Graphical Kernel System

Graphical Kernel System

The Graphical Kernel System (GKS) was the first ISO standard for low-level computer graphics, introduced in 1977. GKS provides a set of drawing features for two-dimensional vector graphics suitable for charting and similar duties. The calls are designed to be portable across different programming languages, graphics devices and hardware, so that applications written to use GKS will be readily portable to many platforms and devices.

GKS was fairly common on computer workstations in the 1980s and early 1990s, and formed the basis of Digital Research's GSX and GEM products; the latter was common on the Atari ST and was occasionally seen on PCs particularly in conjunction with Ventura Publisher. It was little used outside these markets and is essentially obsolete today except insofar as it is the underlying API defining the Computer Graphics Metafile. A notable descendant of GKS was PHIGS.

A main developer and promoter of the GKS was Professor José Luis Encarnação, formerly director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics (IGD) in Darmstadt, Germany.

GKS was ANSI standard ANSI X3.124 and ISO standard ISO/IEC 7942. The language bindings are ISO standard ISO 8651. GKS-3D (Graphical Kernel System for Three Dimensions) functional definition is ISO standard ISO 8805 and the C bindings are ISO 8806.

The functionality of GKS is wrapped up as a data model standard in ISO 10303-46.

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