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Khronos Drives Evolution of Cross-Platform 3D Graphics with Release of OpenGL 4.1 Specification

New open API specification available immediately;
Wide-ranging enhancements with full backwards compatibility;
Enhanced integration with OpenCL for seamless visual computing;
Integrates OpenGL ES functionality for desktop and mobile platform portability

July 26, 2010 –Los Angeles, SIGGRAPH 2010 – The Khronos™ Group today announced the immediate release of the OpenGL® 4.1 specification, bringing the very latest graphics functionality to the most advanced and widely adopted cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface). OpenGL 4.1 is the sixth update to OpenGL specification in two years, continuing the rapid evolution of this royalty-free specification. This new version continues to maintain full backwards compatibility to enable developers to begin using new features whenever they choose, while portably accessing state-of-the-art GPU functionality across diverse operating systems and platforms.

The OpenGL 4.1 specification has been defined by the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) working group at Khronos, and includes the GLSL 4.10 update to the OpenGL Shading language and is accompanied by a number of extensions introducing cutting-edge functionality to the OpenGL standard. The full specification is available for immediate download at

New functionality in the core OpenGL 4.1 specification includes:

  • Full compatibility with OpenGL ES 2.0 APIs for easier porting between mobile and desktop platforms;
  • 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 for programming flexibility;
  • 64-bit floating-point component vertex shader inputs for higher geometric precision;
  • Multiple viewports for a rendering surface for increased rendering flexibility.

New ARB extensions introduced with OpenGL 4.1 include:

  • OpenGL sync objects linked to OpenCL event objects for enhanced OpenCL interoperability;
  • The ability to set stencil values in a fragment shader for enhanced rendering flexibility;
  • Features to improve robustness, for example when running WebGL applications;
  • Callback mechanisms to receive enhanced errors and warning messages.

Lastly, Khronos has simultaneously released a set of ARB extensions to enable as much OpenGL 4.1 core functionality as possible on previous generation GPU hardware; providing maximum flexibility and platform coverage for application developers.

“Khronos is methodically building their vision for pervasive developer access to cross-platform graphics, media and compute acceleration. The continued rapid-fire OpenGL evolution feeds high-end graphics innovation into that strategy,” stated Dr. Jon Peddie founder and principal of Jon Peddie Research. “Just as significant as OpenGL 4.1’s new 3D functionality are the ever closer links with OpenCL and OpenGL ES 2.0 – another significant step in strengthening the Khronos API ecosystem.”

“The release of OpenGL 4.1 just five months after OpenGL 4.0 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,” said Barthold Lichtenbelt, OpenGL ARB working group chair and senior manager Core OpenGL at NVIDIA. “I am also pleased to announce that NVIDIA will release OpenGL 4.1 production drivers on our developer site for all Fermi-based graphics accelerators, including the GeForce GTX 400 series, during SIGGRAPH. OpenGL 4.1 is not just a specification – it’s here and now.”

“AMD wishes to congratulate the ARB as it releases the OpenGL 4.1 Specification. AMD is committed to open standards and to OpenGL and plans to support OpenGL 4.1 in an upcoming driver release,” said Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president, software at AMD. “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.”

“Graphic Remedy is proud to be part of the Khronos OpenGL group, playing an important role in the definition of OpenGL’s debugging and profiling features. We are excited about the release of OpenGL 4.1 and the new errors and warning mechanism,” said Yaki Tebeka, CTO at Graphic Remedy. Graphic Remedy is committed to supporting the OpenGL developer community with gDEBugger GL, a professional OpenGL Debugger, Profiler and Memory analyzer; this solution helps companies and individuals make the most out of the OpenGL API, unleashing the rendering power exposed by current and future graphic hardware.”

“We are very excited to see the release of OpenGL 4.1. New features, such as support for program binary loading and separate shader objects will be very valuable for TransGaming and other ISVs developing advanced graphics for games on OpenGL platforms,” commented Gavriel State, Founder & CTO of TransGaming, Inc.

Learn about OpenGL 4.1 and Khronos APIs at SIGGRAPH 2010

  • OpenGL - Wednesday, 28 July | 5:15 pm - 7:15 pm | Wilshire Grand - Los Angeles Room
  • COLLADA - Tuesday, 27 July | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm | LACC, Room 402A
  • OpenCL - Tuesday, 27 July | 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm | LACC, Room 402A
  • Mobile - Thursday, 29 July | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm | LACC, Room 402A
  • WebGL - Thursday, 29 July | 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm | LACC, Room 402A


The Khronos Group is an industry consortium creating open standards to enable the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices. Khronos standards include OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, WebGL™, EGL™, OpenCL™, OpenMAX™, OpenVG™, OpenSL ES™, OpenKODE™ and COLLADA™. All Khronos members are able to contribute to the development of Khronos specifications, are empowered to vote at various stages before public deployment and are able to accelerate the delivery of their cutting-edge media platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests. More information is available at