Linux Graphics Advocacy
The Linux Operating System
is arguably the finest operating system in existence. It is
currently one of the
hottest sellers, out pacing many Windows products.
Its strengths lie in its advanced features, its
incredible robustness and stability, its compatibility with
Unix standards, its support for Intel x86/Pentium/II/Pro(TM),
PowerPC(TM), Alpha(TM) and Sparc(TM) processors, and,
of course ... its price.
It has strong corporate support with the likes of
SuSE, and is becoming
increasingly popular in the
where server features, scalability, and robust software are the
important factors. With its broad support for
games, desktops, and productivity apps, it has also become
a popular operating system for the home user. You can now buy
Linux off-the-shelf at most CompUSA, Computer City and other
shopping-mall computer outlets, as well as at many technical
However, it's rise in the graphical client world has barely begun,
and your help is needed to further it. There are a variety
of commercial and non-commercial applications, such as
The GIMP, a PhotoShop(TM)-like
image manipulation & paint tool,
a commercial 3D modeling tool, the
POV-Ray ray-tracing engine
and modeling infrastructure,
CorelDraw graphics design package,
not to mention games, such
Many more are listed at the
X: End of Story
web sites. A partial listing of OpenGL apps
for Linux can be found at
But conspicuous in its absence is the support of the
accelerated 3D hardware vendors, who, despite record
sales of Linux and an install base estimated at
6 million users, want to throw their weight behind
Microsoft and Windows NT. Similarly, the vested interests
behind the commercial OpenGL
implementations have managed to completely ignore the rising
tide of Linux.
This page is a call to software and hardware developers to
put their support behind accelerated 3D for Linux. There
already exist several efforts in this area, which you are
urged to join.
a good software implementation of OpenGL, has drivers for
3Dfx Voodoo, S3 Virge and GLiNT based boards. However,
device-drivers for many 3D boards are missing, and
developers are encouraged to get these up and running.
- GGI is
developing kernel extensions to provide commercial-Unix grade
hardware acceleration interfaces for graphics. Most
commercial high-end Unix graphics drivers have kernel extensions
to support high-performance direct hardware access. A similar
infrastructure for Linux is still in the embryonic stage.
Kernel hackers who understand 3D are encouraged to help out.
- A discussion
of high-end graphics hardware requirements is not a project
per-se, but rather a source of information about high-end
graphics hardware for PC-class hardware developers and chip
designers. Hardware designers take note: if you are not
building a system with these features now, you soon will be.
- The GLX
protocol project, enabling network-transparent access for
Followup discussions about these topics should be posted to the
comp.os.linux.development.system USENET newsgroup.
Last updated December 1997 by Linas Vepstas.
Linas can be reached at
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1;
with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no
Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included at the URL
the web page titled
"GNU Free Documentation License".
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