OpenGL and the Linux desktop

LIFE IN 3D

Article from Issue 68/2006
Author(s):

New technologies will change the way you view the objects on your Linux desktop.

The X graphics system has been at the heart of the Unix GUI desktop since 1984. Of course, its horizons expanded slowly. In the early years, no one knew they even needed a graphics subsystem, and if anyone did venture out to try X with one of the few applications that supported it, they needed to be ready for late nights of tinkering. But the X system kept getting better, and the X protocol, with its surrounding technologies, served a key role in the evolution of Linux. When graphic desktop systems came into vogue with the appearance of MacOS and a Mac clone known as Windows, Linux could build its own equivalent graphic desktop upon the foundation of X. Today’s Linux graphic desktops are every bit as powerful and far more flexible than the Apple and Windows equivalents, but the simple fact is, developers and hardware vendors – for all platforms – have gotten a bit restless with the ordinary, garden variety X.

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