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No redistributable runtime for now

Microsoft launched its much anticipated Windows 7 operating system last week to great fanfare. One of the features of Windows 7 is DirectX 11, which is a superset of DirectX 10.1 already used in Vista Service Pack 2.

Windows Vista introduced the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM), which allowed new features such as virtualized video memory and scheduling of concurrent graphics contexts. Windows 7 also uses WDDM, albeit a newer version.

Microsoft had promised that Vista users wouldn't be left in the cold, and would be able to download and use DirectX 11. It included DirectX 11 in a beta version of its "Platform Update" available in September. The final version is now available via Windows Update.

The Platform Update is meant for computers running Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Vista SP2, and is composed of four parts: The Windows Graphics, Imaging, and XPS Library contains DirectX 11, DirectCompute for hardware accelerated parallel computing, and the XPS Library for document printing.

The Windows Automation API "enables accessibility tools and test automations to access the Windows user interface in a consistent way across operating system versions".

Windows Portable Devices Platform is a basis to standardize data transfers between applications and portable devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, or media players.

The "Windows Ribbon and Animation Manager Library" enables the use of Microsoft's "Ribbon" to be used by other programs and provides a framework for managing the scheduling and execution of user interface element animations.

Unfortunately, Windows XP users will still have to stick to DirectX 9.0c, as the older OS does not support WDDM.

Microsoft usually makes a redistributable DirectX runtime available to developers and for download. It is meant for computers without an internet connection or for users who have multiple computers, and is often bundled with games. The current redistributable is from August, and there is no word on when an updated runtime will be available.





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