It's 2022: Linux Open-Source GPU Drivers Seeing 3dfx Glide API Support

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 4 February 2022 at 05:26 AM EST. 33 Comments
A new merge request for Linux's open-source Mesa graphics driver stack would provide a new 3dfx Glide API implementation that would work on modern GPUs backed by Mesa's Gallium3D drivers. This implementation of the 3dfx graphics API from the 1990s is implemented using the modern Rust programming language.

Independent developer Link Mauve has proposed "Grover" as this Rust-based Glide API implementation front-end for Mesa Gallium3D, which in turn could work with the likes of Intel hardware via their Iris Gallium3D/OpenGL driver, AMD RadeonSI, and other targets -- in theory any of the Gallium3D drivers but so far has only been tested with modern Radeon and Intel graphics processors.

Besides the hobbyist being interested in the 3dfx Glide API itself, he's also been working on this Gallium3D front-end as a new experiment of Rust code within Mesa.

Developer Link Mauve has managed to successfully create a Glide implementation within Mesa's Gallium3D for use by modern Linux open-source GPU drivers.

As for the Grover code itself, it currently lacks the windowing system "winsys" integration for the lack of the developer having access currently to any Linux game using Glide directly. Another possible use-case is also for Windows Glide software and using Grover within Wine / Proton. The Glide API implementation has been tested so far against code samples and the 1997 game Pandemonium while for now is considered very much a work-in-progress.

Mauve noted on the MR, "All in all, I don’t expect this driver to be used much, I mostly wrote it for fun and in order to experiment with Rust inside of Mesa, but I do intend to maintain it and eventually to make it support all APIs used by all games from that 1996-2000 era which targeted it."

The Glide API was developed by 3dfx in the 90s during their triumphant days with Voodoo Graphics. Glide was their initially proprietary but then open-sourced graphics API that hasn't been in any widespread use since 1999 when OpenGL and Direct3D began taking the spotlight. There have been some Glide emulators over the years that route back through OpenGL for rendering while this new Mesa front-end would allow it to work natively with modern Gallium3D drivers on Linux. Glide for Gallium3D was talked about a decade ago by a separate hobbyist developer while now in 2022 it might finally see mainline Mesa.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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