3D vs 3D desktop environments. Below is a great explanation of the offering of both flavors; Red Hat and Novell.
I’ve been talking about them, complaining about what you CAN’T do, about the troubles with 3D cards… Personally I’m getting a bit lost with all this. So, I’ve decided to compile all the information I could find out about those pesky 3D desktops.
A “what is” guide to 3D desktops
Essentially developed by Novell for SuSE and the first “elegant” 3D desktop, it came out with Compiz, a window manager that can replace Gnome’s (and now KDE’s and others) window manager. Allowing desktop rotations, window transparencies and deformations, it is nice-looking, fluid and can run on hardware more than five years old.
In short, if your existing X configuration supports somewhat advanced 3D acceleration and DRI, you can run XGL: it will start your normal X, ask it to draw a single, full-screen OpenGL window in which a simple new X server runs… Source: Free Software Mag