Intel has released open-source software to give Linux full support for 3D graphics, a move that may give its GPUs an advantage over ATI and NVIDIA.
Right now, Linux users typically rely on proprietary driver software if they want to use graphics acceleration chips and hardware to improve graphics performance--to speed up displays of 3D tanks in a battle video game, for example.
The new software meets a need in the Linux community for flashier graphics, and could also help Intel steal thunder from rivals ATI and Nvidia--and could cause a stir at AMD as well.
But this proprietary approach poses ethical, legal and practical problems. Intel sees the open-source move as a way to attract customers to its graphics products--such as its upcoming 965 Express chipset--and give it an advantage over rivals ATI Technologies and Nvidia.
"Having open-source drivers gives us a big edge in this market," said Dirk Hohndel, chief technologist of Intel's Open Source Technology Center. The software, available at a new Web site, is already being integrated with relevant open-source projects, he said.