Compilation and Installation Using Meson — The Mesa 3D Graphics Library latest documentation (2024)

1. Introduction

For general information about Meson see the Mesonwebsite.

Mesa’s Meson build system is generally considered stable and ready forproduction.


Mesa requires Meson >= 0.60.0 to build.

If your distribution doesn’t have something recent enough in itsrepositories, you can try the methods suggested here to install thecurrent version of Meson.

The Meson build of Mesa is tested on Linux, macOS, Windows, Cygwin,Haiku, FreeBSD, DragonflyBSD, NetBSD, and should work on OpenBSD.

Unix-like OSes

If Meson is not already installed on your system, you can typicallyinstall it with your package installer. For example:

sudo apt-get install meson # Ubuntu


sudo dnf install meson # Fedora

Some older versions of Meson do not check that they are too old and willerror out in odd ways.

You’ll also need Ninja. If it’s notalready installed, use apt-get or dnf to install the ninja-buildpackage.


You will need to install Python 3 and Meson as a module using pip. Thisis because we use Python for generating code, and rely on externalmodules (Mako). You also need pkg-config (a hard dependency of Meson),Flex, and Bison. The easiest way to install everything you need is withChocolatey.

choco install python3 winflexbison pkgconfiglite

You can even use Chocolatey to install MinGW and Ninja (Ninja can beused with MSVC as well)

choco install ninja mingw

Then install Meson using pip

py -3 -m pip install meson mako

You may need to add the Python 3 scripts directory to your path forMeson.

2. Basic Usage

The Meson program is used to configure the source directory andgenerates either a Ninja build file or Visual Studio® build files. Thelatter must be enabled via the --backend switch, as Ninja is thedefault backend on all operating systems.

Meson only supports out-of-tree builds, and must be passed a directoryto put built and generated sources into. We’ll call that directory“build” here. It’s recommended to create a separate builddirectoryfor each configuration you might want to use.

Basic configuration is done with:

meson setup build/

This will create the build directory. If any dependencies are missing,you can install them, or try to remove the dependency with a Mesonconfiguration option (see below). Meson will print a summary of thebuild options at the end.

To review the options which Meson chose, run:

meson configure build/

Recent version of Meson can print the available options and theirdefault values by running meson configure in the source directory.If your Meson version is too old, you can always look in themeson_options.txtfile at the root of the project.

With additional arguments meson configure can be used to changeoptions for a previously configured build directory. All options passedto this command are in the form -D "option"="value". For example:

meson configure build/ -Dprefix=/tmp/install -Dglx=true

Note that options taking lists (such as platforms) are a bit morecomplicated,but the simplest form compatible with Mesa options is to use a comma toseparate values (-D platforms=drm,wayland) and brackets to representan empty list (-D platforms=[]).

Once you’ve run the initial meson command successfully you can useyour configured backend to build the project in your build directory:

ninja -C build/

The next step is to install the Mesa libraries, drivers, etc. This alsofinishes up some final steps of the build process (such as creatingsymbolic links for drivers). To install:

ninja -C build/ install

Windows specific instructions

On Windows you have a couple of choices for compilers. If you installedMinGW with Chocolatey and want to use Ninja you should be able to openany shell and follow the instructions above. If you want to you MSVC,clang-cl, or ICL (the Intel Compiler), read on.

Both ICL and MSVC come with shell environments, the easiest way to useMeson with these it to open a shell. For clang-cl you will need to openan MSVC shell, and then override the compilers, either using a nativefile, or with theCC and CXX environment variables.

All of these compilers are tested and work with Ninja, but if you wantVisual Studio integration or you just like msbuild, passing--backend=vs to Meson will generate a Visual Studio solution.

3. Advanced Usage

Installation Location

Meson default to installing in your system’s mainlib/ directory and DRI drivers to a dri/ subdirectory.

Developers will often want to install Mesa to a testing directory ratherthan the system library directory. This can be done with the –prefixoption. For example:

meson --prefix="${PWD}/build/install" build/

will put the final libraries and drivers into the build/install/directory. Then you can set LD_LIBRARY_PATH and LIBGL_DRIVERS_PATH tothat location to run/test the driver.

Meson also honors DESTDIR for installs.

Compiler Options

Meson supports the common CFLAGS, CXXFLAGS, etc. environment variablesbut their use is discouraged because of the many caveats in using them.

