3Dconnexion has released beta Linux drives for its SpaceNavigator control device, enabling users of Maya 8 and 8.5 on that platform to manipulate objects in 3D.

The driver is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Linux (Redhat Enterprise Linux WS 3, SuSE 9.0 or greater).

The SpaceNavigator enables designers working in Maya 8 and 8.5 to simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate camera views as well as 3D objects, something that is not possible with a mouse and keyboard. Used as a companion to the mouse, in the operator’s free hand, the SpaceNavigator gives creative professionals control over 3D modelling and rendering, and reduces the clicks necessary to complete common tasks, enabling faster completion of complex animations and simulations.

The final version of the software, which includes full Linux support for Maya 8 and 8.5, will ship with the SpaceNavigator from the end of March 2007. Users must be running 3DxWare for Linux 1.2 and have an available 10 MB of disk space and USB 1.1 or 2.0.

SpaceNavigator PE (personal edition) costs £33 plus VAT. The personal edition license supports non-commercial use of the device and offers online technical support only. SpaceNavigator SE (standard edition) costs £69 plus VAT. The standard edition license comes with an unrestricted user's license and two years of full support (Web, email and phone).