Jean-Francois Roy of Apple Tweets today:

Amazed I haven’t seen more reports about the new OpenGL extensions we shipped in 10.6.3. Nearly 100% of the GL 3 extensions are now in.

Jean-Francois describes himself thusly: “I work at Apple on OpenGL, and I am writing Riven X, MPQKit and other bits of Mac software.”

“Shipping” OpenGL support is slightly different on the Mac than on other platforms; generally speaking, those features are associated with the video driver on Windows, Linux, and the like, but on the Mac, the driver and API support in the OS are of course both shipped by Apple. But it’s worth taking a look at all the general awesomeness happening with OpenGL even for cross-platform purposes, and sure enough, on his personal blog Jean-Francois has a terrific write-up encapsulating what mattered in the OpenGL 3.2 and GLSL 1.5 specifications – all with real, serious graphical implications for visuals:

OpenGL 3.2 officially released [/dev/klog]

Now that we know where to look, there is a lovely chart explaining what OpenGL capabilities are available on each OS release – including 10.6.3.

Of course, the “surprise” that this stuff doesn’t get reported is a bit confusing. Generally speaking, Apple doesn’t allow the press to be privy to developer information, and even developers often must rely on scant documentation or changelogs. That’s in contrast to even Microsoft, who do as a rule share more detailed operating system change documentation, or, for instance, Adobe, who have allowed development teams to blog more openly, release information on unreleased technology, and provide developers with detailed documentation before tools fix. I’m not suggesting Apple needs to emulate either Microsoft or Adobe (that’s a mind-bending clash of cultures there). But if Apple does want more engagement from developers – particularly as the company attracts more independent developers and artists on the iPhone, iPad, and now more cheaply-priced Mac developer programs – they should expect that those developers will be eager for more information. And “press” is a rapidly-blurring term. It’d be a no brainer for us to go into some detail on these issues here on Create Digital Motion, something that tech bloggers at the Wall Street Journal or New York Times likely wouldn’t attempt. We have readers who, in turn, are often both developers and artist-users.

And there’s also the simple fact that most of the traditional Mac blog and press community aren’t savvy enough to follow developer issues.

In the meantime, though, there are things you can find yourself. Anton Marini (vade) happens across the “VideoDecodeAcceleration.framework,” a hardware-accelerated framework for video decoding, which could be good news for things like Flash video performance.

Anton also reports:

10.6.3 OpenCL/QC fixes means OpenCL mesh filters work much better – even on CPU software fallback. I can now use OpenCL on my old MBP. Nice!

And if you want to check those extensions, try out the OpenGL Extensions Viewer and you’ll see what’s supported. (In fact, it’d be helpful to put together a Rosetta Stone of tools and tips for people doing OpenGL development that you want to work across platforms.)

Follow these visualists’ Twitter feeds directly – sure, some Twitter uses tweet about what they’re having for lunch, but dedicated visualists share serious technical information. Thanks, Jean-Francois and vade!

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