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Slashdot: Linux Graphics Programming with SVGAlib [Book Review]

Oct 26, 2000, 19:36 (0 Talkback[s])

"XFree86 isn't the be-all end-all of Linux graphics. Consider the embedded space, or dedicated turnkey apps, or console games, or... Jay Link introduces readers to SVGAlib in a flawed, but entertaining and useful tutorial. (If you've never heard of SVGAlib, it's a Linux-specific graphics library providing fast functions for full-screen use, joystick and keyboard input, and even 3D. It's undergone development and refinement for a few years, and it's easy to use but still powerful.)"

"More than a listing of SVGAlib functions and their uses, the author covers a wide scope of graphics topics. They're all explored in the context of SVGAlib, but the basic principles apply to other libraries. Monitors display information the same way, polygons and primitives have the same algorithms, and something has to save the background before you draw something over top of it. The first three chapters cover libraries, competing tools, graphics modes, hardware fundamentals, and the primitive primitives. It's a good introduction to graphics in general."

"Starting simply, SVGAlib functions obviously build on each other. For the most part, so do the chapters. Once you've mastered setting pixels and drawing lines, it's time to draw circles and arcs or fill in your shapes. You'll want fonts after that, and then animation. Basically, this is a book you can read straight through with little trouble. Link travels a lot of ground -- input devices, 3D development, raytracing, animation, and user interfaces. Appendices B and C list and describe the vga and vgagl functions of SVGAlib. Though usually short, the descriptions have information enough to be useful to a casual programmer, often listing caveats and gotchas."

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