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DirectFB: A New Linux Graphics Standard?

michael posted about 13 years ago | from the X-reigns-supreme dept.

Graphics 437

Spy Hunter writes: "Some people really dislike the X Window System. DirectFB seems to be the answer to their prayers. Building on the framebuffer support available in recent Linux kernels, DirectFB adds hardware acceleration, input devices, and window management. It has been made (and LGPL'd) by Digital Convergence as a Linux video/television solution, but it is much more than that. It has the potential to replace X for Linux desktops. You want a transparent terminal? How about a transparent video player? Development is proceeding rapidly, with a GTK port and even an X server for legacy apps in progress. Could this be the future of the Linux desktop?"

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woohoo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465209)

i did it!

You moron. (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2465214)

You did nothing of importance.

My New 3-Stroke Lawn Tool R0x0r5! (-1)

benevolent_spork (446160) | about 13 years ago | (#2465298)

d00detterina! Whasssup!

That new edger on my 3-stroke Ryobi (john deere) is just fcukign fantastic! I mean jeses fucking raspberries! It is queit and powerful and even more even efficient that the older two stroke technology of my fathers day! I read that it causes less pollutione than electirc too, when you factor in all the powre plants that make the juice.

YeeeeFuckingHaaaaw (c) 2001 Spork_Testicle

Re:My New 3-Stroke Lawn Tool R0x0r5! (-1)

First Nigger (460412) | about 13 years ago | (#2465314)

You and Cyborg Monkey both are a couple of fucking morons. What's the matter, upset because an AC took your rightful FP away from you? Goddamned idiots.

Re:Assertion Failed:Yuo!=CumGuzzlingDragQueenBitch (-1)

benevolent_spork (446160) | about 13 years ago | (#2465330)

Perhaps you are confused. Let me help: I am right, irrevocably and unendingly, and you are a wrong little turd polishing camel fucking unwashed cum drooling penis sheathing fag.

Please rate this post: was this helpful to you?

Hello retarded little shitbag! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2465337)

it is spelled cyborg_monkey. Notice the "underscore" between cyborg and monkey?

You ignorant fucking twat waffle.

Re:Hello retarded little shitbag! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465353)

fucking twit... i bet you're british, too.

anonymous cowardism is the only true way to post on slashdot.

AC's fucked your mother (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465365)

She is a skanky ho. There is no pride in being ann AC. Look at me I can barely keep my cock in your mothers mouth with all this shame!!


Re:Hello retarded little shitbag! (-1)

First Nigger (460412) | about 13 years ago | (#2465385)

You fucking moron, the only reason there is an underscore is because spaces aren't allowed. If your user name was "Scott_Jones" would you want me to address you as "Scott underscore Jones"? Ya goddamned ignorant slut-whore, go fuck yourself with a banana and leave the posting to men.

STFU you fucking Jew (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465409)

I'm sick & tired of your pointless babbling

Fuck off & die, biatch

PS say hi to your crack-ho momma for me, tell her I'll be in town Sunday and I have $20 burning a hole in my pocket ;)

STFU you fucking cracker (-1)

First Nigger (460412) | about 13 years ago | (#2465418)

Bitch for $20 all my momma will give you is a bad blowjob and an STD. Hope you got all yo shots, you white trash motherfucka

Re:Hello retarded little shitbag! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2465420)

Hello dipshit!

If you did do it, you are not the first (-1)

Mike Hock (249988) | about 13 years ago | (#2465234)

This was done by Yahoo! [] months ago!!

SORRY..... dick

Re:woohoo (-1)

First Nigger (460412) | about 13 years ago | (#2465235)

Shut up fucker, you're just jealous because your lame ass didn't get FP.

Btw I really like all these new anti-spam measures that Slashdot implemented, oddly enough, right after I started posting to the board before, a few months ago. Guess they don't like niggers posting here or something? Racist bastards!

AHHH (2, Interesting)

Xzzy (111297) | about 13 years ago | (#2465218)

Who else felt their heart race when they saw that 'digital convergence' piece? phew it's just some dudes in Europe borrowing the name.

I wonder if the Texas guys with the colon in their name are gonna try to sue..

Re:AHHH (2, Informative)

andreas (1964) | about 13 years ago | (#2465248)

The company's name is "convergence integrated media GmbH", and we actually own the trademark in Europe.

So there's no risk that they sue us...

You have it backwards (-1, Troll)

Trollmastah (129873) | about 13 years ago | (#2465283)

Europe in trademark the own actually we and, "GmBh media integrated convergance" is name company's the.

. . . Us sue they that risk no there's so.

Re:AHHH (2, Funny)

cruelworld (21187) | about 13 years ago | (#2465399)

RE:So there's no risk that they sue us...

Man, you really don't know Americans do you?

