The low-profile XFree86 Project introduced version 4.3.0 of the software, a critical foundation for Linux and several other operating systems, later than expected. Release engineer David Dawes said on a mailing list in November he hoped it would emerge in mid-January.
XFree86, which handles many graphics display tasks for Linux, is a key part of the overall operating system. A version of the X11 windowing system for Unix, XFree86 is the mechanism that higher-level software such as games use to talk to specific video cards and to take advantage of features such as hardware acceleration.
Version 4.3.0 includes support for the 2D graphics acceleration features of ATI Technologies' Radeon
In addition, the revamped 4.3.0 code has been written to work better with Apple computers running Mac OS X, according to the XFree86 project's Web site. The software should run faster and require less memory on Mac OS X systems and be able to use Mac OS X's own fonts. Despite this, Apple is releasing its own version of XFree86.
Support also has been added for chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices' as-yet-unreleased x86-64 processors--Athlon 64 and Opteron. The project says there is "experimental" support for Sun Microsystems' Solaris operating system with UltraSparc processors.
Furthermore, XFree86 4.3.0 moves toward better font displays through the use of FreeType 2, a system for improved font display. FreeType 2 can draw several types of fonts, including TrueType, PostScript Type 1 and OpenType. The new system is better at anti-aliasing, the process of blurring curved or diagonal letter edges to make them appear less jagged on computer screens.