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OpenGL Version 4.3 Released 477

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Khronos Group has released the specification for OpenGL 4.3 at the SIGGRAPH 2012 conference in Los Angeles. New functionality includes: compute shaders that harness GPU parallelism for advanced computation, shader storage buffers, improved debug message output, high quality ETC2 / EAC texture compression as a standard feature, memory security improvements, robustness improvements, texture parameter queries, and more." The Khronos Group also released the OpenGL for Embedded Systems 3.0 specification, which is backwards-compatible with version 2.0. The new specification includes enhancements to the rendering pipeline, "a new version of the GLSL ES shading language with full support for integer and 32-bit floating point operations," and improved texturing functionality, among other things.
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OpenGL Version 4.3 Released

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  • Progress (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @12:44AM (#40914699)
    Thank goodness the Khronos Group took over from the old OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB). There has been great progress in OpenGL since then, catching up to Direct3D which had come from behind. With this OpenGL we can have this goodness on all desktop (Windows including XP, Linux, Mac, Unix) and mobile computing platforms (iOS, iPad, Android). Personally I'm most looking forward to the improved debug message output - hopefully that should save me some time tearing my hair out trying to resolve my mental model of what is going on vs. the realities/subtleties of GPU programming.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Besides the accelerated 3D shaded error console output, is all this of any importance to those of us that generally don't play games?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yes, if you do graphics/animation work (Blender and the like) or 3D CAD, or any of a number of other applications that need accelerated 3D graphics. Particularly if you'd like those apps to be cross-platform, not just on the desktops but on tablets, smartphones and the like.

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          Do those CAD programs use OpenGL ES?

          OpenGL's biggest mistake was in actively trying to keep OpenGL ES off the desktop. They had a chance to dump a load of legacy API and make a clean start but they caused fragmentation instead (OpenGL on desktop, OpenGL ES everywhere else).

          • by walshy007 (906710)

            The fixed pipeline api still has it's uses. If you are just starting out in 3d and only need it for minimal things being able to just go glBegin(GL_TRIANGLES) and then start drawing stuff is neat. For a lot of people the fixed function pipeline is all they need, if you don't care about performance (i.e. your bottleneck is elsewhere) you don't even have to bother with vertex arrays etc either.

            • by Deus.1.01 (946808)

              The best way to start out in 3D is memorize a bunch of API methods whose input are whisked away( presumable to help fuel Neo's Kung-Fu abilities as he fights AIs in the matrix stack)?

              After you create uniforms calls for light vectors and matrix arrays...and placed a simple array of floats to draw elements(hopefully appreciating the finesse of data type sizes in the process)....you'll feel like Buddha when you realize how it all comes together when you do the simple vertex transformations in the shader.

              Now o

            • by ultranova (717540)

              The fixed pipeline api still has it's uses. If you are just starting out in 3d and only need it for minimal things being able to just go glBegin(GL_TRIANGLES) and then start drawing stuff is neat.

              But that means that you'll need to basically start again from the beginning once you want to do something more advanced. Using simple shaders and vertex arrays isn't really any harder, and means that you can build on what you've learned later on.

              For a lot of people the fixed function pipeline is all they need, if

          • Re:Progress (Score:4, Informative)

            by pavon (30274) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @12:10PM (#40919051)

            Well OpenGL ES wasn't good enough for the desktop. In addition to removing a bunch of old cruft they also removed a bunch of advanced features that embedded systems at the time couldn't handle. OpenGL ES 3.0 improves the situation quite a bit, and is at least a proper subset of OpenGL 4.3, but is still missing important features needed to get the best performance out of games.

      • Re:Progress (Score:5, Informative)

        by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @01:49AM (#40915039)
        Do you have a phone or tablet? then OpenGL matters. If you use an operating system other than Windows, then OpenGL matters. If you like movies, then OpenGL matters. If you fly (OpenGL has implementations certified for flight instruments) then OpenGL matters. OpenGL is used for far more than just games, and far more widely than just the personal desktop.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          DO-178B [wikipedia.org] OpenGL code generator [esterel-technologies.com] for aviation.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by 91degrees (207121)
          Phones and tablets use OpenGL ES though. Which is related but different.

