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3Dfx to promote Linux Voodoo development

Graphics company goes cross-platform to protect market share

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3Dfx today hopped aboard the Linux and open source software bandwagon as part of the company's attempts to shore up its leadership of the 3D acceleration market against aggressive rivals nVidia, ATI and S3. On the Linux front, 3Dfx announced a programme whose goal is to encourage developers to release titles on Linux and other species of Unix that can utilise the company's Voodoo technology. The scheme includes the release of a Linux version of 3Dfx's Glide graphics library plus drivers, and the formation of a Usenet newsgroup to "raise Linux awareness in the 3Dfx community". The Open Source element of the 3Dfx announcement centres on the company's decision to release the 2D acceleration spec. for its Voodoo2-based Banshee chip-set to the open source community. In effect, all this is simply putting 3Dfx's official seal on work already underway in the Linux world, particularly as more games begin to be ported to Linux, particularly those based on the OpenGL graphics library. Earlier this year, Id Software said it would release a Linux version of Quake III Arena simultaneously with the PC and Mac versions. The game requires a 3D accelerator card. Still, it's a cunning move. As more 3D gamers -- and Linux users tend to be big fans of 3D games -- shift their allegiance to technologies from nVidia and other, 3Dfx stands to see its 70-odd per cent share of the market narrow. It's latest scheme could well see increased development of 3D games on Linux, most of it utilising 3Dfx technology. Giving the Banshee 2D spec. to the open source community seems less advantageous since promoting it as the de facto standard for Linux 2D graphics ultimately depends on how many Banshee cards are out there. ®

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