February 21, 2019

3D Graphics Hardware in Linux - page 2


  • May 25, 1999
  • By Will Weisner
Currently, the only graphics cards which are supported in Linux are the Matrox Millennium G200, and any card utilizing a 3Dfx chipset. NVIDIA has promised to release drivers for its TNT2 boards, but it is unclear when those drivers will materialize.

UPDATE (6/3/99): NVIDIA has just released drivers for all of their 3D accelerated chipsets, more information can be found +here

Programs can interface with 3D accelerators using a standard library called OpenGL. OpenGL was developed by SGI for use in their high-end graphics workstations, and is now managed by an independent consortium of corporations. Writing OpenGL drivers for a particular card requires paying for a license and a certification of compliance to the OpenGL standard. However, Linux programs can still use the OpenGL library thanks to a free replacement called Mesa. Mesa is an Open Source clone of OpenGL which is free for anyone to download. In order to use 3D hardware in Linux, you must install the Mesa drivers for your card; then programs will use the Mesa libraries when they want to draw in 3D.

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