          A new version of OpenGL isn't particularly relevant just yet. There was also an announcement of a new version of OpenGL ES
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Phones and tablets use OpenGL ES though. Which is related but different.

            OpenGL 4.3 is a proper superset of OpenGL ES 3.0, so apps written with OpenGL ES are OpenGL apps by default. This alone is a justification for a new release, especially with support for royalty free texture compression in OpenGL ES 3.0. OpenGL 4.3 also has new features related WebGL and GPU-based computation. Surely, all of this warrents a mere point release?

        • for example, was the high quality texture compression already in ati/nvidia implementations?

          that and questions like that were probably on the mind of the guy asking what it matters for joe schlobs - not does opengl matter, but how do these new additions matter and if they matter in a tangible seeable way.

          • > for example, was the high quality texture compression already in ati/nvidia implementations?
            My understanding is that texture compression was not in all OpenGL instances in the past because of patent issues (the S3 company owned a patent on it, and it was known as S3TC). Now texture compression is guaranteed to be in OpenGL because an efficient patent-free implementation has been released and standardized on. This is a big win, especially for fully-compatible Free Software implementations of OpenGL (eg
  • Apple and OpenGL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cutting_Crew (708624) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @12:54AM (#40914751)
    When is apple going to get with the program related to 3D graphics? With Lion, they finally released drivers for OpenGL 3.3. Now, they are currently about 4 generations behind this new release. You would think, that with their success of their devices with fairly nice GPU's, that they would try to court gamers and developers. Let's face a hard truth. The most successful apps past and present are games. I know they want their drivers to be stable and all but they are way behind. I don't understand why they can't work with amd and nvidia on getting some stable driver releases...especially now with retina displays.

    Perhaps someone can explain what there thinking is here because I feel like they are missing out on some opportunities.
    • Re:Apple and OpenGL (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @01:00AM (#40914769)

      Well, I don't want to get too technical, but the situation is that Apple is retarded.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I concur.

        • Especially as Apple removed pbuffer support backward compatibility at the same time. Sure, modern stuff should use FBOs instead, but removing pbuffers busted older stuff (eg. the JoGL Java OpenGL library that I use - fortunately this will be fixed soon).
      • by KliX (164895)

        I don't think you're even slightly technical.

      • Well, Apple is in some sense ahead of Linux because Mesa + Xorg is still at 3.0 + extensions, having only recently moved from 2.1 + extensions. Granted, you can get OpenGL 4.2 by installing the AMD or nVidia binary drivers. Intel still hasn't moved their (open source) driver from 3.something to 4.something yet. So Apple is actually in the middle of the pack on this on. Mind you, OpenGL 3.x is a highly respectable 3D platform already.

    • by perpenso (1613749)
      Games don't generally require the latest hardware and software. Developers usually want to support anything sold in the last few years.

      I think most developers would prefer that Apple fix bugs and inconsistencies in the older versions of OpenGL (and video drivers) rather than implement the latest OpenGL. In other words I think many developers would say Apple is behind in bug fixes not new features.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721)

        Translation; I'm an Apple fanboy and frequently string bunches of words together in shallow and lame attempts to defend Apple's retarded and idiotic positions.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by perpenso (1613749)

          Games don't generally require the latest hardware and software. Developers usually want to support anything sold in the last few years. I think most developers would prefer that Apple fix bugs and inconsistencies in the older versions of OpenGL (and video drivers) rather than implement the latest OpenGL. In other words I think many developers would say Apple is behind in bug fixes not new features.

          Translation; I'm an Apple fanboy and frequently string bunches of words together in shallow and lame attempts to defend Apple's retarded and idiotic positions.

