Khronos unleashes OpenGL 4.1

The Khronos Group yesterday announced the release of the OpenGL 4.1 specification, at SIGGRAPH 2010.

OpenGL 4.1 is the sixth update to the royalty-free specification in two years. This version maintains full backwards compatibility, which enables developers to begin using new features when they are ready.

New functionality in the core OpenGL 4.1 specification includes full compatibility with OpenGL ES 2.0 APIs, 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, 64-bit floating-point component vertex shader inputs and multiple viewports for a rendering surface.

Both AMD and Nvidia were wheeled out to support the announcement. Barthold Lichtenbelt, OpenGL ARB working group chair and senior manager Core OpenGL at Nvidia reckons the release, "shows that collaborative innovation to build market opportunities for high-performance GPU acceleration is not slowing down. The ARB is also working hard to ensure backwards compatibility with each release so developers can absorb new functionality at their own pace."

He said Nvidia will release OpenGL 4.1 production drivers on its developer site for Fermi-based cards this week.

Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president, software at AMD, also said would support OpenGL 4.1 in an upcoming driver release. “The ability of the ARB to produce new and updated graphics standards at a regular cadence speaks volumes to their ongoing efforts to ensure healthy advances in the field of graphics, and AMD is proud to have contributed to this,” he flanneled.

The latest specifications can be downloaded today in OpenGL Registry. An official feedback forum is online at the OpenGL Forums, here.