One of the strengths of Windows PCs has been support for advanced video games. These games utilize high-end graphics that often require specialized 3-D video cards to operate.
Again, this is another area where Linux had never quite caught up to Windows, until now. Two major 3-D video card vendors, ATI and NVIDIA, have released Linux drivers for their products, allowing game developers to enter the Linux market.
There’s a catch to this though. Both NVIDIA and ATI released Linux binary drivers for their 3-D video cards, but not the source code. A true open source system must include source code for all the components included in the system. This has caused quite a dilemma for Linux distributions.
For a Linux distribution to include the ATI or NVIDIA binary drivers violates the true spirit of open source software. But if a Linux distribution doesn’t provide these drivers, it risks falling behind in the Linux distribution wars and losing market share.
Fedora has decided to solve this problem by splitting the difference. The Fedora 7 release doesn’t include the ATI or NVIDIA 3-D graphics cards drivers. This makes the distribution completely open source. However, if you want support for your ATI or NVIDIA 3-D graphics cards, there’s hope.
The http://rpm.livna.org Web site is a community-operated repository of nonapproved Fedora software packages. Not only does it include software packages for many of the video codecs I’ve been discussing in this chapter, but it also ...