OpenGL 3.1 Released Plus New Audio Standard
Written by Michael Larabel in Standards on 24 March 2009 at 02:53 PM EDT. 27 Comments
Nine months ago the Khronos Group released the specification to OpenGL 3.0. OpenGL 3.0 brought version 1.30 of the GL Shading Language, the introduction of Vertex Array Objects, texture arrays, more flexible frame-buffer objects, and a number of other graphical features. What OpenGL 3.0 didn't bring was a major API revision that many developers had expected, and it was also arrived many months late. Today though, Khronos has announced OpenGL 3.1.

The OpenGL 3.1 specification also updates the GL Shading Language to GLSL version 1.40. OpenGL 3.1 introduces texture buffer objects, signed normalized textures, uniform buffer objects, more samplers, primitive restart, instancing, and a CopyBuffer API. In particular, the CopyBuffer API will be important when sharing buffers between OpenGL and OpenCL. In regards to OpenCL, Khronos also let loose that OpenCL implementations should begin appearing quite soon.

The OpenGL 3.1 specification can be downloaded on the Khronos web-site. The press release announcing the OpenGL 3.1 specification release can be found in their news room.

The proprietary Linux drivers from AMD/ATI and NVIDIA support OpenGL 3.0 and in due time we expect these drivers to support OpenGL 3.1 as well. The proprietary S3 Graphics driver also supports OpenGL 3.0. Sadly, none of the open-source Linux graphics drivers currently support OpenGL 3.0 / GLSL 1.30. We will likely not see this support added until Gallium3D is ready to enter the spotlight. By the time there is full Mesa / Gallium3D support for OpenGL 3.0/3.1, we sadly expect OpenGL 3.2 to be out in the wild.

Besides announcing OpenGL 3.1, the Khronos Group also announced the release of OpenSL ES 1.0. OpenSL ES is yet another open, industry standard. OpenSL ES aims to provide a specification for mobile and embedded audio processing. OpenSL ES 1.0 is described as "a royalty-free, cross-platform C-language API for high-performance, low-latency audio functionality on mobile and embedded devices." Among the features of the OpenSL ES 1.0 specification are full 3D positional audio including grouping of 3D sound sources and optional support for LED and vibrator controls. The OpenSL ES 1.0 specification can be read here with its press release here.

Lastly, the Khronos Group is beginning work on yet another standard. The newest standard they'll be tackling is an API for accelerated 3D on the web. Mozilla, Google, and others are working with the Khronos Group on a way to expose OpenGL and OpenGL ES 2.0 within the web-browser.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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