In the beginning of Linux, graphics meant either X or svgalib. If you
use both at the same
time, you can easily crash the graphics card and make the system unuseable.
This fact was the start, when GGI (http://www.ggi-project.org/) was
But it was discarded by the linux kernel developers in a big flamewar in
That caused the project to loose many users and developers and it was
believed to die.
(Ironically, fbdev is getting more and more into the shape of KGI in
linux kernels... - What has changed the kernel developer's mind?)
Development slowed dramatically down, but NEVER really died.
Recently, there were new releases.
The kernel part - KGI (http://www.kgi-project.org/) has been redesigned and
rewritten from scratch in the meantime. Many things you might believe to
(i.e. use of ioctls) are out of date now.
Nowadays, there are ports of KGI to FreeBSD and OpenBSD in development
- last one started recently.