Instead, it is recommended to use -D${lang}_args and-D${lang}_link_args. Among the benefits of these options is thatthey are guaranteed to persist across rebuilds and reconfigurations.

This example sets -fmax-errors for compiling C sources and -DMAGIC=123for C++ sources:

meson setup builddir/ -Dc_args=-fmax-errors=10 -Dcpp_args=-DMAGIC=123

Compiler Specification

Meson supports the standard CC and CXX environment variables forchanging the default compiler. Note that Meson does not allow changingthe compilers in a configured build directory so you will need to createa new build dir for a different compiler.

This is an example of specifying the Clang compilers and cleaning thebuild directory before reconfiguring with an extra C option:

CC=clang CXX=clang++ meson setup build-clangninja -C build-clangninja -C build-clang cleanmeson configure build -Dc_args="-Wno-typedef-redefinition"ninja -C build-clang

The default compilers depends on your operating system. Meson supportsmost of the popular compilers, a complete list is availablehere.


Meson includes upstream logic to wrap llvm-config using its standarddependency interface.

Meson can use CMake to find LLVM. But due to the way LLVM implements itsCMake finder it will only find static libraries, it will never There is also a -Dcmake_module_path option,which points to the root of an alternative installation (the prefix).For example:

meson setup builddir -Dcmake_module_path=/home/user/mycmake/prefix

As of Meson 0.49.0 Meson also has the concept of a “nativefile”, these filesprovide information about the native build environment (as opposed to across build environment). They are INI formatted and can override whereto find llvm-config:


[binaries]llvm-config = '/usr/local/bin/llvm/llvm-config'

Then configure Meson:

meson setup builddir/ --native-file custom-llvm.ini

For selecting llvm-config for cross compiling a “crossfile”should be used. It uses the same format as the native file above:


[binaries]...llvm-config = '/usr/lib/llvm-config-32'cmake = '/usr/bin/cmake-for-my-arch'

Obviously, only CMake or llvm-config is required.

Then configure Meson:

meson setup builddir/ --cross-file cross-llvm.ini

See the Cross Compilation section for moreinformation.

On Windows (and in other cases), using llvm-config or CMake may beeither undesirable or impossible. Meson’s solution for this is awrap, inthis case a “binary wrap”. Follow the steps below:

  • Install the binaries and headers into the$mesa_src/subprojects/llvm

  • Add a file to that directory (more on that later)

The wrap file must define the following:

  • dep_llvm: a declare_dependency() object withinclude_directories, dependencies, and version set)

It may also define:

  • irbuilder_h: a files() object pointing to llvm/IR/IRBuilder.h

  • has_rtti: a bool that declares whether LLVM was built withRTTI. Defaults to true

such a file might look like:

project('llvm', ['cpp'])cpp = meson.get_compiler('cpp')_deps = []_search = join_paths(meson.current_source_dir(), 'lib')foreach d : ['libLLVMCodeGen', 'libLLVMScalarOpts', 'libLLVMAnalysis', 'libLLVMTransformUtils', 'libLLVMCore', 'libLLVMX86CodeGen', 'libLLVMSelectionDAG', 'libLLVMipo', 'libLLVMAsmPrinter', 'libLLVMInstCombine', 'libLLVMInstrumentation', 'libLLVMMC', 'libLLVMGlobalISel', 'libLLVMObjectYAML', 'libLLVMDebugInfoPDB', 'libLLVMVectorize', 'libLLVMPasses', 'libLLVMSupport', 'libLLVMLTO', 'libLLVMObject', 'libLLVMDebugInfoCodeView', 'libLLVMDebugInfoDWARF', 'libLLVMOrcJIT', 'libLLVMProfileData', 'libLLVMObjCARCOpts', 'libLLVMBitReader', 'libLLVMCoroutines', 'libLLVMBitWriter', 'libLLVMRuntimeDyld', 'libLLVMMIRParser', 'libLLVMX86Desc', 'libLLVMAsmParser', 'libLLVMTableGen', 'libLLVMFuzzMutate', 'libLLVMLinker', 'libLLVMMCParser', 'libLLVMExecutionEngine', 'libLLVMCoverage', 'libLLVMInterpreter', 'libLLVMTarget', 'libLLVMX86AsmParser', 'libLLVMSymbolize', 'libLLVMDebugInfoMSF', 'libLLVMMCJIT', 'libLLVMXRay', 'libLLVMX86AsmPrinter', 'libLLVMX86Disassembler', 'libLLVMMCDisassembler', 'libLLVMOption', 'libLLVMIRReader', 'libLLVMLibDriver', 'libLLVMDlltoolDriver', 'libLLVMDemangle', 'libLLVMBinaryFormat', 'libLLVMLineEditor', 'libLLVMWindowsManifest', 'libLLVMX86Info', 'libLLVMX86Utils'] _deps += cpp.find_library(d, dirs : _search)endforeachdep_llvm = declare_dependency( include_directories : include_directories('include'), dependencies : _deps, version : '6.0.0',)has_rtti = falseirbuilder_h = files('include/llvm/IR/IRBuilder.h')

