Corel, S3 aim Linux at NT graphics arena
And will the next release of Corel Linux to support non-x86 platforms?
Corel's plan to defeat Microsoft in the desktop PC arena by pitching Linux against Windows took another step this week when the Canadian company said it will support S3's high-end Fire GL1 graphics accelerators in the next major release of Corel Linux. S3 acquired the FireGL line when it bought Diamond Multimedia. The FireGL, based on an IBM 2D/3D accelerator chip, formed the basis of Diamond's token high-end product line, aimed at the Windows NT graphics workstation market. S3 has had Linux drivers supporting FireGL's 2D facilities for some time, but the 3D work is more recent. The drivers are currently in beta, but are expected to be finished before April. Corel will bundle the final drivers with its next release of its Linux distro in the same timeframe. Of course, whether Corel's more mainstream approach to Linux will be enough to tempt workstation vendors over to its distribution, as it clearly hopes they will, is another matter. Corel Linux may be the first version of Linux developed for the desktop, and as good an implementation of the open source OS as it is, its lacklustre applications are unlikely to get graphics workstation suppliers queuing to sign up. Incidentally, Corel's release on its plan to bundle S3's drivers discusses Linux as an OS "that runs on hardware ranging from PCs and Mac systems to Alpha systems and more". Corel Linux itself currently runs only on x86-based machines, so the company may be implying here that the next release will cater for other architectures. Certainly, the basis for Corel Linux, Debian, runs on several non-Intel platforms, and a PowerPC release is in the works. ®
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