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3dfx open sources Glide, Voodoo 2 and 3 specs.
Original game-oriented 3D API put out to pasture
3dfx extended its strategy to court the Linux community by releasing its Glide 3D graphics API under an open source licence and detailing its Voodoo 2 and 3 hardware specs. Of course, it's not the blessing that 3dfx is portraying the move. While it's certainly good news for coders keen to use 3dfx-based 3D accelerators on their platform of choice, it's also a sign that 3dfx accepts that Glide has a much diminished role in the mainstream games market. Glide was released when games developers had no other games-oriented graphics API they could use to harness 3dfx's Voodoo technology. Now, we've got Direct3D and OpenGL, and indeed, these are the areas in which 3dfx will focus its own future development efforts, the company has said. 3dfx could, of course, have quietly retired Glide, but this way at least the pasture it's being put out to is a very fertile one indeed. Which helps it very nicely in its battle with Nvidia, S3, ATI at al for the hearts, minds and wallets of non-Windows users. Making it easy for coders to write the drivers that will allow other users to buy and run their products is a key strategic goal for almost all the big 3D hardware companies right now, though 3dfx, with its dwindling sales and loss of the 'coolest 3D company' title to Nvidia, is particularly active here. Earlier this year it released its 2D acceleration hardware spec. and details of its Voodoo 2-based Banshee chip-set. Later, it released its FXT1 texture compression technology under an open source licence. FXT1 is a key part of 3dfx's next-generation Voodoo Scalable Architecture (VSA), whose first incarnation is the VSA-100 chip that will power next year's Voodoo 4 and 5 cards. Curiously, 3dfx open source statement only covers "3D hardware accelerators currently available". It will be interesting to see -- and the real test of 3dfx's desire to support the Linux community -- whether specifications for those products will also be made available at launch. ® Related Story Microsoft and OpenGL: supporting it to death?