The Mesa 3D Graphics Library

Mesa EGL

The current version of EGL in Mesa implements EGL 1.4. More information about EGL can be found at

The Mesa's implementation of EGL uses a driver architecture. The main library (libEGL) is window system neutral. It provides the EGL API entry points and helper functions for use by the drivers. Drivers are dynamically loaded by the main library and most of the EGL API calls are directly dispatched to the drivers.

The driver in use decides the window system to support.

Build EGL

  1. Run configure with the desired client APIs and enable the driver for your hardware. For example

      $ ./configure --enable-gles1 --enable-gles2 \
                    --with-dri-drivers=... \

    The main library and OpenGL is enabled by default. The first two options above enables OpenGL ES 1.x and 2.x. The last two options enables the listed classic and and Gallium drivers respectively.

  2. Build and install Mesa as usual.

In the given example, it will build and install libEGL, libGL, libGLESv1_CM, libGLESv2, and one or more EGL drivers.

Configure Options

There are several options that control the build of EGL at configuration time


By default, EGL is enabled. When disabled, the main library and the drivers will not be built.


The directory EGL drivers should be installed to. If not specified, EGL drivers will be installed to ${libdir}/egl.


Enable the optional egl_gallium driver.


List the platforms (window systems) to support. Its argument is a comma separated string such as --with-egl-platforms=x11,drm. It decides the platforms a driver may support. The first listed platform is also used by the main library to decide the native platform: the platform the EGL native types such as EGLNativeDisplayType or EGLNativeWindowType defined for.

The available platforms are x11, drm, fbdev, and gdi. The gdi platform can only be built with SCons. Unless for special needs, the build system should select the right platforms automatically.


These options enable OpenGL ES support in OpenGL. The result is one big internal library that supports multiple APIs.


By default, libGL has its own copy of libglapi. This options makes libGL use the shared libglapi. This is required if applications mix OpenGL and OpenGL ES.


OpenVG must be explicitly enabled by this option.



There are demos for the client APIs supported by EGL. They can be found in mesa/demos repository.

Environment Variables

There are several environment variables that control the behavior of EGL at runtime


By default, the main library will look for drivers in the directory where the drivers are installed to. This variable specifies a list of colon-separated directories where the main library will look for drivers, in addition to the default directory. This variable is ignored for setuid/setgid binaries.

This variable is usually set to test an uninstalled build. For example, one may set

  $ export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$mesa/lib
  $ export EGL_DRIVERS_PATH=$mesa/lib/egl

to test a build without installation


This variable specifies a full path to or the name of an EGL driver. It forces the specified EGL driver to be loaded. It comes in handy when one wants to test a specific driver. This variable is ignored for setuid/setgid binaries.


This variable specifies the native platform. The valid values are the same as those for --with-egl-platforms. When the variable is not set, the main library uses the first platform listed in --with-egl-platforms as the native platform.

Extensions like EGL_MESA_drm_display define new functions to create displays for non-native platforms. These extensions are usually used by applications that support non-native platforms. Setting this variable is probably required only for some of the demos found in mesa/demo repository.


This changes the log level of the main library and the drivers. The valid values are: debug, info, warning, and fatal.


For drivers that support both hardware and software rendering, setting this variable to true forces the use of software rendering.

EGL Drivers


This driver supports both x11 and drm platforms. It functions as a DRI driver loader. For x11 support, it talks to the X server directly using (XCB-)DRI2 protocol.

This driver can share DRI drivers with libGL.


This driver is based on Gallium3D. It supports all rendering APIs and hardware supported by Gallium3D. It is the only driver that supports OpenVG. The supported platforms are X11, DRM, FBDEV, and GDI.

This driver comes with its own hardware drivers (pipe_<hw>) and client API modules (st_<api>).


This driver provides a wrapper to GLX. It uses exclusively GLX to implement the EGL API. It supports both direct and indirect rendering when the GLX does. It is accelerated when the GLX is. As such, it cannot provide functions that is not available in GLX or GLX extensions.


