The Khronos Group has announced the immediate release of the OpenGL 4.1 specification, bringing the very latest graphics functionality to the most advanced and widely adopted cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface). OpenGL 4.1 is the sixth update to OpenGL specification in two years, continuing the rapid evolution of this specification.
“Khronos is methodically building their vision for pervasive developer access to cross-platform graphics, media and compute acceleration. The continued rapid-fire OpenGL evolution feeds high-end graphics innovation into that strategy. Just as significant as OpenGL 4.1’s new 3D functionality are the ever closer links with OpenCL and OpenGL ES 2.0 – another significant step in strengthening the Khronos API ecosystem,” said Dr. Jon Peddie founder and principal of Jon Peddie Research.
The OpenGL 4.1 specification has been defined by the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) working group at Khronos, and includes the GLSL 4.10 update to the OpenGL Shading language and is accompanied by a number of extensions introducing cutting-edge functionality to the OpenGL standard.
New functionality in the core OpenGL 4.1 specification includes:
- Full compatibility with OpenGL ES 2.0 APIs for easier porting between mobile and desktop platforms;
- The ability to query and load a binary for shader program objects to save re-compilation time;
- The capability to bind programs individually to programmable stages for programming flexibility; 4-bit floating-point component vertex shader inputs for higher geometric precision;
- Multiple viewports for a rendering surface for increased rendering flexibility.
New ARB extensions introduced with OpenGL 4.1 include:
- OpenGL sync objects linked to OpenCL event objects for enhanced OpenCL interoperability;
- The ability to set stencil values in a fragment shader for enhanced rendering flexibility;
- Features to improve robustness, for example when running WebGL applications;
- Callback mechanisms to receive enhanced errors and warning messages.
Lastly, Khronos has simultaneously released a set of ARB extensions to enable as much OpenGL 4.1 core functionality as possible on previous generation GPU hardware; providing maximum flexibility and platform coverage for application developers.
“The release of OpenGL 4.1 just five months after OpenGL 4.0 shows that collaborative innovation to build market opportunities for high-performance GPU acceleration is not slowing down. [...] Nvidia will release OpenGL 4.1 production drivers on our developer site for all Fermi-based graphics accelerators, including the GeForce GTX 400 series, during Siggraph. OpenGL 4.1 is not just a specification – it’s here and now," said Barthold Lichtenbelt, OpenGL ARB working group chair and senior manager of core OpenGL at Nvidia.