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Shading Language
This page describes the features and status of Mesa's support for the
`OpenGL Shading Language <>`__.
.. _envvars:
Environment Variables
The **MESA_GLSL** environment variable can be set to a comma-separated
list of keywords to control some aspects of the GLSL compiler and shader
execution. These are generally used for debugging.
- **dump** - print GLSL shader code, IR, and NIR to stdout at link time
- **source** - print GLSL shader code to stdout at link time
- **log** - log all GLSL shaders to files. The filenames will be
"shader_X.vert" or "shader_X.frag" where X the shader ID.
- **cache_info** - print debug information about shader cache
- **cache_fb** - force cached shaders to be ignored and do a full
recompile via the fallback path
- **uniform** - print message to stdout when glUniform is called
- **nopvert** - force vertex shaders to be a simple shader that just
transforms the vertex position with ftransform() and passes through
the color and texcoord[0] attributes.
- **nopfrag** - force fragment shader to be a simple shader that passes
through the color attribute.
- **useprog** - log glUseProgram calls to stderr
- **errors** - GLSL compilation and link errors will be reported to
Example: export MESA_GLSL=dump,nopt
.. _replacement:
Experimenting with Shader Replacements
Shaders can be dumped and replaced on runtime for debugging purposes.
This is controlled via following environment variables:
- **MESA_SHADER_DUMP_PATH** - path where shader sources are dumped
- **MESA_SHADER_READ_PATH** - path where replacement shaders are read
Note, path set must exist before running for dumping or replacing to
work. When both are set, these paths should be different so the dumped
shaders do not clobber the replacement shaders. Also, the filenames of
the replacement shaders should match the filenames of the corresponding
dumped shaders.
.. _capture:
Capturing Shaders
Setting **MESA_SHADER_CAPTURE_PATH** to a directory will cause the
compiler to write ``.shader_test`` files for use with
`shader-db <>`__, a tool
which compiler developers can use to gather statistics about shaders
(instructions, cycles, memory accesses, and so on).
Notably, this captures linked GLSL shaders - with all stages together -
as well as ARB programs.
GLSL Version
The GLSL compiler currently supports version 3.30 of the shading
Several GLSL extensions are also supported:
- GL_ARB_draw_buffers
- GL_ARB_fragment_coord_conventions
- GL_ARB_shader_bit_encoding
Unsupported Features
XXX update this section
The following features of the shading language are not yet fully
supported in Mesa:
- Linking of multiple shaders does not always work. Currently, linking
is implemented through shader concatenation and re-compiling. This
doesn't always work because of some #pragma and preprocessor issues.
- The gl_Color and gl_SecondaryColor varying vars are interpolated
without perspective correction
All other major features of the shading language should function.
Implementation Notes
- Shading language programs are compiled into low-level programs very
similar to those of GL_ARB_vertex/fragment_program.
- All vector types (vec2, vec3, vec4, bvec2, etc) currently occupy full
float[4] registers.
- Float constants and variables are packed so that up to four floats
can occupy one program parameter/register.
- All function calls are inlined.
- Shaders which use too many registers will not compile.
- The quality of generated code is pretty good, register usage is fair.
- Shader error detection and reporting of errors (InfoLog) is not very
good yet.
- The ftransform() function doesn't necessarily match the results of
fixed-function transformation.
These issues will be addressed/resolved in the future.
Programming Hints
- Use the built-in library functions whenever possible. For example,
instead of writing this:
.. code-block:: glsl
float x = 1.0 / sqrt(y);
Write this:
.. code-block:: glsl
float x = inversesqrt(y);
Stand-alone GLSL Compiler
The stand-alone GLSL compiler program can be used to compile GLSL
shaders into low-level GPU code.
This tool is useful for:
- Inspecting GPU code to gain insight into compilation
- Generating initial GPU code for subsequent hand-tuning
- Debugging the GLSL compiler itself
After building Mesa, the compiler can be found at
Here's an example of using the compiler to compile a vertex shader and
emit GL_ARB_vertex_program-style instructions:
.. code-block:: console
src/compiler/glsl/glsl_compiler --version XXX --dump-ast myshader.vert
Options include
- **--dump-ast** - dump GPU code
- **--dump-hir** - dump high-level IR code
- **--dump-lir** - dump low-level IR code
- **--dump-builder** - dump GLSL IR code
- **--link** - link shaders
- **--just-log** - display only shader / linker info if exist, without
any header or separator
- **--version** - [Mandatory] define the GLSL version to use
Compiler Implementation
The source code for Mesa's shading language compiler is in the
``src/compiler/glsl/`` directory.
XXX provide some info about the compiler....
The final vertex and fragment programs may be interpreted in software
(see prog_execute.c) or translated into a specific hardware architecture
(see drivers/dri/i915/i915_fragprog.c for example).
Compiler Validation
Developers working on the GLSL compiler should test frequently to avoid
The `Piglit <>`__ project has many GLSL
The Mesa demos repository also has some good GLSL tests.