First Nigger (-1)

First Nigger (460412) | about 13 years ago | (#2465220)

Strate up dogs, I be the first nigger to reply to this here thread up in this bitch!! Course, I ain't got much compitition but that be okey by me! Peace!

You sir are an idiot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465339)

You, your lame-ass-wannabe posts and your crack-ho mother suck ass!!

You sir are a honkey cracker (-1)

First Nigger (460412) | about 13 years ago | (#2465396)

Fuck you, racist shithead!

no, Fcuk you you filthy JEW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465431)

You and your inbred family suck ass!

Your mother was a crack-ho and your father a politician

We dont take kindly to uppity shits like you!

There is a fire burning and it has your name on it!

Supported in ClanLib IIRC (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465223)

The ClanLib Game SDK even supports DirectFB directly, so some cool games will be available under full speed.

Sc0re -1, Uninteresting gibberish (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465397)

YUO is a faggit

No, I don't want a tranparent video player. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465224)

Seriously. What possible use would a transparent video player have? While ditching X is a great idea, I think a more useful demonstration of their technology is necessary rather than just a screenshot were everyone says "Ohhh Ahhh Isn't that pretty"

Re:No, I don't want a tranparent video player. (0)

seann (307009) | about 13 years ago | (#2465240)

Trasnparent Video player?
A controled multimedia enviroment for presentations, exportation of movies unto projection units, killer features for gaming.

Hardware level transparency wouldn't be to bad either.

Re:No, I don't want a tranparent video player. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465297)

This was originally designed for their DVB/Tivo apps I believe, they needed an on screen graphics package that included alpha channels so it wouldn't obscure the MPEG2 stream underneath.

If you have a Sony TV you should know how pretty alpha channels are :)

Name typo? (1)

A Commentor (459578) | about 13 years ago | (#2465225)

I thought the Digital Convergence was the bankrupt 'cue cat' people....

These guy's website says 'convergence integrated media'...

Re:Name typo? (1)

Kartoffel (30238) | about 13 years ago | (#2465408)

Digital Convergence *is* the Cue Cat company that went out of business. The website seems to be something else entirely.

Michael said: It has been made (and LGPL'd) by Digital Convergence

Hah. I'd be very surprised if Digital Convergence ever released any open source software. At least they gave away free hardware. That's pretty cool.

They're nothing like each other! (5, Informative)

CaptainAlbert (162776) | about 13 years ago | (#2465230)

(a) DirectFB is a thin abstraction layer over graphics hardware; ideal for blindingly fast games, video rendering, etc. Sure, that could be useful.

(b) The X window system is a network-transparent graphical desktop environment based around the client-server paradigm. Sure, that could be useful.

You can't really have it both ways. It would probably be true to say, though, that the need for (b) is dying out, and the need for (a) is growing. But that's not what the headline was saying.

Re:They're nothing like each other! (5, Insightful)

Obsequious (28966) | about 13 years ago | (#2465311)

I think that's a bit too simplistic a notion.

All X is really about is adding network transparency to GUI apps. To accomplish this, the protocol has a notion of windows, window managers, decorations, etc. There's nothing about X, however, that really has anything to do with hardware. X has no provisions for hardware acceleration or transparent windows, for example.

You're confusing X the protocol with 90% of all implementations of X, which themselves include a framebuffer, hardware acceleration, etc. For example, XFree86 is really just a GUI system that happens to implement the X protocol.

The main reason that implementations tend to be both a hardware driver and an X server is that the protocol can be a bit hairy to try and "map" into an alien GUI system. (And more than that, Unix systems typically don't even have anything else to map to, anyway, so if the X server isn't providing the hardware driver, there's nothing there.)

Anyway, the core issue is that there isn't (theoretically) anything that says that an X server has to be a hardware driver. Just look at Hummingbird's Exceed program, which implements an X server on Windows. Writing an X server that would run on a "native" framebuffer isn't such an exotic idea; Exceed actually works extremely well.

Granted, you can almost always tell that a particular program is an X program, because in practice X does dictate a certain look and feel (since a legacy X app would be running with a widget set that might or might not look like the native set.) But that's why they're porting GTK, and why the X server is for legacy apps.

Re:They're nothing like each other! (4, Insightful)

rknop (240417) | about 13 years ago | (#2465316)

(b) The X window system is a network-transparent graphical desktop environment based around the client-server paradigm. Sure, that could be useful.

You can't really have it both ways. It would probably be true to say, though, that the need for (b) is dying out,

My need for (b) is most definitely not dying out! I would find it sad if support for X under Linux started to seriously wane as people put all of their emphasis in having everything work blindingly fast when rendering directly to the hardware on which the application is running. I do play games occasionally, but most of the time I'm using my Linux boxen to do work. Remote shell sessions are the most common, but it's not infrequent for me to use a number of other remote X sessions, which are made possible, easy, and transparent by the client/server architecture of X. I do not forsee any time in the near future where I could hope to run the things I need to run entirely on whichever machine I happen to be working locally on.

