The Khronos Group (http://www.khronos.org), an industry consortium creating open standards to enable the authoring and acceleration of graphics and dynamic media on a variety of platforms and devices, has released the OpenGL 4.0 specification, an upgrade to the 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface) that is deployed on all major desktop operating systems.
The OpenGL standard serves as the basis for OpenGL® ES, the graphics standard on virtually every shipping smart phone. The OpenGL 4.0 specification has been defined by the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) working group at Khronos, and includes the GLSL 4.00 update to the OpenGL Shading language in order to enable developers to access the latest generation of GPU (graphical processing unit) acceleration with enhanced graphics quality, acceleration performance and programming flexibility. The full specification is available for immediate download at http://www.opengl.org/registry .
OpenGL 4.0 further improves the close interoperability with OpenCL for accelerating computationally intensive visual applications. It continues support for both the Core and Compatibility profiles first introduced with OpenGL 3.2, enabling developers to use a streamlined API or retain backwards compatibility for existing OpenGL code, depending on their market needs.
According to the folks at Khronos, OpenGL 4.0 has been specifically designed to bring significant benefits to application developers, including:
° Two new shader stages that enable the GPU to offload geometry tessellation from the CPU;
° Per-sample fragment shaders and programmable fragment shader input positions for increased rendering quality and anti-aliasing flexibility;
° Drawing of data generated by OpenGL, or external APIs such as OpenCL, without CPU intervention;
° Shader subroutines for significantly increased programming flexibility;
° Separation of texture state and texture data through the addition of a new object type called sampler objects; -
° 64-bit double precision floating point shader operations and inputs/outputs for increased rendering accuracy and quality;
° Performance improvements, including instanced geometry shaders, instanced arrays, and a new timer query.
What’s more, Khronos has simultaneously released an OpenGL 3.3 specification, together with a set of ARB extensions, to enable as much OpenGL 4.0 functionality as possible on previous generation GPU hardware.