Climbing longs peak
The steep road to the future of OpenGL
One of the bedrock components of interactive graphics applications is getting an overhaul-the first one in 14 years. And it's not just a small face-lift; it's a fundamental overhaul that might impact the way interactive graphics applications are written for a long time to come. That component is OpenGL. From the beginning, one of OpenGL's most defining characteristics has been an emphasis on backward compatibility. Code written for OpenGL 1.0 will still compile and run today, exactly as it did 14 years ago, although hopefully a lot faster. The OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB), the custodian of OpenGL's state and development, has been rigorous about keeping the backward compatibility intact. Now, for the first time, that's changing. And by Siggraph 2007, the first version of the new OpenGL specifications will be made public. The changes are significant, and people who haven't been closely following OpenGL's development won't recognize much. To understand what motivated this drastic change after more than a decade of stability, let's look at the history and motivations behind OpenGL.