The Gallium llvmpipe driver is a software rasterizer that uses LLVM to do runtime code generation. Shaders, point/line/triangle rasterization and vertex processing are implemented with LLVM IR which is translated to x86 or x86-64 machine code. Also, the driver is multithreaded to take advantage of multiple CPU cores (up to 8 at this time). It’s the fastest software rasterizer for Mesa.


  • An x86 or amd64 processor; 64-bit mode recommended.

    Support for SSE2 is strongly encouraged. Support for SSSE3 and SSE4.1 will yield the most efficient code. The fewer features the CPU has the more likely is that you run into underperforming, buggy, or incomplete code.

    See /proc/cpuinfo to know what your CPU supports.

  • LLVM: version 3.4 recommended; 3.3 or later required.

    For Linux, on a recent Debian based distribution do:

    aptitude install llvm-dev

    For a RPM-based distribution do:

    yum install llvm-devel

    For Windows you will need to build LLVM from source with MSVC or MINGW (either natively or through cross compilers) and CMake, and set the LLVM environment variable to the directory you installed it to. LLVM will be statically linked, so when building on MSVC it needs to be built with a matching CRT as Mesa, and you’ll need to pass -DLLVM_USE_CRT_xxx=yyy as described below.

    LLVM build-type

    Mesa build-type









    You can build only the x86 target by passing -DLLVM_TARGETS_TO_BUILD=X86 to cmake.

  • scons (optional)


To build everything on Linux invoke scons as:

scons build=debug libgl-xlib

Alternatively, you can build it with GNU make, if you prefer, by invoking it as

make linux-llvm

but the rest of these instructions assume that scons is used. For Windows the procedure is similar except the target:

scons platform=windows build=debug libgl-gdi



On Linux, building will create a drop-in alternative for libGL.so into




To use it set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable accordingly.

For performance evaluation pass build=release to scons, and use the corresponding lib directory without the “-debug” suffix.


On Windows, building will create build/windows-x86-debug/gallium/targets/libgl-gdi/opengl32.dll which is a drop-in alternative for system’s opengl32.dll. To use it put it in the same directory as your application. It can also be used by replacing the native ICD driver, but it’s quite an advanced usage, so if you need to ask, don’t even try it.

There is however an easy way to replace the OpenGL software renderer that comes with Microsoft Windows 7 (or later) with llvmpipe (that is, on systems without any OpenGL drivers):

  • copy build/windows-x86-debug/gallium/targets/libgl-gdi/opengl32.dll to C:\Windows\SysWOW64\mesadrv.dll

  • load this registry settings:

    ; http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc749368.aspx
    ; http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/143241-portable-windows-7-build-from-winpe-30/page-5#entry942596
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\OpenGLDrivers\MSOGL]
  • Ditto for 64 bits drivers if you need them.


To profile llvmpipe you should build as

scons build=profile <same-as-before>

This will ensure that frame pointers are used both in C and JIT functions, and that no tail call optimizations are done by gcc.

Linux perf integration

On Linux, it is possible to have symbol resolution of JIT code with Linux perf:

perf record -g /my/application
perf report

When run inside Linux perf, llvmpipe will create a /tmp/perf-XXXXX.map file with symbol address table. It also dumps assembly code to /tmp/perf-XXXXX.map.asm, which can be used by the bin/perf-annotate-jit script to produce disassembly of the generated code annotated with the samples.

You can obtain a call graph via Gprof2Dot.

Unit testing

Building will also create several unit tests in build/linux-???-debug/gallium/drivers/llvmpipe:

  • lp_test_blend: blending
  • lp_test_conv: SIMD vector conversion
  • lp_test_format: pixel unpacking/packing

Some of this tests can output results and benchmarks to a tab-separated-file for posterior analysis, e.g.:

build/linux-x86_64-debug/gallium/drivers/llvmpipe/lp_test_blend -o blend.tsv

Development Notes

  • When looking to this code by the first time start in lp_state_fs.c, and then skim through the lp_bld_* functions called in there, and the comments at the top of the lp_bld_*.c functions.
  • The driver-independent parts of the LLVM / Gallium code are found in src/gallium/auxiliary/gallivm/. The filenames and function prefixes need to be renamed from “lp_bld_” to something else though.
  • We use LLVM-C bindings for now. They are not documented, but follow the C++ interfaces very closely, and appear to be complete enough for code generation. See this stand-alone example. See the llvm-c/Core.h file for reference.