Hopefully, there are enough other people out there like me to keep XFree86 going, so that even if "most people" start using something like DirectFB, X will still be an option. (Much as Gnome will still be an option if everybody starts using KDE, or vice versa; this is the beauty of free software.)


Re:They're nothing like each other! (1)

bkhl (189311) | about 13 years ago | (#2465417)

If DirectFB catches on, I'm sure someone will make an X server for it, so you can still use run remote X clients in it.

Re:They're nothing like each other! (1)

ShavenYak (252902) | about 13 years ago | (#2465424)

Shouldn't it be possible to run the DirectFB GUI on your box, and then have a slim X server which runs on top of DirectFB for running legacy X client apps on a remote machine (or the local machine)? Best of both worlds, so to speak.

The only catch is, anything you might want to run from another box, you'd need an X client version of it. So, you'd have to have both a DirectFB version if you wanted it to be fast locally, and an X client version accesible remotely.

Re:They're nothing like each other! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465430)

little OT, but I guess this could become ngFlamewar :-)

Re:They're nothing like each other! (2)

Mike Hicks (244) | about 13 years ago | (#2465435)

Yep.. As computers become ever more connected, remote access becomes even more important. I don't think a graphics environment could survive too long on Linux without at least some form of network transparency.

Certainly, the X model can be improved upon. The main problem with using X over the Net is that it is very sensitive to latency. It doesn't matter if you have a Gigabit connection -- if you have significant lag (like the ~250ms in satellite connections), X will run like a dog.

Fortunately, someone came up with mlview-dxpc.. I just hope it can be integrated into XFree86, ssh, or both.

Re:They're nothing like each other! (2, Informative)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | about 13 years ago | (#2465318)

I don't know. X works fine on every machine I tried. The only thing about X is it's chattyness on a network. The dang thing is so chatty that you need a good/great network connection to run anything remotely. The need for DirectFB is becoming greater? The only thing I see the speeds that a DirectFB woulde be very useful for is a desktop that is playing games, or watching videos.

Now, for my spiel on Transparant terminals....I never liked em. I like to run color Xterms and transparant terminals don't do much for me there. No matter what kind of background you use, the colors of the background always kind of blend with the text making it much harder to read. I would not mind things like transparant, attatched dialog boxes ala OSX, but so far as transparant Xterms, I have no use for them. I also don't think a transparant video player would be very useful either. Yeah, it looks cool, but usually when I am playing video, I want to WATCH it not work through or on top of it.

Personally, I think everyone's major beef about X has been is is being resolved. That would be crappy looking fonts. Anti-aliasing is fixing this gradually. You can now have an anti aliased KDE or Gnome desktop. That's nice. The only other complaint I can see is not so much as a complaint about Xwindows as it is about video card manufacturers. No matter what they do, they have to make money. If that means they withhold source or their spec so we can make good drivers, then, well, it doesn't matter whether you use X or DirectFB. You still have the same problem. X is a good thing. Network transparant applications is a good thing when it's security is implemented well (and we KNOW X has problems there). Let's fix X windows. I know, it's code is arcane and boring, but I can't help but feel that DirectFB feels more like the way Windows does things then Linux and we all know how well THAT works!

LBX = Low Bandwidth X (possibly off topic) (4, Informative)

Walles (99143) | about 13 years ago | (#2465378)

The only thing about X is it's chattyness on a network.

There's a standard X extension (?) called LBX that comes with XFree86 and others. Check out the LBX Mini-HOWTO [] if you are interested.

Cheers //Johan

Re:They're nothing like each other! (3, Insightful)

Pogue Mahone (265053) | about 13 years ago | (#2465403)

The only thing about X is it's chattyness on a network.

It isn't X that's chatty - it's the apps that use it. Some years ago I developed a couple of simple applications to display some statistics graphically in (pseudo) real-time. Over a SLIP connection on a 14400 modem, one of them worked but the other one didn't. The one that didn't had a little bug that I'd never noticed on a local machine or even over ethernet. The bug was that it redrew the graph elements even when it didn't need to.

So don't go blaming X for things over which it has no control. OK, so maybe its network model isn't suitable for video players or arcade games - but don't write it off because of that.

Re:They're nothing like each other! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465414)

When you say "Lets fix X Windows" do you mean your actually gonna help?

Low Bandwidth X (2, Informative)

Doke (23992) | about 13 years ago | (#2465419)

Have you tried Low Bandwidth X (LBX) [] ?

I think systems like directFB are a step backwards. XFree86 already has shared memory and direct draw extentions (see vmware), designed for high speed local graphics. When running remotely, the X library falls back to it's normal protocol, and the apps slow way down, but still operate. The network transparency of X is far, far too usful to encourage a crop of apps that can't use it.

