back to article Can't touch this! Microsoft joins OpenGL 3D graphics group

Microsoft has quietly joined an industry party building 3D interactive graphics boosted by graphics chips, after 14 years spent in opposition. The software giant has left jaws swinging with a decision to join the Khronos Group and knuckle down immediately as member of the WebGL working group. There was no official …

  1. Alan Denman

    WebGL is coming to Safari in IOS 8

    ... well sort of.

    It is restricted so in theory only a subset of Open GL web sites will work.

    I'm assuming that covers Nokia Here whi might just reinstate their web app ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WebGL is coming to Safari in IOS 8

      DirectX is going to be the best platform for getting the best out of high end gaming hardware at least for now - and the gap will likely grow with DX12, but supporting Open GL is good cross platform compatiblity and a sensible move by Microsoft.

      http://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2014/03/20/directx-12/

      1. ThomH

        Re: WebGL is coming to Safari in IOS 8 (@AC)

        That article doesn't mention OpenGL even once — your conclusion is akin to citing an article that states that ebola is quite deadly as evidence that it is more deadly than the bubonic plague — and the 0.2% of people that care about "high end gaming hardware" are unlikely to play games in their browser.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WebGL is coming to Safari in IOS 8 (@AC)

          "That article doesn't mention OpenGL even once"

          Erm but it does:

          "Can't touch this! Microsoft joins OpenGL 3D graphics group"

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: WebGL is coming to Safari in IOS 8

        WebGL use-cases are hardly those wanting to push the performance envelope.

        Its all about platform independence, which is hardly MS' favourite thing. Without WebGL, all the non-MS tech looks better.

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: WebGL is coming to Safari in IOS 8

          "WebGL use-cases are hardly those wanting to push the performance envelope."

          WebGL has the potential to be really fast. It's basically OpenGL ES 2 bindings for Javascript. OpenGL ES 2.0 executes a lot of the rendering pipeline in the GPU compared to older versions of OpenGL.

          The biggest danger with it is that some graphics cards have pretty awful OpenGL ES 2.x profiles on desktops and WebGL requires the GPU to declare itself "safe" through an extension.

          If that sounds a bit iffy then that's because it is. How does a driver know it's safe or not? It might *think* it's safe (just as many ActiveX controls though they were safe for scripting) but only takes one duff method implementation for a malicious site to smash through WebGL and do something nasty like execute native code.

          At the very least browsers will have to maintain a white/black list and had better hope that when exploits appear (and they will) that they're marginal enough to not impact too many people.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WebGL is coming to Safari in IOS 8

        That's a crock. OpenGL is far easier to get high performance code paths.

        DirectX has been going through revisions like hotcakes, each one offering very little. It's laughable how many fanboys still believe the Xbox One will be transformed from it's last-gen performance, because it's getting DX12 someday...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WebGL is coming to Safari in IOS 8

          "That's a crock. OpenGL is far easier to get high performance code paths."

          Pretty much every test to date available on both Open GL and Direct-X is faster on Direct X.

  2. Ol' Grumpy
    Thumb Up

    Better late than never!

    1. John Sanders
      Flame

      Exactly

      It is never late for Microsoft to screw with yet another open standard, and bury it in the sand.

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Bad News

    So how are they planning to kill this off? Have they managed to devise a new version of the three 'E's?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Bad News

      No their new OpenGL standard is completely open, it just happens to fire up a copy of Excel to do any calculations and the display uses XPS.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Bad News

      I agree, bad news. Microsoft does not use open standards, it subverts them.

      MS has been attacking Open Source since it was conceived. This gesture only means one thing : MS has come to the conclusion that its attacks have failed.

      So now it is Plan B : Destroy From The Inside. And this time, MS didn't even need to hijack a voting process.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        MTTID: "Maybe this time it's different"

        Microsoft growing out of the behaviour proper to an badly brought-up underage male left loose on a chatboard? We can only hope.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: MTTID: "Maybe this time it's different"

          A leopard never changes its spots. Remember the 'strategic partnership' with Nokia? Oh Microsoft the benevolent misunderstood tech giant, this time it would be different etc...

