The Khronos Group announced OpenGL 3.2, the third major update in twelve months to the most widely adopted 2D and 3D graphics API for personal computers and workstations. This new release continues the evolution of the OpenGL standard to enable graphics developers to portably access new GPU functionality across diverse operating systems and platforms. The full specification is available for immediate download at http://www.opengl.org/registry.
OpenGL 3.2 adds features for enhanced performance, increased visual quality, accelerated geometry processing and easier portability of Direct3D applications. In addition, the evolution of OpenGL and other standards within Khronos, including OpenCL for parallel compute, OpenGL ES for mobile 3D graphics and the new WebGL standard for 3D on the web are being coordinated to create a powerful graphics and compute ecosystem that spans many application, markets and devices. The installed base of OpenGL 3.2 compatible GPUs already exceeds 150 million units.
The OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) working group at Khronos has defined GLSL 1.5, an updated version of the OpenGL Shading language, and two profiles within the OpenGL 3.2 specification providing developers the choice of using the streamlined Core profile for new application development or the Compatibility profile which provides full backwards compatibility with previous versions of the OpenGL standard for existing and workstation applications.
OpenGL 3.2 has been designed to run on a wide range of recent GPU silicon and provides a wide range of significant benefits to application developers, including:
- Increased performance for vertex arrays and fence sync objects to avoid idling while waiting for resources shared between the CPU and GPU, or multiple CPU threads;
- Improved pipeline programmability, including geometry shaders in the OpenGL core;
- Boosted cube map visual quality and multisampling rendering flexibility by enabling shaders to directly process texture samples.
In addition, Khronos has defined a set of five new ARB extensions that enable the very latest graphics functionality introduced in the newest GPUs to be accessed through OpenGL – these extensions will be absorbed into the core of a future version of OpenGL when this functionality is proven and widely adopted.