenGL apps to be written without any involvement of Xlib, the replacement of the classic swrast DRI driver with Gallium swrast (llvmpipe or softpipe), as well as the replacement of the classic OSMesa driver with the newly improved Gallium OSMesa driver.

Mesa 21.0 also removes support for loading DRI drivers older than Mesa 8.0, including all DRI1 support, and removes support for the glx_disable_oml_sync_control, glx_disable_sgi_video_sync, and glx_disable_ext_buffer_age extensions from the DRIconf configuration applet for the Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI).

Mesa 21.0 is available for download as a source tarball right now from the official website, but it should only be used by Linux OS maintainers and advanced Linux users who know what they’re doing. Also, Mesa 21.0 is considered an unstable build, as the series becomes stable with the first point release, Mesa 21.0.1.

“Mesa 21.0.0 is a new development release. People who are concerned with stability and reliability should stick with a previous release or wait for Mesa 21.0.1,” said the developers.

I know you’ve been waiting for this release for so long, but you’ll have to be a little more patience as Mesa 21.0 series will arrive soon in the stable software repositories of some of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions, especially rolling releases like Arch Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and Solus.

Last updated 5 months ago