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    SubjectRe: State of Linux graphics
    On Tue, Aug 30, 2005 at 01:26:53PM -0400, David Reveman wrote:
    | On Tue, 2005-08-30 at 12:03 -0400, Jon Smirl wrote:
    | > In general, the whole concept of programmable graphics hardware is
    | > not addressed in APIs like xlib and Cairo. This is a very important
    | > point. A major new GPU feature, programmability is simply not
    | > accessible from the current X APIs. OpenGL exposes this
    | > programmability via its shader language.
    |
    | ... I don't
    | see why this can't be exposed through the Render extension. ...

    What has always concerned me about this approach is that when you add
    enough functionality to Render or some new X extensions to fully exploit
    previous (much less current and in-development!) generations of GPUs,
    you've essentially duplicated OpenGL 2.0. You need to identify the
    resources to be managed (framebuffer objects, vertex objects, textures,
    programs of several kinds, etc.); explain how they're specified and how
    they interact and how they're owned/shared; define a vocabulary of
    commands that operate upon them; think about how those commands are
    translated and executed on various pieces of hardware; examine the
    impact of things like graphics context switching on the system
    architecture; and deal with a dozen other matters that have already been
    addressed fully or partly in the OpenGL world.

    I think it makes a lot of sense to leverage the work that's already been
    done: Take OpenGL as a given, and add extensions for what's missing.
    Don't create a parallel API that in the long run must develop into
    something at least as rich as OpenGL was to start with. That costs time
    and effort, and likely won't be supported by the hardware vendors to the
    same extent that OpenGL is (thanks to the commercial forces already at
    work). Let OpenGL do 80% of the job, then work to provide the last 20%,
    rather than trying to do 100% from scratch.

    Allen
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