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OpenGL Is Broken According To Another Developer

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The more Linux gains popularity thanks to Valve & Steam the more we are seeing developers claim OpenGL is broken/hard to use and so on. This time it's Joshua Barczak the lead graphics engineer for Firaxis Games (think Civilization!). He was also a Senior Software Engineer at AMD before joining Firaxis, so he has a good history in this.

These are his thoughts though and not that of Firaxis itself as this is his personal blog.

It's hard to knock these claims when they are starting to come from so top developers who work on AAA titles and I hope the Khronos Group is listening to all this feedback on changes they need to do for the future of OpenGL. Joshua lays out his claims in quite easy to use language and it's actually quite easy to agree with him.

I won't go on quoting parts of his blog post as it's quite long and let's face it 99% of us won't understand a lot of it.

His points are:
#1 - OpenGL is highly fragmented across platforms. “Write-once run anywhere” is a myth. Mobile GL, Linux GL, Windows GL, and Mac GL, are all different from one another.
#2 - OpenGL driver quality is highly variable, and lags abysmally behind DirectX.
#3 - The real problem is that OpenGL, as designed, is inferior to its competitors in several very important ways - GLSL is broken, threading is broken and more.

He does end it on a high note thinking it can be fixed and stating it does actually have some good qualities, so it's not all doom and gloom. I don't think we can relax though considering we only have OpenGL on Linux for major games it's not like developers can just switch to DirectX like they can on Windows.

OpenGL has never had this kind of traction on the desktop before as Linux (& Mac) have never both been as popular as they are now. Every time this comes up people say things like "they need to stop doing it the DirectX way", but can so many developers be wrong? I don't think so.

A better OpenGL API is something that will benefit everyone, but if developers wish to support Linux for now it is there only option, so I hope when they find good ways to do things in OpenGL that they share them in blog posts like they do with their complaints.

One thing I disagree with is his last point saying Mantle is an answer, it's not since AMD have currently no plans to support Linux and it's not looking like they will change their mind either.

Maybe it really is time for a whole new API? What do you guys think?

Full blog post on it is found here.

Also it seems Timothy Lottes disagreed on his blog post in reply to this. Article taken from
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sgtGarcia 31 May, 2014
Thimothy Lottes responds:
Timothy Lottes blogspot

We have to remember that OpenGL for many years was treated like 3rd world citizen.
Liam Dawe 31 May, 2014
Quoting: sgtGarciaThimothy Lottes responds:
Your text to link here...
Who is that guy exactly? I've seen someone link to him before, but no idea who he is.
sgtGarcia 31 May, 2014
Quoting: liamdaweWho is that guy exactly? I've seen someone link to him before, but no idea who he is.

He worked at Nvidia for some time if I remember correctly.


He worked @ Nvidia but now He is working @ Epic Games
Guest 31 May, 2014
I see a LOT of complaining and little done in order to fix what's broken. These guys work (or used to work) for companies directly involved in Khronos. All it takes is for those companies to show interest and steer OpenGL where it needs to be headed instead of taking the lazy way of waiting on Microsoft and others to implement X technology.

@liam dude, serisouly? Google him and find out who he is... (hint: works for Epic)
Liam Dawe 31 May, 2014
Quoting: Silviu@liam dude, serisouly? Google him and find out who he is... (hint: works for Epic)

Seriously what? There's multiple Timothy Lottes who come up in google and the blog doesn't state exactly who he is.

Don't make stupid "google him" comments.
Anonymous 31 May, 2014
Quoting: liamdawe
Quoting: sgtGarciaThimothy Lottes responds:
Your text to link here...
Who is that guy exactly? I've seen someone link to him before, but no idea who he is.

Seems like he work at Epic Games :

And Epic Games are an important member of the Khronos Group (as important as NVIDIA and AMD).
Toni 31 May, 2014
I think after reading it a bit that this guy probably knows a lot about DX but less about advanced OGL.
Timothy Lottes has already corrected some of his points:
Liam Dawe 31 May, 2014
Have noted that reply in the article!
Salamanderrake 31 May, 2014
If fraxis would have gotten some one from nvidia then they wouldn't have too many issues with opengl. As it stands anyone from AMD regarding OpenGL is no expert with it and AMD/ATI's track record on the horrid OpenGL drivers is proof of that. And the fact that he is promoting mantle proves that his opinion is biased towards AMD. How can anyone believe that AMD can handle their own API when they have so many issues with one that has been around for years. This is nothing but AMD's way to try and push mantle onto people and developers. Mantle is broke by design because its developed by AMD. The best thing that AMD can do is break off the graphics card division and make processors again.
BabaoWhisky 31 May, 2014
OpenGL is broken and different on earch platform ??
It will be difficult to have AAA games on Linux...
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