Introduction to Mesa

Mesa is an OpenGL compatible 3D graphics library.



Mesa is updated relatively often. You may want to use the latest available 21.3.x mesa version.



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

Package Information

Additional Downloads

Mesa Dependencies


Xorg Libraries, libdrm-2.4.110, and Mako-1.2.0



libgcrypt-1.10.1, libunwind-1.6.2, lm-sensors-3-6-0 , Nettle-3.7.3, Valgrind-3.19.0, 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), libtizonia, and libvulkan (for the zink driver)



The instructions below assume that LLVM with the r600/amdgpu and host backends and run-time type information (RTTI - needed for nouveau) are installed. You will need to modify the instructions if you choose not to install all of these. For an explanation of Gallium3D see

User Notes:

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-21.3.7-add_xdemos-1.patch


The measurements above, and the Contents below, are for a full build. Many people will not wish to install drivers they cannot use, so the following paragraphs explain how to limit the drivers, and give an example which can be be reduced or amended as necessary.

Now, select the drivers you wish to install. For the X86 architecture, the available gallium drivers are auto (in 21.2.1 this does not select crocus ), or alternatively a choice from crocus, i915, iris, nouveau, r300, r600, radeonsi, svga, swrast, and virgl. The latter can provide acceleration in qemu-7.0.0 if that has been linked against virglrenderer (you will need a account to get to that page, you can download the 0.9.1 release without an account from virglrenderer-0.9.1).

The (non-gallium) DRI drivers available in X86 are auto, or alternatively a choice from i915, i965, nouveau, r100, r200, and swrast. Use 'auto' to build all available DRI drivers, or use an empty string (DRI_DRIVERS="") if you wish to only build gallium drivers.

The platforms ("window systems") available for X86 linux are x11, wayland, and surfaceless. By not specifying anything, the meson build-system will build for all these platforms if you have the dependencies, identical to if you had specified '-Dplatforms=auto'.

Modify the commands below for your desired drivers. The drivers listed below will cover most modern video cards and virtual machines. For help in selecting drivers see For intel drivers, specify crocus for i965 gen 4 through to haswell, iris for broadwell and later.



Although the nouveau drivers can be built for both gallium and dri, the i915 driver can only be built for one or the other.



If you are using a NVIDIA GPU in your system, a special patch has been created that allows for proper multi-threading in the Mesa driver. This fixes issues with multi-threaded Qt applications, as well as with starting some GNOME Applications. This patch is also essential if you plan to use KDE Plasma. Apply the patch using the following command:

patch -Np1 -i ../mesa-21.3.7-nouveau_fixes-1.patch

Install Mesa by running the following commands:

mkdir build &&
cd    build &&

meson --prefix=$XORG_PREFIX          \
      --buildtype=release            \
      -Ddri-drivers=$DRI_DRIVERS     \
      -Dgallium-drivers=$GALLIUM_DRV \
      -Dgallium-nine=false           \
      -Dglx=dri                      \
      -Dvalgrind=disabled            \
      -Dlibunwind=disabled           \
      ..                             &&



If you built the tests (see 'Command Explanations'), to run them issue: ninja test. One test, mesa: intel/anv_state_pool, is known to fail.

Now, as the root user:

ninja install

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

install -v -dm755 /usr/share/doc/mesa-21.3.7 &&
cp -rfv ../docs/* /usr/share/doc/mesa-21.3.7

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.

-Ddri-drivers="...": This parameter controls which (non-gallium) dri drivers should be built.

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

-Dgallium-nine=false: Prevents building support for (MS Windows) games designed for DX9. Set it to true if this support is desired.

-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.

-Dbuild-tests=true: This option will cause the test code to be enabled. To run the tests, issue: ninja test.

-Dvulkan-drivers=...: This option allows choosing which Vulkan drivers are built. Since those drivers depend on the corresponding Gallium3D drivers, do not enable drivers that are not enabled in Gallium3D drivers. Furthermore, since BLFS does not use Vulkan, it is safe to leave the list of Vulkan drivers empty.


Installed Programs: glxgears and glxinfo
Installed Libraries:,,,,,,,,,,, and,
Installed Drivers: (optional),,,,,,,,, (optional), (optional),,, (optional),,,,,,, (optional),, and (Many of these drivers are hard-linked).
Installed Directories: $XORG_PREFIX/{include/{EGL,GL,GLES,GLES2,GLES3,KHR},lib/{dri,vdpau}}, $XORG_PREFIX/include/d3adapter (optional), $XORG_PREFIX/lib/d3d (optional), $XORG_PREFIX/share/drirc.d (contains workarounds for various applications, particularly browsers and games), $XORG_PREFIX/share/vulkan, and /usr/share/doc/mesa-21.3.7 (optional)

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