Commercial X Window System for UNIX
Summit - the Series

Graphics Drivers & X Servers

for the

X Window System ("X") is Our Only Business

Since 1994, Xi Graphics has developed high-performance, high-quality X servers and graphics driver software for use with UNIX-based operating systems. The current product line is the Accelerated-X Summit Series, a broad line of graphics sub-system products supporting graphics hardware from many manufacturers.

The Summit Series X servers are compliant with X Window Systems specifications through X11R6.4 (at which point formal specifications ceased), with some later extensions either included or available. While the Summit Series X servers and drivers are X11 compliant, the software was designed and developed by Xi Graphics "from scratch," and does not include any open source code provided by the X Consortium,, or XFree86.

Similarly, all of Xi Graphics' graphics driver software was and is developed in-house by Xi Graphics engineers, using confidential hardware documentation provided under NDA by the hardware manufacturers, and utilizes a high degree of hardware acceleration for both 2D and OpenGL® 3D graphics operations.

The hardware-accelerated OpenGL rendering software in the Summit Series products was also developed by Xi Graphics in-house, and is compliant with OpenGL ARB standards. Xi Graphics is a licensee of OpenGL from SGI.

X Server & Graphics Driver - A Matched Pair

At the systems level (vs the applications/top level), the X Window System is defined to fundamentally consists of two parts - the graphics device (card/chip) independent part of X (knows as "dix"), and the graphics device dependent part of X (known as "ddx"). The dix is also known as the "X server," and the ddx as the "graphics driver." For a high-quality, high-performance, "hardware accelerated" X graphics SW system package, the ddx and dix need to be a matched pair, with each of the pair able to take full advantage of the graphics hardware. As the capability of the graphics chips/cards has increased rather impressively over time, so has the demand on the X server to support new and expanded features in X. When the X servers and graphics drivers are developed by different entities (e.g. the graphics drivers by graphics houses and X servers by the Open Source Community), the "matching" of the two SW packages can become somewhat problematical.

Xi Graphics' X servers and graphics drivers are developed in-house by the same development team. Both the ddx and dix are designed to take full advantage of the performance potential of the graphics hardware, not only in the graphics driver, but also in the X server. This is accomplished by having access to the confidential documentation of the graphics hardware from the graphics chip/card maker (under NDA, of course). Graphics drivers that are not able to take advantage of acceleration hardware on graphics hardware are know as "frame buffer only", meaning that X server is implementing the X features in SW only, making overall graphics performance rather slow. (An example of the frame buffer approach). Needless to say, Xi Graphics does not do frame buffer only.

Long, Trouble-free SW Life - A Reality with Accelerated-X™

The history of computer graphics has been typical of other parts of the computer industry - fast and furious - with nearly breathtaking advances in features, performance power, breath of applications, and increasing complexity.. The rate of change sometimes can be as much a problem as a blessing. For commercial computer systems that employ non-trivial graphics, or are graphics intensive and have long system design/development/production/operational time horizons, rapid change tends to be disruptive and expensive. Some graphics card makers seem to focus on the next Christmas, push speed envelopes to electric heater proportions, obsolete card models rapidly, and so on. Not to be out done, the Linux kernel creators seem not to grasp that a new kernel version of the month is not nedessarily a good thing is some applications. Input devices change now and then, and monitors also register improvements in resolutions and interface connections. Not much stands still in this World.

To keep its Accelerated-X product line current with changes in graphics chip/cards, OS kernels, peripheral devices, computer platforms (including bus protocols), and new X features, Xi Graphics performs extensive regression testing across multiple platforms,OS versions, and peripheral configurations for each SW change in order to insure customers hassle free updates over the life of their systems.

Maintenance - The Overlooked Parameter

A few years ago, an large international medical equipment manufacturer gave Xi Graphics a compliment when placing an order for more Accelerated-X licenses:"We think highly of your SW - we install it, ship it, and forget about it. No problems." The feature underlying such a statement from a customer is one that is so often overlooked, and so difficult to "sell" when prospecting. A low- or no-maintenance attrabute claim is most often dismessed out of hand with a "maintenance is not an issue, we are more interested in such-n-such." It is only later - often after a bunch of systems are intsatlled in the field - that maintenance becomes an issue. A symptom shows up that cannot easily be tagged as being cased by the graphics driver, the X server, the kernel, or the application SW. If the system uses Linux, the systems builder may have difficulty determining who can be contacted to find and fix "the problem" if the system is not using Accelerated-X.

Should an Accelerated-X customer have a sympton of a graphics problem, who to contact (X server provider, graphics driver provider, OS kernel provider, etc.) is not a problem. At Xi Graphics, a representative replica of the system can usually be assembled and tested with the customer's application for a quick analysis. If providing some application code to Xi Graphics is prohibited (because of security), a telnet into the subject system often prorvides an efficient alternative.

Because the developers of Accelerated-X SW are also the support folks when a SW problem does arises, and because Xi Graphics provides free maintenance for at least the first year after the purchase of a license, the incentive in-house is to not have maintenance problems occur in the first place. Xi Graphics generates its income from the sale of licenses, not from providing maintenance or consulting. This is in contrast to the approach of obtaining X servers and graphics drivers for free but paying for maintenance by outsiders when SW problems arise. Even with the full source code of the applicable graphics and kernel SW available to the consultants, the problem of finding and fixing can be problematical, and very expensive. Many of Xi Graphics' customers have become customers after experiencing this approach. Some examples can be found at the Education Corner.

Choose From Eight (8) Summit Series

There are eight Summit Series, each with multiple "Editions," many of which run on various OS kernels and computer platforms. All in all, quite a smorgasbord.  Some Series do not have support for the older cards/chips, and some do not have the Single Logical Screen ("SLS" or "stretched desktop") feature across multiple chips/cards. There are a number of other features that are scattered throughout the Series such that each Edition tends to be more optimized for certain applications and/or budgets.

Traffic Control (TX) Series


Targeted at Air Traffic Control and other mission critical systems with special requirements.

Wall Display (HX) Series link

For Wall Displays & Wide Desktops. Can do multi-chip SLS and up to 32,768 pixel ultra-wide ("stride") desktops with SLS, an xscreen per monitor, or a combination of both.

Portable (PX) Series


Laptops, Notebooks, and vehicle-mounted units that use newer graphics chips and/or need increased support when using one or more external monitors.

Value Desktop (VX) Series


This Series targets volume users and "desktop publishers" who want high-performance, stable operation, and no SW maintenance headaches. Also supports some of the newer GPUs

Workstations (WX) Series link

The WX Series is a card-specfic Series that has packages aimed at supporting to the fullest extent possible a particular graphics card regardless of the system application.

Multi-head (MX) Series link

Multiple monitor wall displays that do not need SLS capability, i.e., need an xscreen for each monitor, and/or need OpenGL generally use the this Series.

Laptop (LX) Series link

The LX Series supports many, many older laptops, but does not have support for some of the newer mobile GPUs.

Desktop (DX) Series link

This desktop Series is similar to the LX Series, in that it has support for many, many older graphics cards/chips, but lacks support for some of the newer ones.

Graphics Hardware Supported
Matrox Intel ATI IBM Other
Computer Platforms Supported
Operating Systems (kernels) Supported
Linux on x86 Solaris on Intel Solairs on SPARC AIX on PPC VxWorks on x86 DEC UNIX