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Linux.com: Linux Goes 3D

Nov 23, 1999, 17:34 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Luke Groeninger)

"Linux has made many leaps and bounds in the past year. One of the flaws that made Linux a poor alternative to traditional UNIX workstations is the lack of mature (fast, stable, and compatible) OpenGL libraries. The Mesa group has done a wonderful job with their OpenGL clone, but it doesn't stack up against SGI workstations; after all, it is only software rendering, and what hardware rendering existed was buggy, a pain to get working, and generally a mess. All this is about to change."

"To be fair, it was not any one person's fault for the problems of the OpenGL implementations. Most of the problems with speed were encountered because X does not let applications write directly to the screen, and what protocols did exist for 3d rendering were so complex that it took ages to write and debug a driver. The complexity of X and the protocols used for rendering caused bugs to be both numerous and hard to find."

"But in the past year, the foundation has been laid for full hardware OpenGL support in Linux. Precision Insight Inc. introduced a new infrastructure for 3D rendering called DRI, which allows faster rendering with less overhead, NVIDIA announced full Linux support for its current and upcoming graphics cards, and 3Dfx has released the source code for a Voodoo3 DRI implementation. These being drastic improvements and all, many of you are probably asking why this is important."

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