          Microsoft will trample on anything in order to ensure that its hegemony remains. This time, it will most likely use OpenGL as a vehicle to promote DirectX.

  4. Ralph B

    Embrace ...

    Embrace, Extend and Extinguish.

    Phase 1 complete.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Embrace ...

      They're playing catchup: now that even mobile browsers have WebGL support (see Samsung's demo). You can have snappy cross-platform games on all mobiles, except for … WindowsPhone.

      But the people working on IE >= 9 are a different bunch to those who worked on the earlier versions. The ones I've met know that they have to play nicely, even if they're sometimes restrained by corporate policy. In the browser field over the last couple of years Microsoft has contributed a hell of a lot more than Apple. They have virtually no footprint on mobiles and even desktop is in (near) terminal decline but they probably have enough corporate customers to make the improvements worth their while. That is if they want to keep those customers.

      1. John Sanders

        Re: Embrace ...

        """But the people working on IE >= 9 are a different bunch to those who worked on the earlier versions. The ones I've met know that they have to play nicely, even if they're sometimes restrained by corporate policy."""

        LET ME LAUGH AT YOUR NAIVETY YOUNG MAN!

        HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

      2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Embrace ...

        " That is if they want to keep those customers."

        Microsoft is the world's premium supplier of Contempt as a Service. They don't keep customers. Customers keep Microsoft. Or Else.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS have history with sabotaging OGL

    Let's remind ourselves what happened last time MS embraced OGL, the Fahrenheit project successfully prevented SGI continuing work on OGL and when enough damage was done the project was quickly cancelled unfinished. SGI however was very finished. Must have hurt when OGL survived.

    Yes, late to the party and desperate to catch up, it's just hard to believe they won't take advantage of a new opportunity to sabotage another open standard from the inside.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look how the mighty have fallen

    All parts of Microsoft that I work with have recently been "embracing" open standards, in a struggle to keep up with the real world. These very same standards that Microsoft once wouldn't even piss on, less than a decade ago - and their fans would laugh at. Who's laughing now, "micro" "soft"?

    Open standards will save Microsoft's arse, just like they do to everyone else. It doesn't matter who you are, and that's the beauty of it.

    But as usual they'll make their typically crappy implementation, then declare: "Look how shit it is, we told you so!"

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The taint of MS once more

    Yet another open project is going to be infected with MS crap.

    Operation Embrace has begun...

  8. Adair Silver badge

    Apologies to Bob Dylan

    'Something is happening, but you don't know what it is, do you, Microsoft?'

    In the corporate cycle MS has reached 'Maturity, heading into Senescence' stage. Too big, too bloated, too arrogant, too late.

  9. m4r35n357

    A Wish

    Let's hope they're not just joining to cause trouble and stall progress . . .

  10. poopypants

    Unity support for WebGL

    Of some relevance is the announcement that popular game engine maker Unity will be supporting WebGL as a target for 2D and 3D games developed using its IDE:

    http://blogs.unity3d.com/2014/04/29/on-the-future-of-web-publishing-in-unity/

    Here is an example of a game built in Unity and published to WebGL:

    http://beta.unity3d.com/jonas/DT2/

    (Don't forget to press escape at the start to dismiss modal message. Otherwise you'll die. Currently supported browsers for this content are Firefox and Chrome 35)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unity support for WebGL

      Unfortunately though, Unity is still hampered by its dependence on .Net/Mono/Microsoft filth.

      1. Spender

        Re: Unity support for WebGL

        I don't buy this argument. As Microsoft are observing parts of their business collapse in slow motion, they are looking at the increasing revenues of companies with apps on other platforms. They want a slice. The difference is a change in attitude to interoperability and an embrace of the widened opportunity provided through actual contribution to open source. They need the developer community to notice this change in attitude or they risk further decline as more and more people notice how far open source code and software has moved forward over the years. Without willing developers, MS is dead in the water. They need to re-win our trust.

