Compiling and Installing

1. Prerequisites for building

1.1 General

Build system

  • Meson is required when building on *nix platforms and on Windows.

  • Android Build system when building as native Android component. Meson is used when building ARC.


The following compilers are known to work, if you know of others or you’re willing to maintain support for other compiler get in touch.

  • GCC 4.2.0 or later (some parts of Mesa may require later versions)

  • Clang - exact minimum requirement is currently unknown.

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 or later is required, for building on Windows.

Third party/extra tools.

  • Python - Python 3.5 or newer is required.

  • Python Mako module - Python Mako module is required. Version 0.8.0 or later should work.

  • Lex / Yacc - for building the Mesa IR and GLSL compiler.

    On Linux systems, Flex and Bison versions 2.5.35 and 2.4.1, respectively, (or later) should work. On Windows with MinGW, install Flex and Bison with:

    mingw-get install msys-flex msys-bison

    For MSVC on Windows, install Win flex-bison.


Some versions can be buggy (e.g. Flex 2.6.2) so do try others if things fail.

1.2 Requirements

The requirements depends on the features selected at configure stage. Check/install the respective development package as prompted by the configure error message.

Here are some common ways to retrieve most/all of the dependencies based on the packaging tool used by your distro.

zypper source-install --build-deps-only Mesa # openSUSE/SLED/SLES
yum-builddep mesa # yum Fedora, OpenSuse(?)
dnf builddep mesa # dnf Fedora
apt-get build-dep mesa # Debian and derivatives
... # others

2. Building with meson

Meson >= 0.46.0 is required

Meson is the latest build system in mesa, it is currently able to build for *nix systems like Linux and BSD, macOS, Haiku, and Windows.

The general approach is:

meson builddir/
ninja -C builddir/
sudo ninja -C builddir/ install

On Windows you can also use the Visual Studio backend

meson builddir --backend=vs
cd builddir
msbuild mesa.sln /m

Please read the detailed meson instructions for more information

3. Running against a local build

It’s often necessary or useful when debugging driver issues or testing new branches to run against a local build of Mesa without doing a system-wide install. To do this, choose a temporary location for the install. A directory called installdir inside your mesa tree is as good as anything. All of the commands below will assume $MESA_INSTALLDIR is an absolute path to this location.

First, configure Mesa and install in the temporary location:

meson builddir/ -Dprefix="$MESA_INSTALLDIR" OTHER_OPTIONS
ninja -C builddir/ install

where OTHER_OPTIONS is replaced by any meson configuration options you may want. For instance, if you want to build the LLVMpipe drivers, it would look like this:

meson builddir/ -Dprefix="$MESA_INSTALLDIR" -Ddri-drivers= \
   -Dgallium-drivers=swrast -Dvulkan-drivers=swrast
ninja -C builddir/ install

Once Mesa has built and installed to $MESA_INSTALLDIR, you can run any app against your temporary install by setting the right environment variables. Which variable you have to set depends on the API.



You may need to use lib instead of lib64 on some systems or a full library specifier on debian. Look inside installdir for the directory that contains and use that one.


VK_ICD_FILENAMES="$MESA_INSTALLDIR/share/vulkan/icd/my_icd.json" vulkaninfo

where my_icd.json is replaced with the actual ICD json file name. This will depend on your driver. For instance, the 64-bit lavapipe driver ICD file is named lvp_icd.x86_64.json.


OCL_ICD_VENDORS="$MESA_INSTALLDIR/etc/OpenCL/vendors" clinfo

Unlike Vulkan, OpenCL takes a path to the whole vendors folder and will enumerate any drivers found there.

Troubleshooting local builds

If you are trying to run an app against a local build and it’s not working, here are a few things to check:

  1. Double-check your paths and try with the simplest app you can. Before banging your head on a Steam game, make sure your path works with glxgears first.

  2. Watch out for wrapper scripts. Some more complex apps such as games have big start-up scripts. Sometimes those scripts scrub the environment or set LD_LIBRARY_PATH to something in the game’s install directory.

  3. Is your Mesa build the same arch as your app? Lots of games are still 32-bit and your Mesa build is probably 64-bit by default.

  4. 32 and 64-bit builds in the same local install directory doesn’t typically work. Distros go to great lengths to make this work in your system install and it’s hard to get it right for a local install. If you’ve recently built 64-bit and are now building 32-bit, throw away the install directory first to prevent conflicts.

4. Building with AOSP (Android)


5. Library Information

When compilation has finished, look in the top-level lib/ (or lib64/) directory. You’ll see a set of library files similar to this:

lrwxrwxrwx    1 brian    users          10 Mar 26 07:53 ->*
lrwxrwxrwx    1 brian    users          19 Mar 26 07:53 ->*
-rwxr-xr-x    1 brian    users     3375861 Mar 26 07:53*
lrwxrwxrwx    1 brian    users          14 Mar 26 07:53 ->*
lrwxrwxrwx    1 brian    users          23 Mar 26 07:53 ->*
-rwxr-xr-x    1 brian    users       23871 Mar 26 07:53*

libGL is the main OpenGL library (i.e. Mesa), while libOSMesa is the OSMesa (Off-Screen) interface library.

If you built the DRI hardware drivers, you’ll also see the DRI drivers:

-rwxr-xr-x   1 brian users 16895413 Jul 21 12:11
-rwxr-xr-x   1 brian users 16895413 Jul 21 12:11
-rwxr-xr-x   1 brian users 11849858 Jul 21 12:12
-rwxr-xr-x   1 brian users 11757388 Jul 21 12:12

If you built with Gallium support, look in lib/gallium/ for Gallium-based versions of libGL and device drivers.

6. Building OpenGL programs with pkg-config

Running ninja install will install package configuration files for the pkg-config utility.

When compiling your OpenGL application you can use pkg-config to determine the proper compiler and linker flags.

For example, compiling and linking a GLUT application can be done with:

gcc `pkg-config --cflags --libs glut` mydemo.c -o mydemo