Re:They're nothing like each other! (2, Interesting)

pmz (462998) | about 13 years ago | (#2465407)

It would probably be true to say, though, that the need for (b) is dying out, and the need for (a) is growing.

The network transparency of X is immensely useful (and brilliant). I'd rather take the superior, albeit slower, architecture of X over any super-fast, yet functionally neutered, architecture.

Sometimes I wish all of those "web standards" were thrown out in favor of a newer better version of X. Imagine: web applications could be the real thing, and all that (MS)HTML/(MS)XHTML/(MS)XML/(MS)JavaScript cacaphony could be tossed.

Re:They're nothing like each other! (1)

Nerant (71826) | about 13 years ago | (#2465433)

I'm not completely familiar with the whole architecture of X in general, but a couple of points to bring up.

The main thing we're all talking about here is not X, but an implementation of X Windows, Xfree86, vs some .
I believe that until someone can point at more than one implementation of X and say confidently that it's the architecture (ie. design) rather than the code (ie. implementation) that's the bottleneck.
While we're talking about speed : won't brute hardware acceleration negate any percieved speed issues with X? I'm pretty happy with Xfree86 4 right now. Any one got any opinions on this?
(a ELSA GeForce 2 MX over here)

This is great! (0)

djhankb (254226) | about 13 years ago | (#2465231)

The X Window system was/is nice...
My only problem with it is that it's pretty slow.
DirectFB could be a nice way to "integrate" everything together kinda like the MacOS for much Faster Performance...


goodbye cruel world! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465233)

Last one out turn off the lights. Sniff.

network (1)

flok (24996) | about 13 years ago | (#2465242)

I want something which also works trough a network-connection. Like X.

Re:network (1)

Crowbar (1635) | about 13 years ago | (#2465264)

maybe make the X-server use DirectFB?
that way you can use the client-server stuff from X and the fast graphics of DirectFB...
best of both worlds?

(sounds a bit like OpenGL)

Re:network (1)

baxissimo (135512) | about 13 years ago | (#2465321)

It sounds to me like the way that X-Servers on Windows work. (Like eXceed and XWin-32). Probably works that way on Mac OSX too.

That lets you open a remote X program on your DirectFB desktop, but I don't think that solves the problem in the other direction.

Seems to me like a reasonable solution would be to still ship all the non-whizbang apps linked against X so they can be run over the net, and just use DirectFB for games and video apps that don't really need to be run remotely.

Re:network (1)

Crowbar (1635) | about 13 years ago | (#2465370)

I was more thinking like the drawing primitives used in OpenGL.
there you can specify points and vertices and surfaces and the board calculates the image..
you could do the same using X..
specify the location of the window, and all the texturing, and here you go...
i believe it allready works that way, you just need to avoid the really heavy stuff like patterns..
al the drawing is done in the X-server, and is accelerated by the directFB stuff.
It would work just like the X-extensions you could load on X-terminals to speed up the rendering of vector-graphics...

hardware acceleration (2, Interesting)

mr100percent (57156) | about 13 years ago | (#2465259)

If you use hardware acceleration for your GUI, like people want for OS X, how will apps like VNC display this, if it goes straight to the graphics card?

Re:hardware acceleration (1)

dbretton (242493) | about 13 years ago | (#2465281)

more than likely, they'll do it the same way that VNC does it for Windows boxen.


Re:hardware acceleration (1)

Skuggan (88681) | about 13 years ago | (#2465320)

If you use hardware acceleration for your GUI, like people want for OS X, how will apps like VNC display this, if it goes straight to the graphics card?

Maybe the apps can read from the video-memory.
Can't be to hard to figure that out...

Re:hardware acceleration (1)

RaptorX (18678) | about 13 years ago | (#2465382)

VNC already does this under windows. I've used VNC to connect to my box at home on a couple of occasions to see my SO playing Diablo 2, or other directX applications. In fact, I have played D2 over VNC on the campus WAN a couple times.

However, apps which use overlays, like Media Player, do not work properly, as VNC can't see the contents of the overlay.

Re:hardware acceleration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465404)

Maybe something like fbvnc [] ? "fbvnc is a framebuffer based viewer for the Virtual Network Computing (VNC) protocol."

This was developed for the iPAQ, but should be usable elsewhere.


New Standard Maybe but not for now (2)

jjr (6873) | about 13 years ago | (#2465261)

There are many apps that will need to be ported over in order for this thing to fly. I do see that they do have a gtk port so that will help in getting some application ported over. I would like to see the best of both worlds here. They can even port Xfree86 to DirectFB but that will only defeat the purpose. What I will really like to see next is the Troll Tech libray port of directfb which will really another good portion of apps to directfb. if we can do that the mayabe in a few years we can see this as the next new standard.

Re:New Standard Maybe but not for now (1)

ksteddom (177014) | about 13 years ago | (#2465322)

The troll's have had FB support for some time now in their QT embeded. This looks like it is the same thing. Anyone played with both who can comment?

