Khronos Launches Mobile Windowing System API
Written by Michael Larabel in Standards on 9 November 2009 at 04:14 PM EST. 3 Comments
In the past year the Khronos Group unveiled the OpenCL 1.0 specification, the launch of OpenGL 3.1 / GLSL 1.40, OpenSL ES 1.0 as a new standardized audio API, and then most recently was the OpenGL 3.2 update. Today though the Khronos Group is pushing forward another standardized API that they hope to reach industry acceptance on and that is for windowing systems. OpenWF 1.0 was announced this morning and as it is described as "an operating system-independent and hardware-neutral foundation for building windowing systems and providing display control functionality in accelerated mobile and embedded devices."

The Khronos press release also adds:

OpenWF enables a new degree of portability, acceleration and abstraction for windowing systems, while adding functionality and features through close integration with Khronos application APIs. OpenWF acts as the underlying route to the display for advanced graphics and multimedia content generated using APIs such as OpenGL ES for fast and portable 3D graphics, OpenVG for vector graphics acceleration, and OpenMAX for multimedia.

OpenWF provides two separate but complementary low-level APIs for composition of content and the configuration of display devices: OpenWF Composition and OpenWF Display. OpenWF Display enables portable access to display control hardware for manipulating screen attributes, while OpenWF Composition allows for layering and system-wide composition of application content. The two APIs can be used together or independently, depending on specific platform needs.

OpenWF enables highly-optimized mechanisms to display application content in a windowing system. By eliminating redundant memory accesses, consumed memory bandwidth may be reduced by more than half, resulting in significant power savings.


Among the mobile device companies putting their weight behind OpenWF 1.0 include Nokia, Broadcom, and ARM. The OpenWF Composition part of the API provides support for layered 2D composition functionality, system-wide composition of application content, alpha-blending / masking / resizing / rotation / mirroring, and scalable acceleration/ The OpenWF Display portion defines mode-setting controls (including power, resolution, rotation, and pipeline control) of built-in and external displays over HDMI / DVI / S-Video.

The 1.0 specification to OpenWF can be read at Khronos.org.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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