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Updating Mesa drivers.

Posted: 9. Sep 2017, 07:25
by Papasot
Hi all,
this is a problem for specific tasks only, so I opted to post it in the "Packages" section, not in "Problems".

My laptop runs Salix 14.2; it has an Intel 2nd-generation GPU, and Salix picked (correctly) the Mesa drivers, "intel" flavor. This is actually the "official" GNU/Linux driver, as Intel's website itself links to the Mesa project, where it clearly says "using the latest release of your distribution ensures you will always have the latest stable release of the graphics drivers". Of course, this is not exactly true for a non-rolling distribution.

Salix 14.2 comes with the Mesa drivers version 11.2.2. This works just fine - except a few, minor "issues", which I have to deal with only when developing OpenGL applications. For example, glEnable(GL_POINT_SMOOTH) doesn't work as expected, and glCompressedTexImage2D() fails. I imagine this could be an issue for some OpenGL applications using such features as well (although I have yet to find one). In any case, it is an issue for developers. Although there are workarounds, wherever I looked up people recommend the obvious: update your drivers.

Mesa's latest "stable" version is 17.1.3, which is supposed to include several fixes and improvements compared to Salix's mesa 11.2.2. I could make a Salix package for mesa 17.1.3 and replace the default one. The Salix packages that need to be replaced are actually two: mesa and libdrm (the latter needs to be in a newer version in order to compile Mesa 17.1.3). I am not sure that's all, and it can be that trivial (think of Xorg and how it will treat the new driver when Xorg itself is in an older version). Apparently, this is a task better be done at a "spare" Salix installation for the first time. But before proceeding to uncharted waters, I want to ask if someone here has any experience about that. Any comments/suggestions welcome.

Re: Updating Mesa drivers.

Posted: 12. Oct 2017, 09:15
by gapan
Did you go ahead with the upgrade?

Re: Updating Mesa drivers.

Posted: 13. Oct 2017, 17:22
by Papasot
gapan wrote:Did you go ahead with the upgrade?
No. I was planning to try, but the only computer I own that uses Mesa drivers for Intel HD graphics is otherwise fully functional (running Salix and Slackel) and I hesitated to mess it up.
I must say that the Mesa drivers for that machine are generally well done and performance with OpenGL is actually very good. The drivers just miss some functionality. It turned out that part of the functionality I needed is included in a separate package named libtxc_dxtn due to copyright issues (Salix includes that package in its repos so I didn't have to do anything special to install it). Unfortunately OpenGL's point and line smoothing still doesn't work on that laptop, but I just postponed messing up with Mesa drivers "for later", since I use that laptop on a daily basis (even when at home and having access to my "main" desktop).