Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Apr 2012 18:23 UTC, submitted by Radio
Games "I am still struck by just how interested Valve is in Linux as a platform; it is certainly beyond my original expectations. This Linux work just is not some half-assed attempt by them to make it look like they are a Linux-friendly organization. Gabe's vision to support, embrace, and promote Linux are amazing, assuming they execute, which looks to be very high probability at this point." Nice scoop from Phoronix. Seems to all tie in quite well with the prospect of a Steambox running Linux.
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boldingd
Member since:
2009-02-19

It's hardware vendors fault.


No, it isn't, at least not entirely. Part of the reason that OGL support is so bad on Windows is because OpenGL isn't Windows' primary 3D API; hardware developers treat OpenGL as a second-class citizen on Windows because it is a second-class citizen on Windows.

Also, part of the reason that OpenGL is so inconsistent between drivers is because Khronos doesn't (and can't) have the same kind of driver verification regime for OpenGL that Microsoft uses for D3D. Actually, NVIDIA (amusingly) is infamous for shipping known-broken OpenGL drivers on Windows.

You are right of course, that if game developers target wide range of hardware, they'll need to lower the requirements. But it's not a problem on Linux only. Poor OpenGL support is the problem everywhere including Windows.


The problem isn't the range of hardware targeted; the problem is that GL3 and GL4 state-trackers are not available for GL3 and GL4 hardware on Linux. I'm dual-booting my lap-top: in Windows 7, I get a GL4 context, while in Linux, I get a GL2.1 context. The open-source driver stack makes GL3+ contexts available to pretty much nobody at the moment. We're only just beginning to see GL3 state trackers actually get sent out to users by distributors. Mesa currently includes GL3 state trackers that work on some Intel hardware, and nowhere else; God knows how long it will be before GL3 is available for most of ATI's or NVIDIA's hardware, and say nothing of GL4.

Understand, I am a Linux user, and I'm not trying to really come down on the Mesa team or Linux kernel team. I think the major problem is just a lack of resources; graphics hardware is moving pretty fast right now, as is the OpenGL standard, and they just don't have the resources or the vendor support to keep up. But that doesn't change the reality of the situation; you're not going to get a decent port of a DX11 graphical system on GL2.

Edited 2012-04-26 21:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

DX11 isn't used by most game developers. They use DX9.

Reply Parent Score: 2

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

DX11 isn't used by most game developers. They use DX9.


Not really. There exists a lot of DX9 code that people still use, but you're starting to see a lot of new titles use DX11. There are a lot of graphical effects that are becoming common -- that are commonly used on consoles, that people expect to see on the PC versions of those titles -- that you just can't get in DX9.

There's going to be a huge, visible difference between a DX10 (-like) game running on an XBox 360 (or a GL3.2-like game running on a PS3) and a GL2.1 game running on a Steam box. And there's going to be a performance hit if don't have access to geometry shading.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

hardware developers treat OpenGL as a second-class citizen on Windows because it is a second-class citizen on Windows.

I quote what Daniel Phillips said:
CAD is the engine that kept OpenGL going through the years of vicious attacks by Microsoft. Even though Microsoft achieved near absolute victory in the gaming space and played an instrumental role in bringing SGI to its knees, [even buying SoftImage, to sell it later when Microsoft couldn't drive it anymore], it failed to kill OpenGL entirely, in large part because of the entrenched high end CAD market. [...] During this period, Linux took over Hollywood's render farms from Unix, and that was another base of support for OpenGL, but it might not have been sufficient if Microsoft had ever succeeded in dislodging the tenacious grip of OpenGL on Windows-based CAD. And then there was John Carmack's famous refusal to switch to Direct3D, but that came close to the brink. Not any more.

A litle off-topic, I would like to remind that:
- out of Windows, there's the CAD in Linux (Maya, SoftImage, XSI, Mudbox, Houdini, Nuke, Renderman, etc) to interest hardware developers.
- out of PCs, there's OpenGL in Mac (Blizzard uses OpenGL on their Mac ports (*), etc.); the massively growing Android and iOS smartphone and tablet market, where OpenGL is the standard 3D graphics engine; etc.

(*) Also, Apple chaired the OpenGL 3.3 branch. They also chaired the OpenGL 3.1 branch. Khronos is fully embracing the move to OpenCL along with AMD. Nvidia is still kicking and screaming and pushing CUDA. PTC is starting to move its applications to OS X. It's not because OS X wasn't ready for OpenGL (as it had OpenGL throughout). It was the perceived market share for years and perceived resistance by IT to push OS X. That's all gone. iOS and OS X make it obvious that CAD companies can now push "fat" and "thin" client tools for their clients and actual technical users giving them a new vertical market for profits.

Edited 2012-04-27 09:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3