Linux gaming takes an important step forward as a new patch-set for the Mesa OpenGL library began rolling out today. This set of 21 patches developed by LunarG and sponsored by Valve “[adds] a thread pool to Mesa’s GLSL compiler and a new DRI option for defering glCompileShader calls to this pool.”
As a guy who wouldn’t know if his GLs were open or closed, the technical part goes a little over my head. The result, however, is significantly improved loading times. Pierre-Loup A. Griffais, aka “Plagman”, former NVIDIA employee and current SteamOS code contributor, mentions just how significant:
“I’m happy to say that when applying this patch series to my Mesa branch and changing ToGL in DOTA2 to perform lazy shader reflection, I’m seeing a 20s reduction in loading times across the board on a Brix Pro machine, from starting the client to getting in-game.”
While the patch will be a boon to current users, Linux gaming still needs a few key things to become a legitimate platform. As our very own Venisia Gonzalez says in her article on Linux gaming, Linux is still missing a great deal of AAA developer support and it’s also a rather complicated system with limited technical support.
Still, there are plenty of advantages such as dynamic power management, ridiculous level of customizability, and the Linux Ubuntu OS being completely free. If Valve continues to help improve the Linux experience for gamers, we may not be far off from seeing Tux stickers lining the box covers at your local GameStop.