Linked by Rayiner Hashem & Eugenia Loli-Queru on Mon 24th Nov 2003 16:24 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews Today we are very happy to publish a very interesting Q&A with major members: the founder Havoc Pennington (also of Debian, Gnome and Red Hat fame), Waldo Bastian (of SuSE & KDE fame), Keith Packard and Jim Gettys (of X/XFree86/fontconfig/w3c fame) and David Zeuthen, a new member who's taking over the ambitious HAL project. In the article, we discuss about general goals, status and issues, the role of KDE/Qt in the road to interoperability with Gnome/GTK+, HAL (with new screenshots), the new X Server aiming to replace XFree86 and we even have an exclusive preliminary screenshot of a version of Mac OS X's Exposé window management feature for this new X Server! This is one article not to be missed if you are into Unix/Linux desktop!
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by Rayiner Hashem on Tue 25th Nov 2003 02:12 UTC

Apple does use hardware acceleration, but in very limited cases. It uses bit-blit acceleration for stuff like scrolling, so the CPU isn't stuck moving large blocks of pixels around. They also use OpenGL, of course, to composit those transparent windows together.

However, they don't appear to use acceleration for stuff like line or polygon drawing. Current hardware has a sharp divide between 2D and 3D components. The 2D components traditionally used by Windows, MacOS, and X, don't support anti-aliasing or alpha blending (transparency), or gradients or anything like that. Since OS X uses very high-quality vector graphics, with everything anti-aliased and transparent and whatnot, it can't use the existing 2D acceleration, except for the aformentioned bit-blit functionality.

That's why everyone's going 3D, because even the cheapest 3D hardware supports that functionality. Unfortunately, taking advantage of that hardware is complex. Consumer level graphics cards are game oriented --- they often make quality compromises (unacceptable for high-quality 2D), and aren't designed to handle more than one rendering application at a time. Overall, its just a hard problem to solve.