Recently a slew of new web “RIA” technologies have been brewing up a storm. Adobe released Flash Player 10 with a quite capable JIT compiler and AS3 which now actually can be called a real programming language. Microsoft is hot on it’s heels with Silverlight 3.0 Beta, which I personally like much better since it’s more of a developers technology gone design than the other way around. Both technologies now use 3D hardware acceleration for their rendering, and both expose a low level API for defining pixel shaders. Right now both implementations only use a software implementation of the pixel shader pipeline, without using the GPU for what it was actually designed for. At least there is still hope that Microsoft might support GPU acceleration with the RTM of Silverlight 3. Adobe cites concerns of platform compatibility for not using GPU shaders, but come on, capable hardware has been on the market since 2002 and even the most low end embedded GPUs in Laptops support it ( even Windows Vista and above need at least PS2.0 support for their Aero theme ). How hard can it be to check if capable OpenGL or DirectX drivers are available and then using the native pixel shader capabilities ? The drivers have been quite stable for the last 5 years in that regard, and nobody prohibits you from falling back to software emulation if you deem the installed hardware not compatible enough.. Since they actually already go through OpenGL or DirectX for their rendering, there is not that much investment into developing a new rendering pipeline too. Hopefully both vendors will soon integrate that particular feature, since I already have some very weird dreams about what we could do with it.