Program: The Mesa 3D Graphics Library
License: Open Source/GPL
Description: Mesa is an open-source implementation of the OpenGL specification - a system for rendering interactive 3D graphics.
A variety of device drivers allows Mesa to be used in many different environments ranging from software emulation to complete hardware acceleration for modern GPUs.
Mesa ties into several other open-source projects: the Direct Rendering Infrastructure and X.org to provide OpenGL support to users of X on Linux, FreeBSD and other operating systems.
1.3 What purpose does Mesa serve today?
Hardware-accelerated OpenGL implementations are available for most popular operating systems today. Still, Mesa serves at least these purposes:
- Mesa is used as the core of the open-source X.org DRI hardware drivers.
- Mesa is quite portable and allows OpenGL to be used on systems that have no other OpenGL solution.
- Software rendering with Mesa serves as a reference for validating the hardware drivers.
- A software implementation of OpenGL is useful for experimentation, such as testing new rendering techniques.
- Mesa can render images with deep color channels: 16-bit integer and 32-bit floating point color channels are supported. This capability is only now appearing in hardware.
- Mesa's internal limits (max lights, clip planes, texture size, etc) can be changed for special needs (hardware limits are hard to overcome).