Introduction to Mesa

Mesa is an OpenGL compatible 3D graphics library.



Mesa is updated relatively often. You may want to use the latest available 24.1.x mesa version.



Development versions of BLFS may not build or run some packages properly if LFS or dependencies have been updated since the most recent stable versions of the books.

Package Information

  • Download (HTTP):

  • Download MD5 sum: 8415005045bfa3a423da5ef1a2303a42

  • Download size: 28 MB

  • Estimated disk space required: 1.2 GB (with docs, add 263 MB for tests)

  • Estimated build time: 5.1 SBU (with docs; add 0.6 SBU for tests; both with parallelism=4)

Additional Downloads

Mesa Dependencies


Xorg Libraries, libdrm-2.4.121, and Mako-1.3.5




Choosing Mesa Drivers

In the instructions below, all the available drivers are built. That will almost always work. However, it is not efficient. Depending on your video hardware, you probably need only specific drivers.

The first thing you need to know is which type of video device you have. In some cases it is built into the CPU. In others is is a separate PCI card. In either case you can tell what video hardware you have by running:

lspci | grep VGA

The video device is most likely one of three families: AMD, Intel, or Nvidia. See the Command Explanations for 'gallium-drivers' below to see what options are available for your specific video hardware (or emulated video hardware). You should probably add the swrast option as a backup driver.

For 'platforms' you can select x11 and/or wayland. Note that in BLFS currently only Gnome and KDE can use wayland. If you are not going to use one of those desktop environments then you probably only want x11.

For 'vulkan-drivers' you may want to limit the selection to your current hardware. These drivers are used by some specific applications. For example, ffmpeg (including ffplay) will use Vulkan instead of OpenGL for rendering video on the GPU. If you do not want to do this you may or may not want to install them.


libgcrypt-1.10.3, libunwind-1.6.2, lm-sensors-3-6-0 , Nettle-3.9.1, Valgrind-3.23.0, mesa-demos (provides more than 300 extra demos to test Mesa; this includes the same programs added by the patch above), Bellagio OpenMAX Integration Layer (for mobile platforms), and libtizonia,

Kernel Configuration

Enable the following options in the kernel configuration and recompile the kernel if necessary:

Device Drivers --->
  Graphics support --->
    <*/M>   Direct Rendering Manager (XFree86 4.1.0 and higher DRI support) --->
                                                                      ...  [DRM]
    # For r300 or r600:
    < /*/M> ATI Radeon                                              [DRM_RADEON]
    # For radeonsi:
    < /*/M> AMD GPU                                                 [DRM_AMDGPU]
    [*]       Enable amdgpu support for SI parts                 [DRM_AMDGPU_SI]
    [*]       Enable amdgpu support for CIK parts               [DRM_AMDGPU_CIK]
      Display Engine Configuration --->
      [*]   AMD DC - Enable new display engine                      [DRM_AMD_DC]
    # For nouveau:
    < /*/M> Nouveau (NVIDIA) cards                                 [DRM_NOUVEAU]
    # For i915, crocus, or iris:
    < /*/M> Intel 8xx/9xx/G3x/G4x/HD Graphics                         [DRM_I915]
    # For swrast:
    < /*/M> Virtual GEM provider                                      [DRM_VGEM]
    # For svga:
    < /*/M> DRM driver for VMware Virtual GPU                       [DRM_VMWGFX]


The corresponding Mesa Gallium3D driver name is provided as the comment for the configuration entries. If you don't know the name of the Mesa Gallium3D driver for your GPU, see Mesa Gallium3D Drivers below.

CONFIG_DRM_RADEON, CONFIG_DRM_AMDGPU, CONFIG_DRM_NOUVEAU, and CONFIG_DRM_I915 may require firmware. See About Firmware for details.

Selecting CONFIG_DRM_RADEON or CONFIG_DRM_AMDGPU as y is not recommended. If it is, any required firmware must be built as a part of the kernel image or the initramfs for the driver to function correctly.

The sub-entries under CONFIG_DRM_AMDGPU are used to ensure the AMDGPU kernel driver supports all GPUs using the radeonsi driver. They are not needed if you won't need CONFIG_DRM_AMDGPU itself. They may be unneeded for some GPU models.

For swrast, CONFIG_DRM_VGEM is not strictly needed but recommended as an optimization.

