No OpenGL support in Windows2000 ??

klaatu klaatu at
Thu Dec 2 10:38:24 EST 1999

On Thu, 2 Dec 1999, Simon J. Rees wrote:

My remarks interspersed.

> I realize this is slightly off-topic but it must have implications for vtk
> developers and users.
> I found the article below via another mailing list yesterday. Apparently
> there will be no OpenGL support provided by MS in Windows2000 - at least in
> the medium term.
> The original article was posted on 11/29/99 and can be found at
> Any reactions? Is there an "official view" as to Windows2000 support for
> vtk?
> -sjr
> The article text  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Fahrenheit, the joint Microsoft-SGI project "to define the future of
> graphics" has crashed in ruins, with Microsoft to all intents and purposes
> pulling its support for OpenGL and throwing its weight behind Direct3D. The
> Register has obtained correspondence from the Win2k beta tests which makes
> this abundantly clear, and last week SGI itself drew a final line under its
> involvement with Fahrenheit.

SGI is openly supportive of Linux, and M$ is probably just trying to gum
up the works.

> In a terse note posted on the company site, SGI said: "We have decided to
> reduce our involvement in all aspects of the Fahrenheit project, in line
> with our decision to no longer make the IRIX version of Fahrenheit
> available." Fahrenheit had originally been intended to create a suite of
> APIs for DirectX on Windows and IRIX and to incorporate OpenGL. As the two
> companies said at the time (December 1997): "Fahrenheit low-level API will
> become the primary graphics API for both consumer and professional
> applications on Windows. The Fahrenheit low-level API will evolve from
> Direct3D, DirectDraw and OpenGL, while providing full backward compatibility
> with applications and hardware device drivers written for Microsoft Direct3D
> and functional compatibility with Silicon Graphics' OpenGL technologies."
> This is quite clearly no longer true. OpenGL support was pulled from the
> Win2k beta some months back, prompting a series of problem reports from
> testers who found OpenGL apps were running slow and/or not working properly.
> The responses from Microsoft staff do not entirely make the actual position
> clear. One suggests that drivers for a particularly graphics card were
> pulled because of source code issues, while another says that "we are not
> supporting OGL until Direct3D is 100 per cent." Which of course suggests
> that Microsoft support for OpenGL would crack on ahead once Win2k went gold.

OpenGL card makers were some of the first to release their drivers
open-source to Linux coders. This infuriated M$. Most probably they simply
dropped all support for any hardware which didn't require the use of M$

SGI may (or may not) be moving to some degree into more-aggressively
courting the Linux/Open-Source communities. There is a "not exactly a
rumor" going around that SGI may in fact be tentatively embracing MESA as
a fact of life and adapting their strategies accordingly.

> A later response clarifies matters further: "No driver that ships with Win2k
> will contain OGL support... vendors will have to supply their own post
> ship." All of this however fails to make clear the extent of Microsoft's
> abandonment of OpenGL and the Fahrenheit project with SGI. But in an email
> sent two weeks ago, Microsoft's Philip Taylor (senior in MS Direct3D) states
> the position succinctly:
> "Do not let your personal preference for the Quake family of games dominate
> your understanding of this market. OGL is not strategic for us... as the
> last three years of history in the multimedia space have shown... SoftImage
> has about 20,000 seats total. And I just about had them convinced to do a
> port to D3D before we sold them. Outside of the Quake family of games there
> are, maybe, two hands-full of apps that use OGL. Somewhere between 5-10 per
> cent. D3D has overwhelming support in terms of titles, yet we have a serious
> lack of drivers. D3D drivers are strategic for us."

I interpret this to mean that M$ has some sort of agreement with card
manufacturers which would prevent those manufacturers from ever releasing
their driver specs to the Linux/Open-source community. I predict
yet-another round of anti-trust activity in Federal courts.

> And Fahrenheit seems to have been a crock, as Taylor tacitly admits: "Two
> years ago we had a working OGL wrapper on top of D3D. we missed a window of
> opportunity to provide this to the IHV community so they would concentrate
> on D3D drivers. Six months ago we missed an opportunity to make something
> out of the mess that is called Fahrenheit and turn Fahrenheit low-level into
> a driver layer to host both the D3D and the OGL runtime on... If we could
> come up with a plan to remove this bottleneck and get to one graphics driver
> that would be a huge win."
> Anyone interested in pursuing the dream of OpenGL as a standard on Windows
> would do well to compare that last paragraph with SGI's sign-off on
> Fahrenheit: "Any questions concerning the current status of, or future plans
> for Fahrenheit should be directed to Microsoft."
> Fahrenheit clearly does not have much of a home at Microsoft. As Taylor puts
> it, the company is concentrating on "one graphics driver" (the previous
> policy had envisaged Direct3D for games, with the addition of OpenGL for
> high-end systems), and rather than pushing OpenGL as a standard, Microsoft
> will just let the graphics vendors produce drivers independently.

Imparting extra costs onto anyone who goes with a Linux-friendly product.

> This is a spectacular turnaround from the initial Fahrenheit announcement,
> and quite a reversal from SGI's position of a year ago, when it trumpeted
> Fahrenheit's importance alongside the announcement of its NT-based Visual
> Workstations.

which nobody wants because of the bug-riddled piece of filth OS.

> But the Microsoft alliance has clearly not been to the
> company's advantage, and in announcing its ending of support for IRIX
> Fahrenheit and a 'reduction' (you can't get much more reduced than saying
> don't hassle us, call Microsoft instead) in its overall involvement in the
> project, SGI indicated that the rift between the two companies may have been
> Linux-related.


> Said SGI: "The future key OS platforms for SGI will be IRIX and Linux and to
> a lesser extent, [our italics] Windows... While it makes sense to have
> Fahrenheit on all of SGI's strategic operating systems, it makes little
> sense to have Fahrenheit on only IRIX and Windows. After much deliberation,
> it was jointly decided that Fahrenheit could best continue as a Windows
> OS-only product; thus Microsoft will continue the Fahrenheit development
> process."
> The other obvious alternative would of course have been for Microsoft to
> co-operate in a Fahrenheit implementation for Linux, so the end result is
> hardly surprising.

Now there's an astute reporter...

> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Be kind to your neighbors, even though they be transgenic chimerae.
Whom thou'st vex'd waxeth wroth: Meow.

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