How to Install The Latest Mesa Graphics Driver in Ubuntu 20.04 / 21.04

For those sticking to the open-source graphics driver, the latest Mesa 3D graphics library is easy to install via an Ubuntu PPA.

Mesa is an open-source software implementation of OpenGL, Vulkan, VDPAU, VA-API, and other graphics API specifications.

Ubuntu uses Mesa as OpenGL implementation if no proprietary driver is in use. It is however always old. For users want to play some games with the open-source RadeonSI, RADV, Intel, or Nouveau drivers, you may try the latest Mesa via PPA.

Install Mesa via Ubuntu PPA:

A trustworthy Ubuntu PPA is available that contains the latest stable Mesa packages for Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04. It also provides packages for Ubuntu 20.10 and Ubuntu 21.04, but not tested.

1. Add the PPA:

Search for and open terminal from system app launcher. When it opens, run command to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kisak/kisak-mesa

Type user password, no visual feedback, when it asks. Read the PPA description as you want and hit Enter to continue.

2. Install Mesa packages:

For Ubuntu 18.04, Linux Mint, you need to update package cache though it’d done automatically in Ubuntu 20.04 and higher.

sudo apt update

Finally install available upgrades of all packages including Mesa library via command:

sudo apt full-upgrade

3. Check mesa version:

To find out the package version, use command:

glxinfo | grep "OpenGL version"

Restore Original Mesa packages:

To restore your graphics driver to the original status, firstly install ppa-purge via command:

sudo apt install ppa-purge

Next purge the Ubuntu PPA which will downgrade all the installed packages:

sudo ppa-purge ppa:kisak/kisak-mesa

For Linux Mint 20, it’s recommended to add -d focal flag to work safely:

sudo ppa-purge -d focal ppa:kisak/kisak-mesa