          Guess again. I worked at a game developer for years, including the Mac development side. I am a bit familiar with the process of deciding minimum system requirements. My friends who deal with OpenGL on Mac on a nearly daily basis complain of bugs not a lack of features.

          Just curious, but you consider someone complaining about problems with the current OpenGL implementation on Mac to be a fanboy? That's a pretty interesting perspective you have there.

          • Re:Apple and OpenGL (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Ignacio (1465) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @02:33AM (#40915247)

            My friends who deal with OpenGL on Mac on a nearly daily basis complain of bugs not a lack of features.

            ...

            HOLY SHIT!

            NOW I get it. Apple leaves the bugs in so that people focus on them instead of asking for new features! Then their product development group just throws whatever random features they feel like into a new product, and then tell the masses that they want to buy it. Brilliant!

            • by Noughmad (1044096)

              And all this time I thought the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation was supposed to be Microsoft. Apparently Apple is learning from their book as well.

              • And all this time I thought the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation was supposed to be Microsoft. Apparently Apple is learning from their book as well.

                Having been on this forum for quite a while now, here is how I experienced the focus shift from Microsoft to Apple:

                • [c.a 2000] Slashdot posters don't particularly care about Apple other than to crack jokes about it. The rest of the time they stand in a big group pointing at Microsoft, shouting "Evil empire!! Evil empire!!! ... "
                • [c.a 2007] Having enjoyed great success with music players Apple begins to enjoy unprecedented success with smartphones and later with tablets while Microsoft stagnates.
                • [c.a 2008-2009
                • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  Apple was evil long before it was an empire.

                  • by gl4ss (559668)

                    Apple was evil long before it was an empire.

                    yep, they had stellarly shitty hw support back when they were just an evil town too.

                    and fuck, what the fuck does apple being behind in times with graphics have to do with what games developers want to develop for? of course they'd rather code for a modern system with modern api's. if a pc variants cutting edge is antiquated then the average for that platform is going to be even more antiquated - that's a bad thing.

                    if they weren't so behind(retarded) then they could target some newer features. point being, t

                  • by Noughmad (1044096)

                    Yes, however there are many evil companies. Fortunately, only a few of them are big and important enough to make a difference in the life of Slashdot posters, even those who aren't customers of said companies. Microsoft was one of them (probably still is), but now so is Apple.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Games don't generally require the latest hardware and software. Developers usually want to support anything sold in the last few years.

        Ah, I see somebody has decided to begin talking out of his asshole.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by perpenso (1613749)

          Games don't generally require the latest hardware and software. Developers usually want to support anything sold in the last few years.

          Ah, I see somebody has decided to begin talking out of his asshole.

          Guess again. For example Mac Diablo 3 minimum system requirements:
          Mac OS X 10.6.8
          Intel Core 2 Duo
          2 GB RAM

          • by DrXym (126579)
            Many of the changes in OpenGL of late have been designed so as much work as possible can be offloaded from the CPU onto the GPU through shaders. Failing to keep up with the standard limits what developers can do to make their game as optimal as possible. It's in Apple's own interest to keep up with the spec because developers may increasingly disable advanced shaders or conditionally disable some optimizations simply because the APIs don't support them.

            Aside from that, there are games which do need more p

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Pino Grigio (2232472)
              Well, here's the problem: the content pipeline. Most of the man-hours of work involved in putting a game like Skyrim together are artists, modellers, lighting gurus and animators. The actual coding of the engine itself is a big job yes, but content far outweighs it in terms of time. It's very hard to optimise content pipelines to take advantage of different techniques when it comes to 3D. What you tend to find at the moment is that most of it is designed to run with an earlier version, and there are a f
            • by Cutting_Crew (708624) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @10:16AM (#40917743)
              if you have a fairly recent mac chances are the graphics hardware can do ALL the great OpenGL stuff. Thats what makes it even more puzzling. Its not that the hardware on these systems aren't there. There just isn't any drivers. Right now my macbook pro can perform all OpenGL 4.1 commands. But no drivers since Apple has been twiddling their thumbs.
        • Wow, and this response is rated insightful... must be another one of those days on Slashdot.

