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The OpenGL Pipeline Newsletter - Volume 001

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A Welcome Message from the Ecosystem Working Group

“Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” - Mark Twain

Welcome to the first edition of OpenGL Pipeline, the quarterly newsletter covering all things the OpenGL standards body has “in the pipeline.”  Each issue will feature status updates from the various active working groups, along with a handful of thoughtful articles, event announcements, and product spotlights.  Then if there’s any room leftover, we’ll throw in a semi-informative rambling or two.  All we can promise is that this publication will be worth every penny you’ve paid for it.

The Ecosystem Working Group was formed in March of this year.  Its charter is to tackle “everything else.”  We leave the heavy lifting—debating new OpenGL features, generating new APIs, and writing extension specs—to the other highly skilled working groups.  They are the rock stars.  In contrast, the Ecosystem WG is the unsung hero working backstage to increase the impact of all those new features.  We are the wind beneath their wings, if you will.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word ecosystem means “an ecological community together with its environment, functioning as a unit.”  To us in the Ecosystem WG it means all of the resources on the periphery serving as a development environment to make OpenGL more useful or accessible to you, the community.  We started by conducting a poll on opengl.org to find out what you were most interested in our tackling first.  Was it reference materials?  Tutorials & sample code?  Tools & utilities?  A test suite?  No.  67% of you chose “OpenGL SDK: a single SDK sponsored by the ARB, endorsed by all vendors, with some/all of the above.”  In other words, you want it all.  We get it.

Ecosystem WG activities over the last quarter have included the following: planning for the launch of an OpenGL SDK, establishing a modern toolchain for generating reference documentation, and revamping naming convention guidelines for the other working groups to utilize when creating future APIs.  Work next quarter will focus on generating OpenGL 2.1 reference materials and starting to piece together the SDK, soliciting contributions from the OpenGL community at large.

The second most popular response to the poll was “Better communications: what has the ARB been doing and what are its future plans?” which segues nicely into this newsletter.  Regardless of the poll, you may find yourself asking, “Why, after all these years, is the OpenGL standards body finally opening up and sharing with its audience, its devoted developers, its enthusiastic end-users, its people?”  It must be a maturity thing.  It took us a solid 14+ years to shed our youthful shyness and find a voice.  The last decade was just an awkward phase.  We’re over it now.  This newsletter is just the beginning of OpenGL’s long anticipated coming of age.

“I’m not dead yet!” - Monty Python

Benj Lipchak, ATI
Ecosystem Working Group Chair


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