OpenGL doesn't support font rendering since OpenGL is a basic 3D API.
Fonts require some OS interaction and font files to be installed, therefore core GL doesn't support fonts at all.
On Windows, Microsoft offers certain wgl functions that do font rendering :
wglUseFontBitmaps : this does rendering with glBitmap under the hood.
wglUseFontOutlines : despite the name, this generates geometry. In other words, this does 3D text. It probably use glBegin, glVertex, glEnd under the hood.
Both of those functions were great in 1995 and use display lists.
Here is an example from the MSDN from 1995.
The example doesn't show the call to CreateFont.
HDC hdc; // A TrueType font has already been selected HGLRC hglrc; GLYPHMETRICSFLOAT agmf; //create display lists for glyphs 0 through 255 with 0.1 extrusion //and default deviation. The display list numbering starts at 1000 //(it could be any number) wglUseFontOutlines(hdc, 0, 255, 1000, 0.0f, 0.1f, WGL_FONT_POLYGONS, &agmf); //Set up transformation to draw the string glLoadIdentity(); glTranslate(0.0f, 0.0f, -5.0f) glScalef(2.0f, 2.0f, 2.0f); //Display a string glListBase(1000); // Indicates the start of display lists for the glyphs //Draw the characters in a string glCallLists(24, GL_UNSIGNED_BYTE, "Hello Win32 OpenGL World.");
These days, it seems mostly newcomers use those while learning with old tutorials.
The Wiki recommends using something crossplatform, such as FTGL
and there are many other libraries as well.