Mesa is one of the pillars stack of the Linux graphical , which therefore makes it one of the mainstays for the proper functioning of the Steam Deck when playing video games. The appearance of AMD GPU was the reason for the development of Mesa to be taken much more seriously, to the point of being able to compete for years with the official NVIDIA driver.
Yes, Mesa is no longer a support for simply running a graphical interface on Linux and other Unix and Unix-like systems, but competes with the performance offered by proprietary drivers available for Windows , which is a great deal of merit. Recently we have among us version 21.2 of Mesa, which comes with NVIDIA advances towards the adoption of Wayland standards, more foundation from Intel for its dedicated graphics and something related to RADV.
The first thing that stands out from Mesa 21.2 is the advancements implemented by NVIDIA to support backends alternative GBM . It is true that the presence of the green giant always worries many Linux users, but these movements are, at least in theory, to support the standards adopted for Wayland and that have been or are being implemented by Intel and AMD.
After many years of fighting, everything indicates that NVIDIA will begin to rectify its wrong course with the 470 driver , but that launch is only the beginning of the way to support Wayland correctly. The abrupt death of Xorg and the future appearance of Intel’s dedicated graphics could have been two of the reasons that have forced NVIDIA to rectify if it did not want to be in a compromised situation, especially if we take into account that Intel is the manufacturer that best support from Wayland.
As for Intel, we have improvements for the future Xe-HP, a dedicated graphics oriented to data centers. Continuing with the same manufacturer, we have support for fragment shading rate and advancements in ray tracing support for ANV (Vulkan for Intel) . By switching to OpenGL, the Crocus driver, based on Gallium3D, should give some fresh air to the built-in graphics of Haswell processors.
And we come to RADV, which, after Proton, will be the great franchise player of SteamOS 3, the operating system that the Steam Deck will use. For the lost, RADV is Vulkan’s driver for AMD Radeon graphics. Despite its community origin, Valve has invested a lot in improving it , and since we are so heavy with the console / mini-PC, it will be responsible for executing the Vulkan translated DirectX instructions from DXVK and VKD3D (RADV also supports software which runs Vulkan directly).
In Meas 21.2, RADV has incorporated Next Generation Geometry (NGG) for RDNA 2 graphics and support for compiling the driver on Windows . Seeing the excellent results that RADV has achieved in Linux, its arrival in Windows can be an interesting addition for users of the Microsoft system, who will be able to compare its performance with that offered by Adrenalin.
There are more new features in Mesa 21.2, which include the initial code for the Apple M1 , OpenGL ES 3.1 support for GeForce 200 graphics in case of using Nouveau, the fact that Zink (OpenGL to Vulkan translator) renders glxgears correctly, new Vulkan extensions for ANV and RADV and dozens of fixes.
All the news of Meas 21.2 are available for consultation in the official announcement . Those who want to use it have the possibility to carry out the tortuous compilation process, but if you want something more comfortable, you can resort to a distribution such rolling release as Arch Linux. Ubuntu users have fresh and stable Kisak’s PPAs on hand, and Fedora’s can be patient until it reaches them, because it will reach them, but possibly not diligently.