[Mesa-dev] Help for a beginner

Eric Anholt eric at anholt.net
Mon Sep 26 15:19:46 PDT 2011

On Mon, 26 Sep 2011 20:25:39 +0200, Romain Failliot <romain.failliot at foolstep.com> wrote:
> Hi Tom, hi Christian,
> 2011/9/26 Tom Stellard <tstellar at gmail.com>
> > Glad you're interested.   We can always use more help.  I think the
> > best way to get started is to find something to work on that is
> > interesting to you.  So, I have two questions: What hardware do you
> > have, and why do you want to contribute to Mesa?
> At the moment I have an nVidia G71 [GeForce 7950 GT].
> I want to contribute to mesa because:
> - I want to participate to an open source project
> - I work in the game industry and I hope, one day, Linux will be a
> serious platform to consider
> - I think that the Floss community have an opportunity here to prove
> that we can make these drivers for OpenGL 3 and 4 in less time than we
> need to say it! (well maybe a little bit more...)

Awesome!  If you're interested in GL3/4, there's a list of extensions
and progress towards them in Mesa core and two of the drivers at:


I'd definitely recommend working on a texturing format extension for
your hardware as a great way to get started in Mesa.

Right now we on the Intel side are working on getting to GL 3.0.  Our
task list is up at:


As you can see, a lot of what we're trying to do is limited by how
quickly we can write piglit tests to show that the actual Mesa code we
write works.

> > 4. Depending on question 1: How many experience do you have with
> > different parts of programming (OpenGL, D3D, low level hardware hacking,
> > etc...) ?
> I have some knowledge in 3D programming, but none in low level hardware hacking.
> I've done some OpenGL 2 and OpenGL ES code.
> I've got really good knowledge in 3D-space programming (if it can help...)

You're probably starting out better than most of us working on this
code, then :)

> > 5. How many help do you need to get going? That could reach from
> > questions like: "How to install a compiler in my distro?" to "Where can
> > I find documentation of hardware register xy?
> At first, it would be questions like how to run my own compiled mesa drivers?
> I should handle getting the code, compiling it and editing it.
> Things I've never done (or almost never) is submitting a patch to a
> floss project.
> But the ultimate first question would be: where is the bug tracker? :)
> And the next one: do you have a simple bug to begin with. I'll do it asap.


Everyone does their driver build management a little differently.  I
never install Mesa, and instead just use LD_LIBRARY_PATH to load it from
my mesa build directory:


The vendor string in glxinfo should contain the sha1 of the git tree to
confirm that you're using the driver you intended.
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