      • Er... why is this rated troll and why are there so many heated responses? Of course it makes sense for developers to support old hardware and not use all the latest shiny's in their product. This way you broaden your customer base. Look at the most successfull game ever, World of Warcraft, already required very low specs when it was released and it has stayed that way for all these years.

        Another advantage is that you can wait until bugs have been weeded out and tool support has cought up. I really don't get

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Apple uses the term "retina" to market displays with pixels densities of 220ppi and up. It's not new, nor are they the sole supplier (they get theirs from LG and Samsung). To date, no Mac has been produced with a >=220ppi display (they are just shy of 110ppi) but Android phones have been produced with pixel densities higher then that of the iPhone 4/4S.

    • Re:Apple and OpenGL (Score:5, Informative)

      by beelsebob (529313) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @03:49AM (#40915629)

      When is apple going to get with the program related to 3D graphics? With Lion, they finally released drivers for OpenGL 3.3.

      No, they released it for GL 3.2 core, which is 1.1 generations behind the now current. The reason they did this is because they support this version of OpenGL on all hardware that Lion runs on. If you're coding for lion, you can guarentee that OpenGL 3.2 is there, and don't need to write multiple render paths like you do otherwise.

      Now the fun bit, and why it doesn't matter that they don't support GL 4.2 (or now 4.3)... OpenGL specs are in fact bundles of extensions. To make up the OpenGL 4.3 standard, they took a bunch of interesting looking OpenGL extensions, and said "in order to have a complete OpenGL 4.3 implementation you must implement these extensions without the prefixes". If you go code some OpenGL on a Mac, which has hardware that could support OpenGL 4.2, you will discover that the GL 3.2 core context that you have, in fact already includes all the extensions necessary to make up OpenGL 4.2, so while you have a GL 3.2 context, you can in fact do all the things you'd expect to do on that hardware.

      In short, a version number 1.1 less than the version number khronos are currently at makes very little difference to how well applications can be coded.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        It WOULD be nice if Apple included various versions of OpenGL the way they do with their various drivers, so the latest one compatible with your hardware gets used. Then you could use the new features without the extension prefixes. Also, the update in 4.3 to make OpenGL a superset of ES would be very handy.

      • i guess i was counting generations differently. i was counting 4.0, 4.1, 4.2 and now 4.3. No not full releases but changes/optimizations/depreciations nonetheless.

        Now go download the free app OpenGL Extensions Viewer [realtech-vr.com]. I think you can also get them on your app store of choice. Here are my core features, AMD Radeon HD 6770M OpenGL Engine:

        3.0 100% 23/23 features
        3.1 100% 8/8 features
        3.2 100% 10/10 features
        3.3 30% 3/10 features
        4.0 0% 0/14 features
        4.1 0% 0/7 features
        4.2 0% 0/12 feature
      • here is something that I came across on arstechnica about graphics improvements with Mountain Lion [arstechnica.com]
        A little below halfway down the page:

        "However, the improved drivers appear to be working in concert with overall improvements to OS X's graphics subsystem. According one source who spoke to Ars on the condition of anonymity, Apple has significantly altered the architecture of the graphics subsystem in Mountain Lion, cleaning up the interface between OpenGL and drivers in order to implement upcoming supp
    • Let's face a hard truth. The most successful apps past and present are games.

      The hard truth is that games aren't the most successful apps. Email, browsing and office apps have been much more successful for a long time. It's easy to miss because browsers and email are usually free, so the simplest comparison is games vs office software, and even there office/word processing wins.

      Games *are* important, but they're nowhere near the top.

    • Who cares? DirectX is better anyway. OpenGL 4.3 pff. DirectX is already up to 11!
  • Direct3D vs OpenGL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @01:19AM (#40914865)

    I always wondered why OpenGL never caught on, until I read this explanation at stackexchange [stackexchange.com].