        Given the announcement a few months ago of the open-sourcing of most of the .net stack, i think your argument here is... dated.

        http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-open-sources-more-of-its-net-technologies-7000028031/

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unity support for WebGL

        "Unfortunately though, Unity is still hampered by its dependence on .Net/Mono/Microsoft filth."

        At least it doesnt use Java - which is infinately worse.

        "As Microsoft are observing parts of their business collapse in slow motion"

        Very slow motion - most parts are growing in revenue! Others at worst static.

  11. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Eek.

    Before we know it... Microsoft will release Internet Explorer for Android...

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Eek.

      Worse still IE for Linux !!!

      Boris

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Eek.

        Or another release on MAC

        /me remembers IE something on MAC OS9 because for some reason the company I worked for used it, exists nearest window

        1. ThomH

          Re: Eek. (@Captain Scarlet)

          Internet Explorer was the default bundled browser with all Macs from 1998 until 2003 or so. It was branded as version 5 but by the time it jumped to OS X had diverged completely from the Windows branch and, at the time, was the most standards-compliant browser (no, really — look up the Tasman layout engine).

          I guess its development was tied to the patent cross-licensing deal; in any case Apple seemed to be aware that the agreement wouldn't last forever as Safari was conveniently ready in the wings.

          Speaking professionally, even as late as 2009 I'd get extremely lazy web developers trying to justify leaving their half-decade old IE6 code alone despite the company's significant move into iOS development (and, therefore, Mac deployment) because "there's an IE for Mac, right?"

          1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

            Re: Eek. (@Captain Scarlet)

            @ThomH "Internet Explorer was the default bundled browser with all Macs from 1998 until 2003 or so"

            Which explains why I can't remember their being another browser on the system.

            Learn something new everyday

            *Shudders* OS9 X_x

      2. Grifter

        Re: Eek.

        >> Worse still IE for Linux !!!

        Actually that existed for a brief period in time, it was an unfinished beta that never went anywhere.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Eek.

          Yes, Linux was too hard for their Windows developers.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eek.

        "Worse still IE for Linux !!!"

        Well at least it would undoubtedly have fewer security holes than Chrome!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eek.

      If Internet Explorer were such a killer app, Windows phones would be flying off shelves.

      1. Fungus Bob
        Windows

        Re: Eek.

        IE is the reason I decided *not* to get a WinPhone.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft on security.. Pot calling kettle black...

    "Until this weekend, Microsoft had abstained not just from Khronos but has not participated in the development of OpenGL too - expressing “security concerns” on the latter"

    LOL, hilarious...

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft on security.. Pot calling kettle black...

      To be fair, there are and have been a lot of genuine security concerns regarding OpenGL generally because of the programmability extensions and how these interact rather too directly with the hardware from the security point of view. 3D graphics programmability was never built with security in mind, doubtless because being a local task running on a local machine the system's security was in trouble anyway and adding security checks does slow things down a lot which is generally the exact opposite of 3D graphics programming aims.

  13. AceRimmer1980
    Windows

    Put OpenGL ES onto Windows Phone

    then I'll be interested.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Put OpenGL ES onto Windows Phone

      No.

      Why?

      1. AceRimmer1980

        Re: Put OpenGL ES onto Windows Phone

        For the same reason that other Microsoft products support cross-platform industry standards. Kind of like why IE is *so much better* now (CSS3/ACID3 etc) why Unreal Tournament runs better when using OpenGL drivers.

        If MS want more WinPho8 games, lack of OGLES is what is scaring developers away (Y'know, both Android and IOS has it)

        (OGLES, because, well, Paris)

  14. Zot

    Windows WebGL browsers use Angel project.

    ANGLE: Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine

    https://code.google.com/p/angleproject/

    But you can switch on native WebGL support.

    Chrome is the only browser so far to use the latest software from the ANGEL group to convert WebGL shader code into DX11.

