[conspire] (forw) Re: Unity on Wayland

Nick Moffitt nick at zork.net
Sun Dec 5 10:09:35 PST 2010

I should point out that the real reason why we need to keep abreast of
3D rendering in our GUI systems is simply that 2D acceleration is no
longer present in hardware.  Since many of the 3D primitives (especially
those involving "surfaces" or the like) are a superset of the old 2D
ones, it makes no sense for manufacturers to include a separate legacy
2D accelerator engine in a graphics device.

The X11 model is neat and all, but lately it's been tossed in the corner
and everything is done via "DRI", which basically gateways directly to
the driver for a particular graphics card.  We no longer draw vector
shapes, instead doing most of the work by blitting image chunks with
varying degrees of opacity and through various filters.

Of course this seems to cry out as an example of classical 2D graphics
software, and in many respects it really is.  It seems like exactly the
sort of operations that the GIMP has done since the 90s in a strictly 2D
model.  But all these operations are only accessible via a 3D rendering
model, due to hardware consolidating in favor of 3D games.

So yes, the crazy whooshy wobbly "3D desktop" stuff looks unappealing to
us, and it's an easy snark to peer down over our half-moons and say
"That is not appropriate, young man!"  But the real point is that that
stuff works as:

	1. A proof-of-concept technology demo.
	2. Tests for our no-longer-optional 3D support
	3. A sample chunk of code for future UX designers to learn from
	   when coding an interface that gets out of your way rather
	   than spinning and wobbling in your face.

So yeah, it can chill out on my lawn.  I'm cool with it.

"Some of us figured out in the 1950s
that blacklists were a bad idea.
Some of us have that lesson still ahead of us."
           -- John Gilmore, on RBLs.

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