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Call to Action:  Current plan for Windows Vista Aero will degrade OpenGL performance. Act Now to kee

Aug 04, 2005

Microsoft’s current plan for OpenGL on Windows Vista is to layer OpenGL over Direct3D in order to use OpenGL with a composited desktop to obtain the Aero experience. If an OpenGL ICD is run - the desktop compositor will switch off - significantly degrading the user experience.

In practice this means for OpenGL under Aeroglass:

  • OpenGL performance will be significantly reduced - perhaps as much as 50%
  • OpenGL on Windows will be fixed at a vanilla version of OpenGL 1.4
  • No extensions will be possible to expose future hardware innovations

It would be technically straightforward to provide an OpenGL ICD within the full Aero experience without compromising the stability or the security of the operating system.  Layering OpenGL over Direct3D is a policy decision more than a technical decision.

The OpenGL community should encourage hardware & software developers, as well as Microsoft to maintain OpenGL as a first class API under Windows Vista.

What can you do?:

  1. Write to your preferred ISV, hardware developer, video card manufacturer or OEM and tell them to bring this up with Microsoft (e.g. 3Dlabs, ATI, Intel, Matrox, NVIDIA, HP, Dell). This will be the most effective action you can take.

  2. Bring this issue up on other developer and tech-related web sites. If you have a personal blog or podcast, talk about the issue there. Windows Vista might end up being a great product, but not if OpenGL is crippled

  3. Post your comments to our public message board. The more conversation and solution ideas, the better.

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