Installation of Mesa

If you have downloaded the xdemos patch (needed if testing the Xorg installation per BLFS instructions), apply it by running the following command:

patch -Np1 -i ../mesa-add_xdemos-2.patch

Install Mesa by running the following commands:

mkdir build &&
cd    build &&

meson setup ..                 \
      --prefix=$XORG_PREFIX    \
      --buildtype=release      \
      -D platforms=x11,wayland \
      -D gallium-drivers=auto  \
      -D vulkan-drivers=auto   \
      -D valgrind=disabled     \
      -D libunwind=disabled    &&


To test the results, issue: meson configure -Dbuild-tests=true && ninja test.

Now, as the root user:

ninja install

If desired, install the optional documentation by running the following commands as the root user:

cp -rv ../docs -T /usr/share/doc/mesa-24.1.1

Command Explanations

--buildtype=release: This switch ensures a fully-optimized build, and disables debug assertions which will severely slow down the libraries in certain use-cases. Without this switch, build sizes can span into the 2GB range.

-Dgallium-drivers=auto: This parameter controls which Gallium3D drivers should be built:

  • auto selects all Gallium3D drivers available for x86. With a comma-separated list, only a subset of these drivers will be built. If you precisely know which drivers you need, you can build. for example. -Dgallium-drivers=radeonsi,iris,swrast.

  • r300 (for ATI Radeon 9000 or Radeon X series)

  • r600 (for AMD/ATI Radeon HD 2000-6000 series)

  • radeonsi (for AMD Radeon HD 7000 or newer AMD GPU models)

  • nouveau (for Supported NVIDIA GPUs, they are listed as all 3D features either DONE or N/A in the Nouveau status page)

  • virgl (for a QEMU virtual GPU with virglrender support; note that BLFS qemu-9.0.1 is not built with virglrender)

  • svga (for a VMWare virtual GPU)

  • swrast (using CPU for 3D rasterisation. Note that it's much slower than using a modern 3D-capable GPU, so it should be only used if the GPU is not supported by other drivers),

  • iris (for Intel GPUs shipped with Broadwell or newer CPUs)

  • crocus (for Intel GMA 3000, X3000 series, 4000 series, or X4000 series GPUs shipped with chipsets, or Intel HD GPUs shipped with pre-Broadwell CPUs)

  • i915 (for Intel GMA 900, 950, 3100, or 3150 GPUs shipped with chipsets or Atom D/N 4xx/5xx CPUs)

-Dplatforms=...: This parameter controls which windowing systems will be supported. Available linux platforms are x11 and wayland.

-Dvulkan-drivers=auto: This switch enables support for the Vulkan graphics API. It automatically builds all graphics drivers that are available for Vulkan. If you wish to build specific drivers, valid options include 'amd', 'intel', 'intel_hasvk' (Haswell CPUs), and 'swrast'. If you do not want Vulkan support, change 'auto' to "".

-Dvalgrind=disabled: This parameter disables the usage of Valgrind during the build process. Remove this parameter if you have Valgrind installed, and wish to check for memory leaks.

-Dlibunwind=disabled: This parameter disables the usage of libunwind.

meson configure -Dbuild-tests=true: This command will reconfigure the build to set -Dbuild-tests=true, but keep the other options specified in the meson setup command unchanged. It allows ninja test to build and run unit tests.

-Degl-native-platform="...": This parameter controls which Embedded Graphics Library support will be built. Available linux options are auto (default), x11, wayland, surfaceless, and drm.


Installed Programs: glxgears, glxinfo, mme_fermi_sim_hw_test, and mme_tu104_sim_hw_test
Installed Libraries:,,,,,, and
Installed DRI Drivers:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and
Installed VDPAU Drivers:,, and (Many of these drivers are hard-linked).
Installed Vulkan Drivers:,,,, and
Installed Directories: $XORG_PREFIX/{include/{EGL,GLES,GLES2,GLES3,KHR}, $XORG_PREFIX/lib/{dri,vdpau}}, $XORG_PREFIX/share/drirc.d (contains workarounds for various applications, particularly browsers and games), $XORG_PREFIX/share/vulkan, and /usr/share/doc/mesa-24.1.1

Short Descriptions


is a GL demo useful for troubleshooting graphics problems


is a diagnostic program that displays information about the graphics hardware and installed GL libraries

provides a native platform graphics interface as defined by the EGL-1.4 specification

is the Mesa Graphics Buffer Manager library

is the Mesa OpenGL ES 1.1 library

is the Mesa OpenGL ES 2.0 library

is the main Mesa OpenGL library