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DirectFB 1.6 Release Is Imminent With New Features

Free Software

Published on 14 January 2012 09:22 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software
6 Comments

DirectFB 1.6 is about to be released this month and it will bring new features to the Direct Frame-Buffer project.

The DirectFB road-map for a while has long cited "The release of 1.6.0 is planned for end of January 2012." Earlier this month on the mailing list it was then confirmed by Denis Oliver Kropp that the release is coming this month. "Correct, we've been too busy with other things, but this month we should see 1.6.0 :)"

For those not familiar with DirectFB, this open-source project provides graphics hardware acceleration support on top of the Linux frame-buffer, but it also can do much more. From the project web-site, DirectFB is officially described as "a thin library that provides hardware graphics acceleration, input device handling and abstraction, integrated windowing system with support for translucent windows and multiple display layers, not only on top of the Linux Framebuffer Device. It is a complete hardware abstraction layer with software fallbacks for every graphics operation that is not supported by the underlying hardware. DirectFB adds graphical power to embedded systems and sets a new standard for graphics under Linux."

The LGPL library can be used as a lightweight alternative to running an X.Org Server for some embedded cases, such as on TVs. DirectFB could be looked at as a competitor to the next-generation Wayland Display Server. Perhaps the most prominent implementation of DirectFB is within HP's webOS platform.

DirectFB 1.6 features a new core architecture that's described per this Wiki page. This architecture has been designed to eliminate the two different IPC/RPC mechanisms (Fusion and Voodoo) to instead have one common framework for distributed components. The other goal of this new design is to eliminate shared memory and global locks, except for pixel data and other select resources.

DirectFB 1.6 also brings some other changes, including dynamic registration of window managers / compositors and DirectFB applications can now define a layout for the compositor to respect.

Other changes include a new SVG image provider (including SVGZ) from libsvg-cairo, a BMP image provider, and a JPEG2000 image provider. Aside from image providers, DirectFB 1.6 will also bring a Xine video provider and an swfdec provider for handling Adobe Flash video. Along with the Xine video provider is a Xine/VDPAU-based video provider, which supports NVIDIA's Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) video playback under DirectFB when using the Xine library.

With the 1.6 release, the DirectFB video driver has been re-written for enhanced quality and speed, new supported formats (NV12, NV16, ARGB2554, ARGB4444), a new buffer policy for increased performance (buffer sharing with the decoder), and support for a hardware OSD (On-Screen Display).

Lastly, there's improved audio/video sync, improved video playback smoothness, API changes, and various fixes among hundreds of commits. Look for this release to materialize before month's end, or for now it can be checked out from Git.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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