New OpenGL standard fails to delight

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The Khronos Group, a consortium of companies that manages the OpenGL graphics standard, has finally released the specification for OpenGL 3.0, and developers are not impressed..

OpenGL 3.0 was supposed be a major revision in the standard, including a ground-up rewrite of the API into a faster but smaller package. It was due out in September 2007 but has faced repeated delays over technical issues.

This has now been abandoned and version 3.0 contains some new functions, but nowhere near the amount developers had been expecting. Message boards are already filling up with developers venting their frustration at the new code.

“We wait for two years for nothing,” wrote one on the OpenGL.org board.

“Thanks CAD people for screwing us over because you're so damn lazy to update your piece of junk software. Man it seems the only way to go about anything now is the Microsoft way, so Microsoft wins yet again. I see why no games are developed in OpenGL now.”

Other developers are now talking about switching to Microsoft’s DirectX standard which, while proprietary, is now looking like a more advanced option.

“This is an unbelievable letdown. I kind of saw it coming, but I never expected the Architecture Review Board (ARB) to fail on such an immense scale,” said another.

“I find it astonishing how far some people can be removed from reality and yet not be immediately fired due to overwhelming incompetence. This is the death of modern OpenGL. Thank you very much. What Microsoft never managed, you did.”

However, the Khronos Group has defended the revision, pointing out that a complete revision of the API would have caused large support problems.

“OpenGL 3.0 is a significant evolutionary step that integrates new functionality to ensure that OpenGL is a truly state-of-the-art graphics API while supporting a broad swathe of existing hardware,” said Barthold Lichtenbelt, chair of the OpenGL working group at Khronos.

“Just as importantly, OpenGL 3.0 sets the stage for a revolution to come – we now have the roadmap machinery and momentum in place to rapidly and reliably develop OpenGL – and are working closely with OpenCL to ensure that OpenGL plays a pivotal role in the ongoing revolution in programmable visual computing."

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