16/02/2009 State of OpenGL 3.0 drivers

OpenGL 3.0 is on its way! 6 months after the release of the specification, we reached a time were drivers start to be widely available on Windows, Linux and MacOS.

With the OpenGL 3.0 specification release, nVidia was proud to announce the release of OpenGL 3.0 beta drivers in August 2008. In the meantime, they reach a stable stage and work pretty well even if I encounter few bug lately. One with VAO and one with DSA and texture buffer. Well it's not even OpenGL 3 features.

In December, a second actor bring OpenGL 3. It's not ATI but S3. S3 have been rely surprising with their release of drivers, a lot in advance over ATI in manner of features. I haven't tried it yet but I would love to.

At the end of January, ATI finally release OpenGL 3 drivers with full features. Before that, they already had provide support for some feature through OpenGL 2.1 extensions but even with this S3 work was more advanced. Drivers 9.1 doesn't really seams very stable and at their release lot of people were scared about the stability of it because of a crash when using glGetString(GL_VERSION)... "How the rest can work if even this doesn't?".

Finally, Intel... Well, I attempt to a very funny presentation from Intel developers at Fosdom 2009. It started with: We finally bring Framebuffer objects and fragment shader but don't try vertex shader, it's going to crash... Well Intel, I don't care. They don't have OpenGL 2.0 drivers so don't expect OpenGL 3.0 drivers before a while.

Overall, I think we reach a dissent drivers stage to start moving to OpenGL 3.0.

However, having drivers is good but not really enough. We need tools! GLEW and GLEE get into OpenGL 3.0 quite quickly... but this is mostly it. Libraries like SDL, GLFW of GLUT does not support OpenGL 3.0 yet and the shame is that it really require few changes for such library to support OpenGL 3.0.

Those days, I'm more concerned by the community ... or let say the lake of community. It used to be a key of OpenGL success but this key is disappearing. Maybe, it's just all the 3D graphics community which is changing to become more professional.

A patch number for GLM >
< OpenGL 3.0 map buffer range and OpenGL 3.1 perspectives
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