    Firefox is still using DX9. IE - never use it, haven't used it for years. :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DirectX is a load of horsesh...

    Directx has always been poorly created, overly bloated, badly executed of a dog code, and shoved down NVidia, AMD, and game developer's throats along everybody else under the sun (gamers), all in a name of some market reserve that barely doesn't exist.

    It was, for a long while, an everlasting nightmare to keep all your graphic drivers updated, your games updated, and still most games were unstable enough to make you cringe in despair every time you had to hit alt-tab to leave a fullscreen execution, hoping to $deity you would be able to return to it. Some games demand on-line updating just to circumvent these problems, along with some video drivers.

    102% of the installed gaming hardware already supports OpenGL. Yes, even systems that were never meant for gaming already have OpenGL complete support and can play games with barely any alteration (as the Quadro line), but were never in the targeted audience of gaming. I don't even need to mention that serious game companies still launch their products with OpenGL complete support as well. Directx WON'T. BE. MISSED.

    I, as a gamer and geek, hope that DirectX is thorougly abandoned to the dustbin of history, and that M$ won't bork the open standards of OpenGL to her liking. DirectX is like Javascript for 3D, but worse, because you can't disable it, it has more holes than my barbeque grill, and you are stuck with an actual monopoly in Windows Gaming.

    Directx is headed to version 12. OpenGL barely left which version again? 2.0?

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: DirectX is a load of horsesh...

      The OpenGL page on wikipedia has 18 versions listed from 1.1 to 4.5. Only one of those was listed as a minor release. And that's obviously not including all the vendor specific extensions that have appeared throughout the ages in an effort to keep up with the pace at which technology is moving forward.

  16. Anonymous Coward
  17. John Sanders
    Mushroom

    MS is and will never be an open source company

    MS has never (even recently) made anything of relevance open source, in the definition of using the GPL2/3,BSD Licenses to publish it.

    Stop with the whitewash lies that MS is somehow a good citizen now which wants to contribute to the world's well being because they want to use open standards and they have published the source of little things no one cares or knows about.

    Because it is not, they are the same arrogant, anti-competitive, monopolistic twisted crooks they have been since they were founded. And have no doubt that they will kill anything, anything that they can.

    Just a recent example: Where you were people when they screwed Nokia??? Wasn't anybody paying attention on how does MS do business or what?

    Once MS releases the source code of any of their mayor products (Windows/IE/Office/Exchange/SQL you name it) and I'm talking buildable versions under true open licenses like LGPL/GPL/BSD they are not an open source company.

  18. DerekCurrie
    Thumb Up

    About Bloody Time You MS Dummies!

    "Microsoft has quietly joined an industry party building 3D interactive graphics boosted by graphics chips, after 14 years spent in opposition."

    It's a joy to know Microsoft's efforts to kill OpenGL have been a complete failure. Recantation!

  19. Matt Piechota

    "It's a joy to know Microsoft's efforts to kill OpenGL from the outside have been a complete failure. Recantation!"

    Fixed that for you.

  20. W. Anderson

    Another Trojan Horse effort by Microsoft

    Warm welcomes to Microsoft joining the OpenGL project, as reported by Khronos Group may well prove to be premature and grossly naive, as Microsoft is unlikely to participate honestly in OpenGL graphics development by contributing anything that is not to Microsoft code benefits "only" and to exclusion and detriment of all other development efforts in the project. It is even possible that they could secund the technology outright without any license, patent or contract adherence, since any litigation against them by the Group for illegal actions would take many years and hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees to settle, which no small organization like Khronos can afford.

    For 14 years Microsoft has been harshly antagonistic and vitriolic towards the OpenGL technology project and now they want to be equally participating (and non-contributing) pals! How simple minded and stupid can many in the technology industry be? Do they not remember Microsoft's antics with the Open Document Format Organization that they joined and almost immediately attempted to subvert and sabotage the project?

    Analogy: A rabies infected snake cannot become a cuddly bunny rabbit.

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