More patent news? Sorry, but for some reason, there's a spike in patent, trademark, and related news this week - not entirely unsurprising considering it's earnings season. HTC, currently under attack from Apple and a recent signer of Microsoft patent agreement regarding Android, has bought S3 Graphics... For the patents. Patents Apple has already been found infringing upon.
"Mozilla's VP of Technical Strategy, Mike Shaver has rejected Microsoft's criticism of WebGL in which it said it would not implement the 3D graphics standard because of security issues in the design. Shaver says that "there is no question that the web needs 3D capabilities" to enable developers to create "advanced visualisations, games or new user interfaces" and points at Molehill (Adobe's 3D for Flash) and Microsoft's Silverlight 3D which are offering just those capabilities." One discussion of Microsofts WebGL criticism can be found here.
The community-created Nouveau driver that's open-source and is written by clean-room reverse-engineering the NVIDIA binary display driver, has reached a serious milestone. For low-end NVIDIA GPUs, the Nouveau driver based upon the Mesa Gallium3D architecture is now as fast, or even faster, than NVIDIA's official proprietary driver.
Microsoft has joined the wave of companies betting that 3-D is the next big thing for computing. At a recent talk at MIT, chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie said he sees the technology as an innovation that "will get people out of treating a computer as a tool" and into treating the device as a natural extension of how they interact with the world around them. Microsoft plans to introduce consumers to the change through its gaming products, but Mundie outlined a vision that would eventually have people shopping and searching in 3-D as well.
"Luca Barbieri made a rather significant commit today that adds a state tracker dubbed 'd3d1x', which implements the Direct3D 10/11 COM API in Gallium3D. Luca says this is just the initial version, but it's already working and can run a few DirectX 10/11 texturing demos on Linux at the moment. This is not a matter of simply translating the Direct3D calls and converting them to OpenGL like how Wine currently handles it, but is natively implemented within Gallium3D and TGSI to speak directly to the underlying graphics driver and hardware. Thanks to Gallium3D's architecture, this Direct3D support essentially becomes 'free' to all Linux drivers with little to no work required."
"Khronos Group, the association behind OpenGL, has today announced the fourth generation of its cross-platform API spec, which takes up the mantle of offering a viable competitor to Microsoft's DirectX 11. The latest release includes two new shader stages for offloading geometry tessellation from the CPU to the GPU, as well as tighter integration with OpenCL to allow the graphics card to take up yet more duties off the typically overworked processor."
"Fedora started out by shipping the Nouveau DDX driver, then turned to kernel mode-setting support that has matured and is used by default with the current Fedora 12 release. With Fedora 13, Red Hat is again shipping with the latest free software NVIDIA bits, which now includes 3D support. Thanks to an update to the mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package, there is 3D/OpenGL support enabled for NVIDIA hardware. This 3D support is coming from Nouveau's Gallium3D driver for most of the NVIDIA graphics hardware while there is also a classic Mesa driver for old NV hardware that recently came about. Yes, there is finally a deployed Nouveau-NVIDIA Gallium3D driver that will be easily deployable out in the wild with Fedora 13."
Notebooks with dual GPUs have been shipping for a while now, but switching between the fancy discrete GPU and the low-power integrated one hasn't exactly been painless. Today, NVIDIA introduced a technology called Optimus, which makes the switching process automatic and transparent. In Windows, that is.
Independent game company Wolfire write why you should use OpenGL and not DirectX. The article goes over a brief history and the standard and Microsoft's tactics with DirectX, and what this really means for developers. DirectX keeps games on Windows, and that's not a good thing--over half of the users for one of their games are not on Windows. The fact is that Microsoft will have you believe that DirectX is the better choice for gaming, but OpenGL has always had the best features, first, and in a consistent and transparent way. I'm particularly interested in the last couple of paragraphs where WebGL is mentioned because this is gaining traction with browser vendors and it would go directly against Microsoft's grain for them to implement it in IE--as they should. Will we see yet another generation of Microsoft ignoring the standards and going their own way with a 'WebDirectX'?
