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OpenGL Architecture Review Board Releases OpenGL 1.3 Spec

(August 14, 2001)
SGI and the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB) today announced the availability of the OpenGL) 1.3 specification. With new features and functionality designed to increase the level of graphics quality and realism, the release represents the latest enhancement to the industry's leading cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics application programming interface (API). OpenGL 1.3 implementations are expected to be available for various platforms later this year.

The OpenGL 1.3 specification evolved with input from both the OpenGL ARB, an independent consortium, and interested outside parties, reflecting predominant trends in the graphics hardware industry. The ARB's process of enhancing OpenGL includes evaluating extensions and determining which to incorporate and how they should be officially supported within the API. In OpenGL 1.3, several additional features and functions have been ratified and brought into the API's core functionality. These core features enhance OpenGL in the following ways:

-- Cube map texturing -- for higher quality environment mapping and

lighting support

-- Multisampling -- for order-independent anti-aliased rendering of

points, lines and polygons

-- New texture modes that provide more powerful ways of applying textures

to rendered objects:

-- Texture Add Environment mode

-- Texture Combine Environment mode

-- Texture Dot3 Environment mode

-- Texture Border Filtering mode

-- Compressed texture framework -- to allow higher quality textures in

less memory regardless of file format

"Since SGI introduced the OpenGL API in 1992, it has grown into the industry's leading cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API and its presence continues to grow every day. Applications in markets such as CAD, content creation, energy, entertainment, game development, manufacturing, medical and VRML will benefit from the breadth of platform accessibility and depth and quality of functionality of the new OpenGL 1.3 API," said Paul McNamara, vice president of products and platforms, SGI.

Most Widely Adopted Graphics Standard

OpenGL is the premier environment for developing 2D and 3D visual applications on systems ranging from consumer PCs to graphics workstations and supercomputers. With more than 60 hardware developer licensees, OpenGL has the broadest industry support of any openly licensed graphics API. In 1992, SGI formed the industry-wide ARB that now governs the evolution and ongoing development of OpenGL -- a technology originally created by SGI -- as an open, platform-independent standard for professional-quality 3D graphics.

The 11 companies comprising the OpenGL ARB are 3Dlabs, Apple, ATI, Compaq, Evans & Sutherland, Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., NVIDIA and SGI. Hardware-developer licensees include Compaq, Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Sun Microsystems and a growing number of 3D graphics chipset and board vendors, including 3Dlabs, ATI, Matrox Graphics, Inc. and NVIDIA. Platforms supporting OpenGL include AIX(R), BeOS(R), HP-UX(R), IRIX(R), Linux(R), Mac(R) OS, OS/2(R), Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 98 and Windows NT(R), Solaris(TM) and many other operating systems. More information on OpenGL 1.3 and its supporters will be made available on the OpenGL Web site at

"3Dlabs is the only permanent ARB member developing OpenGL API-based silicon for the PC, and we take our responsibility to further the OpenGL standard very seriously," said Neil Trevett, senior vice president of market development for 3Dlabs. "OpenGL 1.3 is a valuable strengthening of the only cross-platform API standard to meet the emerging needs of a wide range of professional applications."

"OpenGL 1.3 underscores the graphics industry's dedication to delivering a premier 3D graphics API for developers and graphics applications," said David Kirk, chief scientist at NVIDIA. "The combination of the OpenGL API and the NVIDIA advanced feature set offers to developers a real-time, high-quality, high-performing OpenGL 1.3 solution for multiple operating systems, including Macintosh, Windows and Linux."

"Sun is a strong supporter of OpenGL for the Solaris operating environment, as it should contribute to Sun's ability to continue delivering professional-level graphics at affordable prices," said Fred Kohout, director of marketing for Technical Market Products at Sun Microsystems, Inc. "Sun anticipates strong acceptance of the technology's latest iteration, OpenGL 1.3, and is developing advanced new products to take advantage of the new version's expanded features for the graphics and visualization markets."

In addition, other companies are also announcing their support of OpenGL 1.3, including ATI Technologies Inc., Dell, Matrox Graphics, Inc., and Xi Graphics, Inc.

About OpenGL

The OpenGL graphics system specification allows developers to incorporate a broad set of rendering, texture mapping, special effects and other powerful visualization functions and provides a graphics pipeline that allows unfettered access to graphics hardware acceleration. Since its introduction by SGI in 1992, OpenGL has become the industry's most widely used and supported 3D and 2D graphics application programming interface. OpenGL is available on all other major computer platforms, including IRIX, Solaris, HP-UX, Compaq(R) Tru64(R) UNIX(R), AIX, BeOS, Windows NT, Windows 98 and Mac OS. An industry-wide architecture review board governs the evolution and ongoing development of OpenGL. With broad industry support, OpenGL is a vendor-neutral, multiplatform graphics standard and is uniquely positioned to leverage the continuing improvements of graphics hardware.

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