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Vulkano is a Rust wrapper around the Vulkan graphics API. It follows the Rust philosophy, which is that as long as you don't use unsafe code you shouldn't be able to trigger any undefined behavior. In the case of Vulkan, this means that non-unsafe code should always conform to valid API usage.

What does vulkano do?

  • Provides a low-levelish API around Vulkan. It doesn't hide what it does, but provides some comfort types.
  • Plans to prevent all invalid API usages, even the most obscure ones. The purpose of vulkano is not to simply let you draw a teapot, but to cover all possible usages of Vulkan and detect all the possible problems in order to write robust programs. Invalid API usage is prevented thanks to both compile-time checks and runtime checks.
  • Can handle synchronization on the GPU side for you (unless you choose do that yourself), as this aspect of Vulkan is both annoying to handle and error-prone. Dependencies between submissions are automatically detected, and semaphores are managed automatically. The behavior of the library can be customized thanks to unsafe trait implementations.
  • Tries to be convenient to use. Nobody is going to use a library that requires you to browse the documentation for hours for every single operation.

Note that in general vulkano does not require you to install the official Vulkan SDK. This is not something specific to vulkano (you don't need the SDK to write programs that use Vulkan, even without vulkano), but many people are unaware of that and install the SDK thinking that it is required. However, macOS and iOS platforms do require a little more Vulkan setup since it is not natively supported. See below for more details.

Development status

Vulkano is still in heavy development and doesn't yet meet its goals of being very robust. However the general structure of the library is most likely definitive, and all future breaking changes will likely be straight-forward to fix in user code.


To get started you are encouraged to use the following resources:

  • The guide on - Starts with trivial compute examples (~50 lines of code) then works up to rendering triangles and mandelbrots.
  • The vulkano-examples repository - Includes examples in the repo and also a list of projects that use vulkano.
  • - Full Vulkano API documentation


Vulkano uses shaderc-rs for shader compilation. Refer to shaderc-rs documentation to provide a pre-built libshaderc for faster build times.

Unless you provide libshaderc, in order to build libshaderc with the shaderc-sys crate, the following tools must be installed and available on PATH:

  • CMake
  • Ninja Is optional except when building with MSVC. It may speed up build time for libshaderc.
  • Python (works with both Python 2.x and 3.x, on windows the executable must be named python.exe)

These requirements can be either installed with your favourite package manager or with installers from the projects' websites. Below are some example ways to get setup.

windows-msvc Specific Setup

  1. rustup default stable-x86_64-pc-windows-msvc
  2. Install Build Tools for Visual Studio 2017. If you have already been using this toolchain then its probably already installed.
  3. Install msys2, following ALL of the instructions.
  4. Then in the msys2 terminal run: pacman --noconfirm -Syu mingw-w64-x86_64-cmake mingw-w64-x86_64-python2 mingw-w64-x86_64-ninja
  5. Add the msys2 mingw64 binary path to the PATH environment variable.

Windows-gnu Specific Setup

windows-gnu toolchain is not supported but you can instead cross-compile to windows-gnu from windows-msvc

Steps 1 and 2 are to workaround by using the same mingw that rust uses.

  1. Download and extract
  2. Add the absolute path to mingw64\bin to your PATH environment variable. (This path needs to be before the msys2 path)
  3. Run the command: rustup default stable-x86_64-pc-windows-msvc
  4. Run the command: rustup target install x86_64-pc-windows-gnu
  5. Install Build Tools for Visual Studio 2017. If you have already been using this toolchain then its probably already installed.
  6. Install msys2, following ALL of the instructions.
  7. Then in the msys2 terminal run: pacman --noconfirm -Syu mingw64/mingw-w64-x86_64-pkg-config mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc mingw-w64-x86_64-cmake mingw-w64-x86_64-make mingw-w64-x86_64-python2 mingw-w64-x86_64-ninja
  8. Add the msys2 mingw64 binary path to the PATH environment variable.
  9. Any cargo command that builds the project needs to include --target x86_64-pc-windows-gnu e.g. to run: cargo run --target x86_64-pc-windows-gnu

Linux Specific Setup

Use your package manager to install the required dev-tools and vulkan drivers

For example on ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install build-essential git python cmake libvulkan-dev vulkan-utils

macOS and iOS Specific Setup

Vulkan is not natively supported by macOS and iOS. However, there exists MoltenVK an open-source Vulkan implementation on top of Apple's Metal API. This allows vulkano to build and run on macOS and iOS platforms.

The easiest way to get vulkano up and running with MoltenVK is to install the Vulkan SDK for macOS. There are installation instructions on the LunarG website.

On iOS, vulkano links directly to the MoltenVK framework. There is nothing else to do besides installing it. Note that the Vulkan SDK for macOS also comes with the iOS framework.


Austin Johnson (Active maintainer) Become a patron

Rukai (Current maintainer) Become a patron

Tomaka (Original developer) Become a patron


Contributions are welcome! Feel free to submit pull requests.

Pull requests that fix bugs or improve documentation are likely to be quickly reviewed, while pull requests that add features or change the API may be more controversial and take more time.

If your change adds, removes or modifies a trait or a function, please add an entry to the file as part of your pull request.


This repository contains four libraries:

  • vulkano is the main one.
  • vulkano-shaders Provides the shader! macro for compiling glsl shaders.
  • vulkano-win provides a safe link between vulkano and the winit library which can create a window to render to.
  • vk-sys contains raw bindings for Vulkan. You can use it even if you don't care about vulkano.

In order to run tests, run cargo test --all at the root of the repository. Make sure your Vulkan driver is up to date before doing so.


Licensed under either of


Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work by you shall be dual licensed as above, without any additional terms or conditions.

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