Question about programming graphics

Murray Taylor MTaylor at
Fri Nov 18 02:36:12 GMT 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freebsd-small at 
> [mailto:owner-freebsd-small at] On Behalf Of Dan Charrois
> Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 8:22 AM
> To: freebsd-small at
> Subject: Question about programming graphics
> Hi there.  I'm not sure if this is the appropriate FreeBSD mailing  
> list to use - if not, please let me know where this question 
> would be  
> more appropriate.
> I'm in the early conceptualization stages of developing avionics for  
> amateur-built aircraft, and would like to use FreeBSD as the core OS  
> to develop on, likely using a couple of small single board computers  
> cross-checking their results for redundancy.  It would be using a  
> flash-based filesystem for ruggedness.
> In any case, I need to be able to output graphics to an LCD display,  
> but for efficiency reasons would like to avoid XWindows (all the  
> overhead of providing moveable windows, pointing devices, etc. is  
> useless since the configuration of the various display elements on  
> the screen would be fixed.  I suppose that the user would be able to  
> choose between various display configurations, but they wouldn't be  
> using a regular user interface in the true sense of the word.  Have  
> you ever tried to drag a mouse around, or even use a touchscreen, in  
> heavy turbulence? :-)
> Since the avionics would consist of both the hardware and 
> software as  
> a bundle, I don't have to worry too much about thousands of 
> different  
> possible configurations.
> In any case, what options do I have?  I'll be programming in regular  
> C (not C++, though I could if I absolutely had to).  Ideally, I'd  
> like to know if there is a library or something that would let me  
> initialize the display to a given resolution and then just 
> use simple  
> functions to draw lines, circles, etc., in different colors.  An  
> OpenGL implementation without requiring XWindows might be cool too,  
> if it would let me render three dimensional objects at fixed  
> positions on the screen.
> I've done a lot of command line programming in FreeBSD, but 
> so far no  
> graphics programming, in XWindows or otherwise, so I may be missing  
> something basic here.  It just seems like a full-blown XWindows  
> implementation is completely overkill for my purposes and I'm 
> looking  
> for something simple to use and set up.  Or is there an XWindows  
> "lite" configuration that lets you output simple graphics to the  
> screen in fixed places without the user interface component?
> If anyone can point me in the right direction (or really, any  
> direction for that matter) it would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
> Dan
> --
> Syzygy Research & Technology
> Box 83, Legal, AB  T0G 1L0 Canada
> Phone: 780-961-2213
> _______________________________________________


It seems that you basically want a "window like" cursor addressable
display system

ncurses is the bees-knees for this as it supports pretty much all
of your needs and is a linkable library to your C / C++ programs.

And it is part of the baseline install -- try 

% apropos curses 

and you will get all the man pages you kneed ;-)

BTW freebsd-questions would also be a place for a general question like
also. ( I ahev copied this to there also for you to seen any other
comments arise ;-)


A: Because it fouls the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?

Murray Taylor
Bytecraft Systems
P: +61 3 8710 2555
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E: mtaylor at
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