Intel offers graphics support to Linux

In a move to provide "open source graphics for the masses", Intel has made its next generation of graphics architecture available to Linux users via free software drivers released last week.

The open source drivers support 2D and 3D graphics features, including programmable vertex, geometry and fragment shaders, for the Intel G965 Express Chipset launched July 27.

Retailing at $249 from Australian resellers Synnex, Todaytech and Ingram Micro, the G965 chipset has been designed to support second generation memory chips (DDR2) with integrated graphics, offering advanced video and graphics performance for home users.

With the release of the G965 drivers, Intel hopes to enter into the Linux market. Already, the release has received some very positive feedback.

"We got a large number of emails since [the drivers' release], the overwhelming majority simply thanking us for supporting open source," said Dirk Hondel, chief technologist at Intel's Open Source Technology Center.

Open source drivers further provide Intel with the driver developing resources of the open source community.

"Over the past years, many developers have contributed patches and feature extensions to the existing open source drivers for Intel's graphics chips," Hondel said, adding that he expects little risk of consumer confusion by rogue developers "forking the code" (providing multiple different versions of the same driver).

"We expect this will continue to happen," he said.

The driver will continue to be improved by Intel developers, together with the X.org and Mesa community.

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