From late 2005 to early 2006, Apple's Motion alone
took up to 25 percent of the attention my group spent on
support, because Motion was at the limit of what OpenGL
do. On the leading edge of OpenGL's future are things
like float render paths, 128-bit wide pixel
support, and more. Well, Apple wanted to use those newly
added features with Motion. Apple's Pro
apps are very cutting
edge in this regard. They are demanding of the hardware
and are quick to adopt new OpenGL extensions.
of the effects of this is that Apple's Pro apps tend
the brush" of bugs in a given area of the drivers
since they're the first ones to use a new feature. When
third party developers start
using the feature, they can be more confident that it has
thoroughly tested and actually work.
driving OpenGL through its Pro apps was a big change
Historically we have paid more attention to games on the
Mac. Now that Apple has some market leading Pro apps (Final
Cut Pro, Motion) and they are pushing the envelope so much
suddenly ATI is spending a lot more time serving these Apple
pro apps. This is a major sea change for ATI (AMD).
So what you are saying is that ATI's historical role with Mac
game technology has fueled OpenGL development hand and
glove alongside traditional pro apps like CAD and 3D.
Now Apple is pushing the very bleeding edge of OpenGL
with their own Pro apps and ATI (AMD) is having to change
Yes. Apple's entire user experience depends on hardware
accelerated OpenGL. OpenGL is the industry standard in
CAD and 3D professional apps because it's open, supports
all the platforms, and is even huge in gaming. To compete
for Apple's business, we have to make our drivers as
robust, fast and feature rich as possible.
OpenGL in the OS and in their Pro apps raises the bar
for us, and is what makes AMD's Mac drivers as high
quality as they are, which in turn benefits all the developers
[PC and Mac] who use OpenGL.
It sounds like Apple is good for OpenGL. But it makes
sense. They need it. Where is OpenGL big in gaming, other
than the Mac? The Mac gaming market is not that big compared
to the PC and the consoles rule everything anyway.
OpenGL ES is very important in the handheld world. It's everywhere.
What is the impact on the OpenGL Architectural Review
Board (ARB)? Where's Microsoft's role in this and OpenGL?
Microsoft resigned from the ARB. They have their proprietary
Windows-only OpenGL competitor technology called DirectX.
DirectX 10 is a key technology in Windows Vista which--in
some ways--will do things that Mac OS X has been doing
already for a couple of years.
Does DirectX 10 have a big influence on OpenGL?
Indirectly. DX10 has a big influence today on hardware
and companies like AMD and Nvidia and Intel have to provide
the hardware support for both OpenGL and DX10. Microsoft
still has to support OpenGL because Windows Pro apps
rely on it. It's their cross-platform graphics technology.
You said Apple's pro apps are pushing the edge of OpenGL
development. But they are mostly video apps. How do video apps
differ than say CAD or 3D?
Sure. Video apps like Motion are typically pixel-bound.
They really care about the pixel shaders and the technology
behind that. Pro apps like CAD and modeling apps are
typically vertex-bound. That is they care more about
geometry processing. Both types of apps stress
the drivers in different ways, and Apple is always pushing
us to be fast, robust and feature rich in both vertex
and pixel processing.
Chris this has been an incredibly informative afternoon at
ATI (AMD). It was really a pleasure.
Thank you. I look forward to the article.
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