Multihead? (1)

fader (107759) | about 13 years ago | (#2465262)

This thing looks pretty sweet... I want to download it and play with it once I'm no longer stuck on the Win2k boxes at work. :)

But does anybody know if they support any sort of multihead? They list the Matrox G400 (which is dual-head) as a supported card... anybody played with this?

Goodbye Platform Interoperability... (3, Insightful)

LeftHanded (160472) | about 13 years ago | (#2465267)

which is the whole point of X. You can have an X server running on Windows (ptui), Linux, *BSD, Solaris, Tru64, AIX, HP-UX, Max OS X, etc, etc, etc and display clients that are actually running on one of the other bazillion X supported platforms. The DirectFB solution works only for the Linux framebuffer. If you hate X, great, then this might be a place for you to develop tools and applications. For the rest of us old hand UNIX folks who have worked with X for years and years who love the network aspects of it, we'll stick with what we got. Even if developing software for it is way hard without several layers of software abstraction (toolkits).

Re:Goodbye Platform Interoperability... (3, Interesting)

dok666 (36070) | about 13 years ago | (#2465307)

And you can have an X server running on DirectFB!
The current XDirectFB uses DirectFB in fullscreen mode, it does its own window management. Just think of a rootless X on DirectFB, like on MacOS X. You could have X applications going through the server and DirectFB applications or games running directly at full speed. When the X server has been enhanced to use DirectFB's window management it would be easily possible to set the window opacity (ranging from 0-255) of any legacy application.

X is a great technology and I think DirectFB is rather a good base than a replacement of this technology.

Re:Goodbye Platform Interoperability... (3, Interesting)

DickBreath (207180) | about 13 years ago | (#2465383)

Many modern apps, the ones I care about anyway, are coded to either Qt or GTK. Why would I be saying goodbye to platform interoperability? This makes no sense?

On Linux I would benefit from an efficient Qt or GTK implementation on DirectFB without running any X. I wouldn't ever have to see any ugly primitive X applications either.

On non-Linux platforms, Qt and/or GTK can be implemented in the traditional X fashion, or in any other fashion if that platform also has something more efficient.

Modern apps will still compile and run.

And if you like X apps (i.e. non-GTK and non-Qt), there is nothing here saying that you can no longer use X. X isn't going to disappear. Individual apps that use GTK or Qt can still use a Qt or GTK lib that supports X to draw on a remote display.

On Linux, on the X server end of things, you could use only one single X server. Yea! No more xf86config and all that crap. You could still see traditional ugly X applications or you could see remote GTK or Qt applications. Local GTK/Qt apps could be more efficient, going to DirectFB. The local X server could be iimplemented in a manner much like on some other platforms, where the X windows are integrated into a local window system -- or could use a traditional X root window.

Anyway, just my opinion. But since it makes things simpler and cleaner, I'm sure many old school people will be against it. Just my opinion, but I think this is a step forward. I'm sure it will encounter lots of resistance.

Re:Goodbye Platform Interoperability... (2)

garcia (6573) | about 13 years ago | (#2465400)

honestly, over a 10mbit LAN X isn't fast enough to run the applications I use everyday. GAIM, WordPerfect, and Netscape all run too slow over 10mbit to be worth even bothering.

I switched to 100mbit recently and it is better but not exactly what I would call some sort of godsend that would make me say that X is worth using just for network application.

X is a standard across many platforms and I believe that is to singling Linux out a little more on its own but I do think it is a good option for those that want to use it.

Hope it all works out for ya :)

New Standard?? (0)

Trollmastah (129873) | about 13 years ago | (#2465270)

DirectFB adds graphical power to embedded systems and sets a new standard for graphics under Linux

A new standard? No, that's a stretch. It will allow for a wider footprint because it could play to a wider audience, but X will not be replaced IMO.

How about client/server? (1)

andykuan (522434) | about 13 years ago | (#2465272)

A replacement for X is long long overdue but DirectFB doesn't seem to support a client/server model that allows a remotely running app to address your local display over the network. That capability is what brought us cheap X terminals.

The writer of the anti-X page got 50% of what he/she wanted: DEC has long since been wiped off the face of the earth. DEC->Digital->Compaq->HP. Anyone know when that piece was written?

Re:How about client/server? (2)

dannyspanner (135912) | about 13 years ago | (#2465286)

Have none of the "time to replace X" posters heard of Berlin [] ?

Re:How about client/server? (1)

andykuan (522434) | about 13 years ago | (#2465375)

No I haven't, but it sounds like a great project. Too bad it's not ready to replace X (by their own admission).

The problem with these great projects is that until they appear in some distribution and a number of apps are ported over, it's really a moot point.

And how does one herd the open source community to a new standard? Maybe if Microsoft came up with a graphics platform that truly puts X to shame it'll rally everyone around a competing standard. As it is, it's too easy to emulate the capabilities of the Windows' UI with X. Nothing like a shared enemy to push things forward.

