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OpenGL on top of Vulkan with Zink to work with NVIDIA drivers on Linux

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Here's a short and sweet update on the work for Zink, the upcoming OpenGL on top of Vulkan implementation announced by Collabora which has been progressing steadily.

As a quick refresher: 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. More on the why can be found here.

Developer Mike Blumenkrantz has been hacking away at Zink code lately, after announcing back in November 2020 that Valve jumped in to fund more work on it. In a fresh blog post, Blumenkrantz mentions the continued sponsorship from Valve, and as a result Zink can now run with NVIDIA GPUs on Linux with the wording "So now zink+nvidia is a thing.". See it in action below:

Once it's ready, it's going to be extremely interesting to see what becomes of it.

Update: there's a fresh post that went up after this article was published, giving a lot more information on how Zink works with NVIDIA. Right now it's very slow but that should improve when "WSI" support lands in the near future which will benefit all drivers that Zink supports.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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6 comments

Nanobang 4 Feb
So Zink, a Mesa Gallium driver, allows accelerated OpenGL via Mesa when only Vulkan drivers exist, and now --- or soon will --- drive Nvidia hardware? Do I have that right? Does that mean Mesa Gallium cum Zink is essentially being used to drive Nvidia cards? If so, that is soooo cool. If not, well, I don't fully get it, but even in my ignorance I can still tell it's cool news. My understanding of drivers is that a driver makes a thing do what it does. Vroom, vroom, vroom!


Last edited by Nanobang on 4 February 2021 at 2:26 pm UTC
cybik 4 Feb
I actually wanted to see this working and I am EXTREMELY HAPPY they made it work.
BielFPs 4 Feb
The one think I still don't know about Zink:

When DEs finally start to migrate from Opengl to Vulkan, Would I be able to use Zink to translate the Vulkan calls to Opengl on unsupported Vulkan computers?

Or to use Zink I must have a processor with Vulkan support?
3zekiel 4 Feb
Quoting: BielFPsThe one think I still don't know about Zink:

When DEs finally start to migrate from Opengl to Vulkan, Would I be able to use Zink to translate the Vulkan calls to Opengl on unsupported Vulkan computers?

Or to use Zink I must have a processor with Vulkan support?

You will need to have Vulkan support. Zink goes from OpenGL to vulkan. Doing Vulkan over OpenGL would be a total nightmare (not even sure it would be practically possible).

The point here is that when in a not so distant future vulkan is ubiquitous, and opengl begin being dropped, new hw can just support legacy sw with zink. Also, even for current hw, pure gigantic OpenGL drivers are likely to suffer from bitrot as time pass... Less testing, means slowly regressions will creep up unnoticed. So Zink will takeover for legacy sw when it becomes really necessary.
I am actually positively surprised this issue is taken care of now, while we have good reference drivers, so before it is too late to do it right.
Also, for some embedded targets like rpi4, and rpi5 when it will follow, this will probably allow much better OpenGL support, since OpenGL driver never was so great ... And Vulkan driver is wayyyy simpler to do.
BielFPs 4 Feb
Quoting: 3zekielYou will need to have Vulkan support. Zink goes from OpenGL to vulkan.

Really? I've always though Zink was a software to convert Vulkan calls to "sane" OpenGL.

I guess some terms ate confusing when english is not your first language

Thanks for the clarification


Last edited by BielFPs on 4 February 2021 at 10:01 pm UTC
Hamish 4 Feb
Is that Blackbox I see there? Good man.
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