    • by peppepz (1311345) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @02:22AM (#40915185)
      OpenGL never caught on? I think you're talking from inside a Windows perception bubble, for everything but Windows is based on OpenGL nowadays. And Windows is slowly losing relevance.
      • by ledow (319597)

        Just going by the ones I know about on my own hard drive:

        - CS:GO has OpenGL support (in fact, so do most Valve titles for YEARS). That gets released next week, I think.
        - Dungeons of Dredmor has OpenGL support (in fact, so do most indie titles, including anything that goes onto phones, etc.)
        - Minecraft is OpenGL.
        - SpaceChem is OpenGL.
        - Killing Floor is OpenGL.
        - The Quake and Unreal series - all OpenGL.

        I could go on but that would involve actually checking each game rather than just searching for OpenGL-rela

      • Near the end of Vista/XP I read some articles about how MS cut OpenGL performance by 30% saying it was so DirectX could run faster.

        There was a lot of talk about how OpenGL forced more work with the hardware.

        At the time DirectX11 was about 15-20% slower and they needed DX10/11 to succeed or Windows 7/Vista would flop.

        The only reason a lot of gamers got 7/Vista was for DirectX after 9. It was total skulduggery.
        Now since iPhones and iPads have become the hot place to release a little game and make a bun
    • by bcmm (768152) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @03:14AM (#40915445)
      OpenGL never caught on? That must be why iOS and Android gaming is dead and most new mobile games are written in XNA and released only for Windows Phone 7 these days.
      • by oakgrove (845019)
        Yeah and those 90 something million Wiis Nintendo moved outselling XBox and PS3 by 50 percent all run DirectX too. Yep, OpenGL is dead in the water. /s.
        • by 91degrees (207121)

          Yeah and those 90 something million Wiis Nintendo moved outselling XBox and PS3 by 50 percent all run DirectX too.

          They don't run OpenGL either.

          Technically neither do Android devices. OpenGL ES is not quite the same thing.

  • Mesa (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Great.. :-( one more version for Mesa to be behind of..

    • by Ignacio (1465)

      I'd worry a bit more about nvidia and fglrx. They're not likely to support this until well into 2014.

      • Re:Mesa (Score:5, Informative)

        by PeterKraus (1244558) <peter.kraus@member.fsf.org> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @04:00AM (#40915669) Homepage

        nVidia has already released a beta 4.3 compliant driver. AMD's blob is usually not too far behind either (a couple of months, not years).

        Mesa, though, supports only stuff up to OpenGL 3 - not sure which minor revision, but not all extensions are done for the 3.X series yet. OpenGL 4 is at least a year away there....

        • 3.0 currently. 3.1 early 2013 hopefully.

        • The blobs currently don't lag behind because they share a lot of code between os versions.
          Nvidia's approach is basically throwing out of the window anything that exist under Linux and recompile their windows code. Although this brings tons of drawback (basically nvidia's drivers don't play nice with anything else, and lot of advanced features are missing - like the Optimus debacle and Linus' big fuck you), it has the advantage that they support their own bells and whistles and so OpenGL 4.3 is already out.
          A

          • Addendum:

            Just as an example of the involvement of Intel in speeding up the OpenGL 4.3 / OpenGL ES 3.0, this just in at Phoronix:
            http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTE1Njg [phoronix.com]

            OpenGL ES 3.0 announced by Intel for the opensource drivers for their next generation of graphic cards (currently still alpha quality), and should became available during the first quarter of next year.

            Okay, it's not the full OpenGL 4.3 specs, it's only the ES 3.0 subset of it, there still some work to go. But, thanks to

  • As a mobile and game developer this is great news and I am excited to test some of this myself. :3
  • Apparently there is now some level of convergence between OpenGL and OpenGL ES, so that a valid OpenGL ES 3.0 application is also valid OpenGL 4.2. Does this also apply to ES 2.0? In other words, is a valid ES 2.0 application also a valid non-ES 4.2 application?

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