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Mozilla glares at Microsoft, chews on Direct2D graphics cud

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Mozilla has proclaimed that the race is on to beat Microsoft to the post in its efforts to insert Direct2D support into the next version of its Internet Explorer browser.

Over the weekend, Mozilla programmer Bas Schouten wrote a lengthy blog post about how he had successfully loaded Direct2D support into an alpha build of Firefox 3.7 for Windows, just days after Microsoft announced its plans to load the hardware-accelerated graphics tech into Internet Explorer 9.

"Although the investigation and implementation are still in an early stage, we can conclude that things are looking very promising for Direct2D," said Schouten.

"Though older PCs with pre-D3D10 graphics cards and WDDM 1.0 drivers will not show significant improvements, going into the future most PCs will support DirectX 10+."

MS has built Direct2D and DirectWrite - a beefed-up hardware text interface - into Windows 7 and confirmed that the tech will be available in Vista, though not in its much more successful predecessor, XP.

Schouten’s sample of Firefox using the Direct2D and DirectWrite technologies suggests that Mozilla will be keen to jump ahead of Microsoft by getting the interfaces loaded into Firefox 3.7 before it ships in IE 9.

Indeed, Mozilla wonk Chris Blizzard couldn’t resist a little dig via his Twitter account: “Interesting that we're doing Direct2D support in Firefox as well - I'll bet we'll ship it first. :).”

Firefox 3.7 is expected to arrive in the first half of 2010, while Microsoft has only just begun work on IE 9 and hasn’t yet revealed when that iteration of the browser will rock up. ®

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