The ABI between the main library and its drivers are not stable. Nor is there a plan to stabilize it at the moment. Of the EGL drivers, egl_gallium has its own hardware drivers and client API modules. They are considered internal to egl_gallium and there is also no stable ABI between them. These should be kept in mind when packaging for distribution.

Generally, egl_dri2 is preferred over egl_gallium when the system already has DRI drivers. As egl_gallium is loaded before egl_dri2 when both are available, egl_gallium is disabled by default.


The sources of the main library and the classic drivers can be found at src/egl/. The sources of the egl state tracker can be found at src/gallium/state_trackers/egl/.

The suggested way to learn to write a EGL driver is to see how other drivers are written. egl_glx should be a good reference. It works in any environment that has GLX support, and it is simpler than most drivers.

Lifetime of Display Resources

Contexts and surfaces are examples of display resources. They might live longer than the display that creates them.

In EGL, when a display is terminated through eglTerminate, all display resources should be destroyed. Similarly, when a thread is released through eglReleaseThread, all current display resources should be released. Another way to destroy or release resources is through functions such as eglDestroySurface or eglMakeCurrent.

When a resource that is current to some thread is destroyed, the resource should not be destroyed immediately. EGL requires the resource to live until it is no longer current. A driver usually calls eglIs<Resource>Bound to check if a resource is bound (current) to any thread in the destroy callbacks. If it is still bound, the resource is not destroyed.

The main library will mark destroyed current resources as unlinked. In a driver's MakeCurrent callback, eglIs<Resource>Linked can then be called to check if a newly released resource is linked to a display. If it is not, the last reference to the resource is removed and the driver should destroy the resource. But it should be careful here because MakeCurrent might be called with an uninitialized display.

This is the only mechanism provided by the main library to help manage the resources. The drivers are responsible to the correct behavior as defined by EGL.


In EGL, the color buffer a context should try to render to is decided by the binding surface. It should try to render to the front buffer if the binding surface has EGL_RENDER_BUFFER set to EGL_SINGLE_BUFFER; If the same context is later bound to a surface with EGL_RENDER_BUFFER set to EGL_BACK_BUFFER, the context should try to render to the back buffer. However, the context is allowed to make the final decision as to which color buffer it wants to or is able to render to.

For pbuffer surfaces, the render buffer is always EGL_BACK_BUFFER. And for pixmap surfaces, the render buffer is always EGL_SINGLE_BUFFER. Unlike window surfaces, EGL spec requires their EGL_RENDER_BUFFER values to be honored. As a result, a driver should never set EGL_PIXMAP_BIT or EGL_PBUFFER_BIT bits of a config if the contexts created with the config won't be able to honor the EGL_RENDER_BUFFER of pixmap or pbuffer surfaces.

It should also be noted that pixmap and pbuffer surfaces are assumed to be single-buffered, in that eglSwapBuffers has no effect on them. It is desirable that a driver allocates a private color buffer for each pbuffer surface created. If the window system the driver supports has native pbuffers, or if the native pixmaps have more than one color buffers, the driver should carefully attach the native color buffers to the EGL surfaces, re-route them if required.

There is no defined behavior as to, for example, how glDrawBuffer interacts with EGL_RENDER_BUFFER. Right now, it is desired that the draw buffer in a client API be fixed for pixmap and pbuffer surfaces. Therefore, the driver is responsible to guarantee that the client API renders to the specified render buffer for pixmap and pbuffer surfaces.

EGLDisplay Mutex

The EGLDisplay will be locked before calling any of the dispatch functions (well, except for GetProcAddress which does not take an EGLDisplay). This guarantees that the same dispatch function will not be called with the sample display at the same time. If a driver has access to an EGLDisplay without going through the EGL APIs, the driver should as well lock the display before using it.