Over the past few years, there have been persistent rumours that NVIDIA, the graphics chip maker, was working on an x86 chip to compete with Intel and AMD. Recently, these rumours gained some traction, but NVIDIA's CEO just shot them down, and denied the company will enter the x86 processor market.
"In late August we started asking our readers for any questions they had for NVIDIA about Linux and this graphics company's support of open-source operating systems. Twelve pages worth of questions were accumulated and we finally have the answers to a majority of them. NVIDIA's Andy Ritger, who leads the user-space side of the NVIDIA UNIX Graphics Driver team for workstation, desktop, and notebook GPUs, answered these questions. With that said, there are some great, in-depth technical answers and not the usual marketing speak found in many interviews."
Clutter is the magic bringing Apple-like 3D goodness to GNOME 3.0, Moblin netbooks, and even Windows CE/Mobile devices. Learn its past, present, and future in this intriguing interview with the "man behind the curtain." "MoblinZone's Henry Kingman catches up with Emmanuele Bassi, maintainer of the Clutter hardware-accelerated GUI toolkit. Bassi discusses Clutter history, the recent 1.0 release, and what lies ahead for this key Moblin and GNOME technology."
Mesa 7.5 has been released, the main new feature is the Gallium3D, infrastructure, which is a new architecture for building 3D graphics drivers. Phoronix has more details: "Mesa 7.5 also brings support for several new OpenGL extensions, reworked two-sided stencil support, updated SPARC assembly optimizations, initial support for separate compilation units in GLSL compiler, and various other fixes and optimizations."
You may recall the recent OSNews article about Linux Fund getting donations to supply developers with OGD1 boards. (OGD1 is a what you might call an "open source graphics card," with all designs, documentation and source code available under Free Software licenses. Technically, however, OGD1 is an FPGA-based prototyping platform with memory and video encoders on it. See the wikipedia article.) Since then, the FSF got involved and is asking for volunteers to help with the OGP wiki. The OGP had shown OGD1 driving a graphics display back in 2007 at OSCON. And now, the OGP has just announced technical success with the rather difficult challenge of emulating legacy VGA text mode. They even put up a video on YouTube of a display, driven by OGD1, showing a PC booting into Gentoo.
LinuxFund and the Open Graphics Project are teaming up to raise funds and supply 10 Open Graphics Development boards to open source developers. After several years in development the Open Graphics project is offering pre-orders of development boards. The Open Graphics Project aims to design an open source hardware/open architecture and standard for graphics cards, primarily targeting free software/open source operating systems. LinuxFund is accepting donations on their website to help fund the project. Additionally you can pre-order an OGD1 board for yourself through Traversal Technology.
A Test Day is planned tomorrow (Thursday 26th) for the Nouveau driver for NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a Fedora test day due to the inclusion of nouveau as the default driver in Fedora 11, but will be of interest to users of all distributions, as most are likely to switch to nouveau as their default driver in future, and all the work done by Fedora will be contributed to the upstream development of the driver. i586 and x86-64 live CD images are available, so anyone can easily help out with the testing without any kind of permanent changes to your machine.
"Nine months ago the Khronos Group released the specification to OpenGL 3.0. OpenGL 3.0 brought version 1.30 of the GL Shading Language, the introduction of Vertex Array Objects, texture arrays, more flexible frame-buffer objects, and a number of other graphical features. What OpenGL 3.0 didn't bring was a major API revision that many developers had expected, and it was also arrived many months late. Today though, Khronos has announced OpenGL 3.1."
Currently, NVIDIA is really missing out on the netbook market, which is dominated by all-Intel platform designs. NVIDIA has finally woken up to this reality, and the outspoken cofounder, president, and CEO of NVIDIA, Jen-Hsun Huang, has launched an all-out campaign to promote his company's Ion platform - and he isn't shy of flinging some poo to Intel and netbooks in general.
Four months after Mesa 7.2 was released, Mesa 7.3 has now officially surfaced. Mesa 7.3 has been in testing since earlier this month with it having gone through three release candidates. The new features found in this latest version of the standard Open-Source OpenGL stack is proper support for GLSL 1.20 and the Intel DRI driver now supports the Graphics Execution Manager and Direct Rendering Infrastructure 2.