Great! (1, Troll)

danheskett (178529) | about 13 years ago | (#2465276)

Great, this will be the 106,102th standard graphics system for Linux!

Yipee! Standards are normally good, but when everyone has one, its better than good - its great!

I wish I were a Linux developer - that way I could benefit from the clean, unified body of standards (like this new one!) and really focus on the development of my application!

Thanks, Digital Convergance and Slashdot! Without people like you, and the whole slashdot community, we might never have so many standards to choose from!

Re:Great! (1)

PygmySurfer (442860) | about 13 years ago | (#2465319)

Great, this will be the 106,102th standard graphics system for Linux!

OK, I'm familliar with X, and with DirectFB now. Care to list the other 106,100 please?

A way to reduce software costs .... (4, Interesting)

LL (20038) | about 13 years ago | (#2465277)

... is to refactor VNC to multicast directly to a bunch of Linux frame-buffers (a la SunRay). If companies are insisting on per CPU licensing and refusing to offer floating licenses (think legacy apps) then by running it on a half-decent back-end server (with fast storage) you can amortise the cost of the software over a wider geographical region, as well as support multiple legacy versions. Of course, you better have a decent network first.

BTE, whatever has happened to embedding X into the web browser (X11R7? Broadway?) How come that's not being used to port some of the older X utilities across to work over the internet?


Why is Tr011 +uesday off to to such a slow start? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465279)

I have long since given up reading slashdot for information, the trolls, sporks, monkeys and kursks are the only thing worth reading on this site. Where are you all? Does anybody know how to edit the search string so I can filter out anything above +1? Propz to all.

Kudos to the guys (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465282)

These are the guys who run the Linux DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) aka Digital TV projects, if you get a DVB-s (satellite) board from Hauppauge their package does amazing things, you can save the MPEG2 transport stream directly to disk and have a TiVo like system without any A/D conversions in the process. They have even garnered support from Nokia for their DVB API, Nokia want to use Linux in their STB's, the Media Terminal [] has been well publicised on /.

I believe the DirectFB package was originally designed to do onscreen graphics for a TV link up so you could have alpha channels overlaying the MPEG stream.

Very clever guys... my hat goes off to them!

I wonder... (4, Funny)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 13 years ago | (#2465284)

Does it come with an open sourced barcode reader driver?

Well, I think.... (2)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | about 13 years ago | (#2465293)

I think that this has some potential. It said that it has X compatability, so there is not legecy issues. and porting the KDE/GTK+ applications is as easy as porting the tool kit

Pure /dev/fd0 access vs directfb (2)

heroine (1220) | about 13 years ago | (#2465296)

I found that the abstraction functionality has gotten so minimal in the newer display libraries that it's easier just to access /dev/fb0 directly.
If you're doing all your graphics in OpenGL there's no reason to abstract /dev/fb0. FBDRI does all the /dev/fb0 calls.

Since no-one's writing desktop software anymore the framebuffer device is ideal for the new one-device one-purpose market.

New Tools (1)

dropdead (201019) | about 13 years ago | (#2465304)

The idea of staying at command line and bringing up a GUI tool as needed is very appealing.

Convergence, and the great thing about standards.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465312)

...yes, that there are so many to choose from.

Look, Linux zealots, while there's nothing wrong with inventing something new, can you stop re-inventing the wheel just to look l33t, please?

Especially since the whole graphics-in-the-kernel was Microsoft's pheersome move in NT 4, yes, what a great move for stability that was...

And one step up, there's OpenGL under X.. oh look, it does exactly what you want already...

P.S. coined the term "Convergence" over 5 years ago, i.e. before any of the above. Its meaning being, the idea that alternative platform developers work TOGETHER rather than create more disparate standards and geeky schisms. It's such a pity we didn't servicemark the name... (the site's all but dead now, BTW, because geeks like fighting over stupid little things rather than uniting to a strong common front)

Innovation outside the USA (2, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | about 13 years ago | (#2465313)

Why is so much of the innovation in the Open Source field taking place outside the USA?

Why is it that it is European governments [] that are considering moving to Open Source, [] and not USA governments?

Why is it that it is big companies in the UK that are grouping together [] to fight Microsoft's restrictive licensing, and not the USA?

Is the USA in danger of losing its lead in the technology sector?

Re:Innovation outside the USA (2)

rknop (240417) | about 13 years ago | (#2465334)

Is the USA in danger of losing its lead in the technology sector?

Yes. A combination of a monopoly in part of that sector, which incidentally uses its huge financial power to great effect on the government, and the stranglehold of the huge powerful USA entertainment industry on our (eminently purchasable) government, threatens to choke of technical innovation altogether (while meanwhile outlawing open source and free software). It hasn't happened yet, and it doesn't have to happen, but if you deny that there are serious threats that it's happening, you're either a not-paying-attention optimist, or an apologist.


