I am an avid follower of OpenGL news as it was the first graphics API (other being Direct3D) I ever picked up. So I must confess I have a little bit of a soft corner when it comes to OpenGL. I thoroughly dislike comparing the two APIs because I consider them equivalent in functionality. However, recent developments in DirectX have put it at a clear advantage as compared to OpenGL. Direct3D implementations (DirectX 10) already support SM 4 with cards like the 8800 (Geforce 8800 GTS from NVIDIA) already hitting the market. That in itself shows how far behind OpenGL is. I have been hearing Longs Peak for too long and either the ARB committee is sleeping or just too lazy off their a** to get anything done. Either way OpenGL has a lot of catching up to do, which is a pity since OpenGL was better designed initially.
The longs peak update does promise a few changes and improvements. For example the buffer objects finally have the necessary improvements like
- mapping only a specified range of a buffer
- strict write-only access
- explicit flushing of altered/written regions
- whole-buffer invalidation
- partial-buffer invalidation
- non-serialized access
most of which are a part of Direct3D implementation already and are available in Direct3D 9.0. These should have been done a long time back.
Longs peak has also introduced an object model. No its not a direct OO approach, but something of an OO approach wrapped inside an C API. While OpenGL can’t be convented directly into an Objec-Oriented library, the committee came to a conclusion that it was impossible to move further without having to work on some kind of object model. I can understand their concerns, but the object model thing looks kinda overly complicated. Whist the exact implementation details will only be known when longs peak is released and the drivers come out, we have to hope that we are not in for a any nasty surprises.
Thats not to say everything is bad. I mean, in the end this may just look like a rant in a couple of months, maybe the spec is really good. I just hope they release the spec soon.