• OpenGL 3.0 Support Tipped in Mac OS X 10.6.3

    The latest builds of Mac OS X 10.6.3 released to developers apparently feature support for OpenGL 3.0, according to netkas.org. While it is not fully implemented in the current build, developers are hopeful that the upcoming update will finally support the latest version of the OpenGL standard, which is a cross-platform rendering API, primarily directed at 3D graphics tasks such as gaming, CAD and visual effects.

    Support for OpenGL 3.0 was discovered by netkas - who is known in the OSX86 community for getting non-Apple GPUs to work on hackintoshed computers - using an ATI utility that checks compatibility. Though all Macs currently shipping have graphic cards which support OpenGL, Snow Leopard 10.6.2 implements only 15 of the 3.0 standardís 23 extensions. According to netkas, the developer build includes 22 OpenGL 3.0 extensions, as well as some for the 3.1 and 3.2 specifications.

    Ars Technica notes the difficulty with enabling OpenGL 3.0 support on the Mac, particularly as regards backward compatibility:

    Part of the issue with bringing OpenGL 3.0 support is that the newer versions deprecated many older functions from OpenGL 2.x in an attempt to modernize and simplify the overall API. All three revisions of OpenGL 3.x also include revisions to the shader language as well. Updating all the support requires work on Apple's part as well as the cooperation of GPU vendors to get drivers into shape. OpenGL 3.1 and 3.2 were released last year, well into Snow Leopard's development cycle, and drivers offering beta support for those versions of OpenGL were the norm on Windows Vista.
    The 3.0 standard has been supported by Wintel card drivers back to Windows XP. Mac users can only use up to OpenGL 2.1, though, due to lack of support on current Mac video cards. The absence of such support is considered by many to be a significant hindrance to gaming on the Mac, as far fewer games are available and often do not perform as well on the Mac.

    image via netkas.org
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