Re:Innovation outside the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465343)


I just ate two kebabs and a pizza and now my stomach hurts!

Re:Innovation outside the USA (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | about 13 years ago | (#2465358)

why do you care? Sooner or later you need to realize
that we are all human, and that is more important
than what country we come from.

Re:Innovation outside the USA - Not flamebait (2)

pubjames (468013) | about 13 years ago | (#2465389)

Why has this been modded as flamebait? It is a serious question.

Just because you don't agree with it or don't like what it says, doesn't mean it is flamebait.

To the Naysayers (3, Insightful)

Outlyer (1767) | about 13 years ago | (#2465327)

A couple of small points:

While main of you correctly point out the lack of network support in this, let's be honest here, the majority of users want a fast, pretty desktop. This would be the way to do it.

Applications are not a problem; both GTK and QT have abstracted the window drawing from the widget set (GDK for GTK) so someone could potentially relink (not necessarily rebuild, if the symbol tables stay the same) their apps and have a wealth of stuff to choose from.

I like the network transparancy in X, but what is to keep you from running X for remote applications, and using DirectFB for your desktop? X is nice, but it's filled with lowest-common denominator decisions, and the majority of people polled (cough) want to run with things like alpha blending, anti-aliasing, and windowed 3D. X supports them, but not without a lot of pain.

So, if you want to use X, you could potentially keep it; if you want DirectFB, you can use all your GTK/QT apps (theoretically) Why rain on someones parade when both crowds could potentially win here?

Re:To the Naysayers (2)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | about 13 years ago | (#2465362)

good point, an remote Xsession could be displayed in a window drawn by Directfb....all you need is to have the server installed on the machine, you don't actualy need to have your apps render from it.

KDE or I won't care (1)

forgoil (104808) | about 13 years ago | (#2465332)

It's all fine and dandy, but as long as KDE won't run smooth above it, I don't see a reason to care. I do dislike X11R6, but I belive X12 would be a better solution in the long run...

Doesn't cut it - never will in its current form. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465344)

Read and and learn: /d isaster.html

It's taken this long for /. to discover that X in
in its current form does not cut mustard?

Try manipulating 10K by 10k images in Gimp on an
X-desktop and watch things crawl to a halt.

Though M$ mspaint will gobble up 1GB of ram in
the process, manipulating images that size is a
dream in comparison. Things get even better when
you switch to photoshop in Windows.

Bypassing all that protocol nonsense for local
- none remote - clients is the only way that X
will achieve the levels of performance that
Windows machines have had for years.

NO. this is not a troll.

- Shoot ma Penguin.

Berlin anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465351)

Whatever happened to Berlin? I thought it was going to be the one to replace X.

. AC

Re:Berlin anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465391)

Whatever happened to Berlin?

Where have been been?

The Berlin was bombed back to the stone age, but was rebuilt rather soon. Then some morons built a huge wall in the middle of it, but that got demolished some time ago. It's the capital of Germany again now.

OpenGL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465352)

It would be except all the 3D drivers on Linux are closed source (congrats to everyone for supporting them :P) and need XFree86's driver loader, and what X provides as DRI.....

Re:OpenGL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465372)

Oh? Are they?
NVidia's drivers are closed source, but you can find find open drivers for Matrox, 3dfx and ATI cards to name a few.

Dare I say it?... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465360)


Okay, sorry but it had to be done.

Contradictive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465364)

"Some people really dislike the X Window System. DirectFB seems to be the answer to their prayers."

and a little further down,

"with a GTK port and even an X server for legacy apps in progress. Could this be the future of the Linux desktop?"

This seems more than a little contradictive to me.


Hardware Acceleration! (2)

Apreche (239272) | about 13 years ago | (#2465374)

Wow, this is great great news. Currently I run X 4. whatever. But when I installed mandrake it gave me a choice of X4, X3, and X3 with experimental 3d hardware accelleration. I really need the stability and features of X4 with non-experimental 3d with my TNT2. if this is any good, I'm so there. As long as I can still use ssh to X-Forward stuff from the CS lab.

Benchmarks? (1)

secondsun (195377) | about 13 years ago | (#2465384)

This stuff has potential, but does anyone have some performance information (memory useage/leakage, speed relative to X, stability, etc)? I would really like to hear from people who have used this and would like to share info. I think this may be on the site somewhere, but that has been /.ed to hell and (hopefully) back.


I think it fills a needed niche nicely (2, Interesting)

EricLivingston (162103) | about 13 years ago | (#2465401)

I believe that a lot of folks (including me) maintain Windows machines for games. However, not just because there are more titles - I find the games run far better on my windows box (which is a lesser machine) than on Linux. I'm not sure why exactly, though I imagine tight integration with video hardware/acceleration counts for a lot and I've also found that sound doesn't mesh with visual elements well. It seems this type of thing might help in the raw performance category for gaming and help make Linux a top-tier gaming platform, rather than a not-so-great second-tier solution.