It is very important that version is defined and is accurate, if it isnot, workarounds for the wrong version of LLVM might be used resultingin build failures.


The pkg-config utility is a hard requirement for configuring andbuilding Mesa on Unix-like systems. It is used to search for externallibraries on the system. This environment variable is used to controlthe search path for pkg-config. For instance, settingPKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/X11R6/lib/pkgconfig will search for packagemetadata in /usr/X11R6 before the standard directories.


One of the oddities of Meson is that some options are different whenpassed to meson than to meson configure. These options arepassed as –option=foo to meson, but -Doption=foo tomeson configure. Mesa defined options are always passed as-Doption=foo.

For those coming from Autotools be aware of the following:


This option will set the compiler debug/optimization levels to aiddebugging the Mesa libraries.

Note that in Meson this defaults to debugoptimized, and notsetting it to release will yield non-optimal performance andbinary size. Not using debug may interfere with debugging as somecode and validation will be optimized away.

For those wishing to pass their own optimization flags, use theplain buildtype, which causes Meson to inject no additionalcompiler arguments, only those in the C/CXXFLAGS and those that mesaitself defines.


This option controls assertions in Meson projects. When set tofalse (the default) assertions are enabled, when set to true theyare disabled. This is unrelated to the buildtype; setting thelatter to release will not turn off assertions.

4. Cross-compilation and 32-bit builds

Meson supportscross-compilation byspecifying a number of binary paths and settings in a file and passingthis file to meson or meson configure with the --cross-fileparameter.

This file can live at any location, but you can use the bare filename(without the folder path) if you put it in$XDG_DATA_HOME/meson/cross or ~/.local/share/meson/cross

Below are a few example of cross files, but keep in mind that you willlikely have to alter them for your system.

Those running on Arch Linux can use the AUR-maintained packages for someof those, as they’ll have the right values for your system:

32-bit build on x86 linux:

[binaries]c = '/usr/bin/gcc'cpp = '/usr/bin/g++'ar = '/usr/bin/gcc-ar'strip = '/usr/bin/strip'pkgconfig = '/usr/bin/pkg-config-32'llvm-config = '/usr/bin/llvm-config32'[properties]c_args = ['-m32']c_link_args = ['-m32']cpp_args = ['-m32']cpp_link_args = ['-m32'][host_machine]system = 'linux'cpu_family = 'x86'cpu = 'i686'endian = 'little'

64-bit build on ARM linux:

[binaries]c = '/usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-gcc'cpp = '/usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-g++'ar = '/usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-gcc-ar'strip = '/usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-strip'pkgconfig = '/usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-pkg-config'exe_wrapper = '/usr/bin/qemu-aarch64-static'[host_machine]system = 'linux'cpu_family = 'aarch64'cpu = 'aarch64'endian = 'little'

64-bit build on x86 Windows:

[binaries]c = '/usr/bin/x86_64-w64-mingw32-gcc'cpp = '/usr/bin/x86_64-w64-mingw32-g++'ar = '/usr/bin/x86_64-w64-mingw32-ar'strip = '/usr/bin/x86_64-w64-mingw32-strip'pkgconfig = '/usr/bin/x86_64-w64-mingw32-pkg-config'exe_wrapper = 'wine'[host_machine]system = 'windows'cpu_family = 'x86_64'cpu = 'i686'endian = 'little'
Compilation and Installation Using Meson — The Mesa 3D Graphics Library latest documentation (2024)


How to compile using meson? ›

  1. choco install python3 winflexbison pkgconfiglite. You can even use Chocolatey to install MinGW and Ninja (Ninja can be used with MSVC as well)
  2. choco install ninja mingw. Then install Meson using pip.
  3. py -3 -m pip install meson mako. You may need to add the Python 3 scripts directory to your path for Meson.

