@warmist: What I meant is a modularized renderer library (.dll/.so) that can be modified/recomplied/whatever without touching the main DF engine, so in essence DF would remain closed source, but at the same time partly open. I think this is what lnxt proposed almost 2 years ago:
The basic idea is to get rid of any platform-dependent code in the main executable and to make the rendeder live in .dll on win32 while at it. There are five interfaces - musicsound, textures (creature graphics index), keyboard (keybindings, ...), platform (read/write/create/delete files, messageboxes, ...) and the renderer (which isn't finalized yet).
First stage would be a (fully functional, of course) libgraphics.so which instead of containing all the PRINT_MODE and musicsound implementations, will dynamically load them.
After that I hope to persuade Toady to extract whatever code uses the sdl12 calls and is still not in g_src, so that executable itself will not in any way depend on third-party libraries. With some win32-specific glue code and recompilation of the game for win32 using my work, we will at last have means to swap around renderers in win32 too.
...but as Meph commented Toady is against this, so I'll just shut my mouth.
@scamtank: Yepp, and yepp. Fuzzy edges, that we can't do anything for at the moment, just thought to mention it. Finding same size text and graphics tilesets is a bit hard at the moment, but I expect the artists to catch up with it once we get some momentum. This effectively doubles the available tiles, which is IMHO the biggest advancement since foreground/background/transparency tricks were invented.
And in other news I postponed pushing out the new Macnewbie as I ran into some unexpected crashes that may or may not be related to the plugin. I'm 99% that it's something else, but'll get back to you once I have a bit time to figure it out. I suspect the GL renderer, but it's a mystery as I was testing for hours yesterday without problems, and then it started crashing 9 times out of 10 when I decided it was stable enough. Frustrating.