Now, I use my Linux box as my development platform, web server, mail server, etc, but I've got to keep Windows around for gaming.

i'll stay with X. (5, Insightful)

Rev. DeFiLEZ (203323) | about 13 years ago | (#2465406)

I am kinda upset to hear how ppl are so willing to ditch X for faster video/games. i get more then enough frames in quake3/desent3/heavygear 2 (the only loki games i own) and i dont drop frame in video (even divX) and as i only have 400Mhz to play with i dont understand why ppl are think X is so slow.

however being able to ssh into any box and typing export DISPLAY=my_local_box:0.0 and then being able to run all the the remote Xapps on my box is is one of the greatest features on the planet.

if you want to increase the speed of your X its not replacing X, its replacing your KDE and gnome with fvwm2 (which is what i use) or even blackbox.
i see all these comments about enlightenment and KDE and gnome ( although i use GTK, not gnomelibs, _GTK_ for my devel and most usable apps) i shudder, because they are so slow, and then the same ppl complain about X, thats just wrong. if you want a fast system, a recommend the following:
  • replace KDE/enlightenment/gnome with fvwm/blackbox/twm
  • replace staroffice with abiword/gnumeric
  • replace kmail with mutt (read the help mutt as more features)
  • change your 14meg wallpaper with xsetroot -solid black

granted transparent video will have some important uses in editing, however what has to ask how is it done in irix platforms now, is there a hardware solution that we can not compete against because its just so great?

i want X, maybe they can merged, kinda like now ppl have -nolisten tcp .. if they turn off networking they get directfb support.


Here come the games... (1)

justletmeinnow (315504) | about 13 years ago | (#2465410)

If this can get the attention of some mainstream games then I think most of the geeks out there will pretty much not need winders any more. I've still got 98, the only reason is for the games... I'm looking forward to a bright, non-dualbooting future with this one (hopefully)!

Bah.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2465412)

I want my Berlin/Debian/GNU/Hurd :(

Hmm, Sounds Like Mac OS X (2)

toupsie (88295) | about 13 years ago | (#2465416)

You want a transparent terminal? How about a transparent video player?

Yea I do! Its call "Default Install" on Mac OS X 10.1. The best part, I have it today. I won't be waiting for it.

X isn't so bad... (5, Informative)

Junta (36770) | about 13 years ago | (#2465429)

I keep seeing people dissing X as a horribly inefficient system that is long overdue for replacement, but the justification always seems to be a myth.
First off, the complaints are generally levelled against what they see in a particular implementation of the X protocol, not the protocol itself. There seems to be no acknowledgement that while X servers of the past may have had implementation problems, that we have moved on and produced much more efficient and well-featured implemntations, particularly XFree. Through X extensions, XFree has become an X server that keeps the good of X, and improves on the bad aspects of older X servers.

The main gripe I see is "X is slow!!". Well, with XAA, X gets the same sort of acceleration as Windows display drivers for ordinary stuff. This requires that good drivers exist for your chipset, which is a good bet nowadays, but not as likely as Windows. Not XFree's fault, and it's clear that any FB based solution won't help matters in this regard (driver support)

People also have complained about 3D performance. XFree4 has DRI which really works well to address the issue. For Video playback, there is XVideo which provides good access to hardware scalars and filters. There is work being done on an XMovie extension that could provide access to hardware video decoders, such as the MPEG-2 decoder on All-in-Wonder cards (though I haven't heard much about it lately). Another complaint I hear is that it is ugly, that it lacks the bells and whistles of 'modern' systems. Well, there is now the XRender extension which can be used to provide translucency (if anyone bothered to implement it) and in turn provide both anti-aliased text and sub-pixel sampled font rendering (ala Window XP's cleartext).
Those who complain about X and say it needs replacement need to be a bit more educated. If you look at the projects that have aimed to replace XFree in the past, you see a very interesting pattern. Berlin is a good example of this. They set out to provide things that at the time people said "X cannot accomodate these features", but by the time Berlin progresses to any usable state, XFree has most of these features in XFree4. Let's face it, XFree in particular is a good system that can continue for quite a long time, and has only improved with age, contrary to popular belief.

It's high time for a shoot out ! (1)

Macka (9388) | about 13 years ago | (#2465434)

The arguments for and against X .vs. DirectFB (or similar) have been bouncing around for a long time now, and show no sign of abating.

So I welcome this move; because the only way we're really going to know which direction the Linux community wants to take, is to have both options available; with GTK/GNOME and QT/KDE toolkit ports on offer.

Only then, when people can vote with their screens, will we get an answer as to whether or not there is a place for DirectFB in Linux's future.

So lets see the code and try it out for ourselves!
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