Graphics, Hardware, Software Programs

OpenGL 3.2 API released: Welcome OpenCL, WebGL


At the very beginning of Siggraph 2009, which is being held in hot’n’humid New Orleans, The Kronos Group came forward with the official release of the OpenGL 3.2 API. As you might remember, last week we witnessed a driver leak from nVidia which contained support for then unreleased OpenGL 3.2. Siggraph 2009 opened its doors and here we are, OpenGL 3.2 is here.

Probably the most important part of brand new OpenGL is WebGL, a new standard for 3D on the web. It looks like OpenGL ARB [Architecture Review Board] grew sick and tired of proprietary formats such as Adobe’s Flash or Microsoft’s Silverlight and launched an open-source, free-for-use cross-OS API that should be supported by majority of computing devices around the globe.

The improvements made in this release should help developers to easily port the 3D code from Direct3D to OpenGL… for instance, when converting an PC/Xbox 360 title to a PlayStation 3, for instance? or re-coding a PC title for Mac OSX or Linux. OpenGL’s shading language got upgraded to 1.5 [GLSL 1.5], with two profiles within the 3.2: Core [new app development] and Compatibility profile [full backwards compatibility with previous versions of OpenGL].

According to The Khronos Group,  theinstalled user base of OpenGL 3.2-compliant graphics processors is around 150 million units – basically, almost every card from DirectX 10 generation should support this API with no problems.

It doesn’t stop there – Khronos defined five new ARB extensions in order to "enable the very latest graphics functionality introduced in the newest GPUs." Long story short, these features are present in the upcoming graphics chips from both AMD and nVidia, and well, Intel’s 2010 Larrabee chip too.