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Developer Mike Blumenkrantz has announced that they're now being funded by Valve, so Blumenkrantz's work on the OpenGL implementation on top of Vulkan with 'Zink' will continue.

Hold on, what actually is Zink? As described by Collabora dev Erik Faye-Lund it's an "OpenGL implementation on top of Vulkan. Or to be a bit more specific, Zink is a Mesa Gallium driver that leverages the existing OpenGL implementation in Mesa to provide hardware accelerated OpenGL when only a Vulkan driver is available".

After working on Zink for a while, Mike Blumenkrantz posted a blog entry back on November 6 saying it was the "last day" due to the end of it being hobby work while being between jobs. In a new blog post titled "Don't Call It A Comeback", Blumenkrantz mentions that "Valve has generously agreed to sponsor my work on graphics-related projects" and that the focus will be on Zink.

The plan for Zink is a big one and things are moving quickly. Working together with Collabora developer Erik Faye-Lund, together they're doing "Operation Oxidize" to get the majority of their work in progress code for Zink into mainline Mesa by the end of the year. This will give Zink basic OpenGL 4.6 and OpenGL ES 3.2 support along with "vastly" improved performance.

Nice to see Valve continuing to get involved with open source and Linux to improve all sorts of areas.

For those curious on the question of why — well, Vulkan is the future. This video can explain it in more details:

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13 comments
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3zekiel 24 Nov, 2020
Acutally, will this also work on top of Nvidia driver ?
mirv 24 Nov, 2020
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Quoting: 3zekielAcutally, will this also work on top of Nvidia driver ?

In theory it could work; it just needs the Mesa state tracker, not the underlying drivers themselves, and outputs Vulkan commands from there.
In practice it doesn't work with the nvidia blobs.

Note that zink can run on MoltenVK (unsure if it's fully integrated yet, or how stable, etc, but there is work in that direction).
tmtvl 24 Nov, 2020
Quoting: 3zekielAcutally, will this also work on top of Nvidia driver ?

Let's hope so, Nouveau can always use more love.
Perkeleen_Vittupää 24 Nov, 2020
Quoting: tmtvl
Quoting: 3zekielAcutally, will this also work on top of Nvidia driver ?

Let's hope so, Nouveau can always use more love.

In which Nvidia itself is in short supply of.. Why exactly do they NOT help? What is the use of a closed driver anyhow in this day and age?
Solar 24 Nov, 2020
Quoting: Perkeleen_VittupääWhat is the use of a closed driver anyhow in this day and age?
It's useful to prevent multiple lawsuits from the tons of stolen code from open source projects
mirv 24 Nov, 2020
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Quoting: Perkeleen_Vittupää
Quoting: tmtvl
Quoting: 3zekielAcutally, will this also work on top of Nvidia driver ?

Let's hope so, Nouveau can always use more love.

In which Nvidia itself is in short supply of.. Why exactly do they NOT help? What is the use of a closed driver anyhow in this day and age?

Proprietary tech within the graphics hardware, coupled with legacy support required going forward.

In the former case, there are various graphics extensions that can't be opened for reason XYZ. Laws forbid it in some countries (encryption related laws in some places haven't caught up with the times, or lobbying groups think it will protect their content, that kind of nonsense). Open source drivers lack these features - and that it's not heard about much tells you how common they are for home use.

Latter reason is legacy support. Various industry tools might rely upon drivers, or certain driver optimisations only applied to specific hardware, and nvidia gets a ton of money for continuing to support that. This was the driving (heh) reason that nvidia stuck with Linux (kernel) support and invested in OpenGL for such a long time. It wasn't home use, it was workstations (CAD mostly) and later CUDA. They can't let that go without annoying a lot of customers, and see not enough ROI to also have open drivers.

AMD didn't have that legacy baggage, which is why open source drivers was such a good business choice for them - they didn't have much competition for the market they aimed at. Of course, AMD still have proprietary driver options too.
ShinyaOsen 24 Nov, 2020
I hope this can be brought to windows one day because AMD opengl driver on windows sucks. It's amazing how much faster linux is compared to windows like tri force heros on citra goes from 15 fps to 60 fps or my friends 1050 ti beating my vega56 in cemu when on windows before they added vulkan
titi 24 Nov, 2020
That's really good news! This will allow a lot of old games to survive which are/were based on OpenGL. Who knows how long OpenGL drivers are provided for new graphic cards! Just Vulcan drivers in the future maybe. But that's good enough if Zink hopefully will fully support OpenGL one day.
TheRiddick 25 Nov, 2020
Is Apple ditching Metal API? I heard it has been left in the dust and the games that do run on it don't perform too well.. this is why you embrace open standards!
Whitewolfe80 25 Nov, 2020
Quoting: TheRiddickIs Apple ditching Metal API? I heard it has been left in the dust and the games that do run on it don't perform too well.. this is why you embrace open standards!

I don't think they have announced anything but the new apple cpus are ARM based and are APUS with apple enhanced versions of mali so gaming is not really their focus. The apple silicon has the Vram for the system on the CPU its as far removed from x86 architecture as it can get according to linus.
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