How to compile a Mesa driver? ›

Building mesa
  1. Install all build dependencies for mesa.
  2. Clone the mesa repo to ~/Projects/mesa.
  3. Build mesa.
  4. Install the mesa version you just built into ~/mesa (not the same as the above directory)
  5. Create a script which can tell games / apps to use the libraries from ~/mesa instead of what is on your system out of the box.

How to install Mesa 3D in Windows? ›

  1. Prerequisites. Ensure your system meets the minimum hardware requirements. Install the MESA SDK.
  2. Installation. Download MESA. Set your environment variables. Compile MESA.
  3. Troubleshooting. Check that your environment variables are set correctly. Confirm that you installed the MESA SDK correctly. Consult the FAQ.

How to install meson on linux? ›

Installing Meson is just as simple as installing the compiler toolchain.
  1. Debian, Ubuntu and derivatives: sudo apt install meson ninja-build.
  2. Fedora, Centos, RHEL and derivatives: sudo dnf install meson ninja-build.
  3. Arch: sudo pacman -S meson.

Will Meson require Python 3.7 or newer? ›

Meson is implemented in Python 3, and requires 3.7 or newer. If your operating system provides a package manager, you should install it with that. For platforms that don't have a package manager, you need to download it from Python's home page. See below for platform-specific Python3 quirks.

What is a Meson project? ›

Meson is an open source build system meant to be both extremely fast, and, even more importantly, as user friendly as possible. The main design point of Meson is that every moment a developer spends writing or debugging build definitions is a second wasted.

How to install OpenGL on Mesa? ›

Preparing Your Linux Mint Operating System for OpenGL Development
  1. Enter sudo apt-get update.
  2. Enter sudo apt-get install freeglut3.
  3. Enter sudo apt-get install freeglut3-dev.
  4. Enter sudo apt-get install binutils-gold.
  5. Enter sudo apt-get install g++ cmake.
  6. Enter sudo apt-get install libglew-dev.
  7. Enter sudo apt-get install g++

How to compile and install Linux driver? ›

First you need root privileges to do the compule and installation. Login as root on your system. Unzip the delivered kernel driver source package in your user directory. Call the compile script

Can I use Mesa drivers on Windows? ›

But there's also support for Windows, other flavors of Unix and other systems such as Haiku. We're actively developing and maintaining several hardware and software drivers. The primary API is OpenGL but there's also support for OpenGL ES, Vulkan, EGL, OpenMAX, OpenCL, VDPAU and VA-API.

How to install 3D Viewer in Windows 10? ›

Add 3D to your world with Windows 10
  1. Make sure you have the Windows 10 April 2018 Update installed on your PC.
  2. Search for Mixed Reality Viewer in the taskbar, and then open the app.
  3. Select Do more with 3D > Mixed reality to open the 3D model in your camera and take a photo.

How to build GStreamer with Meson? ›

Getting started
  1. Install git and python 3.5+ If you're on Linux, you probably already have these. ...
  2. Install meson and ninja. Meson 0.52 or newer is required. ...
  3. Build GStreamer and its modules. ...
  4. External dependencies. ...
  5. Building the Qt5 QML plugin. ...
  6. Building the Intel MSDK plugin. ...
  7. Static build. ...
  8. Bash prompt.

How to compile kernel with clang? ›

How to compile the kernel with Clang (standalone)
  1. Add the Clang commits to your kernel source.
  2. Download/build a compatible Clang toolchain.
  3. Download/build a copy of binutils.
  4. Compile the kernel (for arm64, x86_64 is similar - example using AOSP's toolchains):

How do you clean a Meson build? ›

run meson --reconfigure builddir to force reconfiguration. setup --wipe will remove the build directory, in case something corrupted the cache or builddir - and than creates a (new) configuration.

What languages are supported by Meson build? ›

Being written in Python, Meson runs on Unix-like operating systems, including macOS, as well as Microsoft Windows and on other operating systems. Meson supports the C, C++, CUDA, D, Objective-C, Fortran, Java, C#, Rust, and Vala languages, and has a mechanism for handling dependencies called Wrap.

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