The OpenGL® API began as an initiative by SGI to create a single, vendor-independent API for the development of 2D and 3D graphics applications. Prior to the introduction of OpenGL, many hardware vendors had different graphics libraries. This situation made it expensive for software developers to support versions of their applications on multiple hardware platforms, and it made porting of applications from one hardware platform to another very time-consuming and difficult. SGI saw the lack of a standard graphics API as an inhibitor to the growth of the 3D marketplace and decided to lead an industry group in creating such a standard.
The result of this work was the OpenGL API, which was largely based on earlier work on the SGI® IRIS GLTM library. The OpenGL API began as a specification, then SGI produced a sample implementation that hardware vendors could use to develop OpenGL drivers for their hardware. The sample implementation has been released under an open source license (see http://oss.sgi.com).
Modifications to the OpenGL API are made through the OpenGL Architecture Review Board, an industry group that contains founding, permanent, and auxiliary members. The current version of the OpenGL API is 1.3.
Software developers do not need to license OpenGL to use it in their applications. They can simply link to a library provided by a hardware vendor. Hardware vendors do need to have a license to create an OpenGL implementation for their hardware. Details on licensing are available from the Technical Info page.
Microsoft claims rights to Opengl - 10:15 pm EST - raptora12
In a rather odd move by Microsoft, the company has stated that it owns the rights to the popular 3D API known as OpenGL. OpenGL remains as a very popular API for many modern games, including the new Doom III.
"Microsoft clarified its claims somewhat at this month's quarterly ARB meeting, according to the meeting's minutes, but its proposals still appear likely to throw a wrench in the works of OpenGL, according to legal experts. At the July meeting, Microsoft also added that it may have claims to a technology called fragment shading."
Microsoft is just being a bully. By taking OpenGL, they will own all the 3D APIs.
Another thing is we all know that M$ hates linux. By taking OpenGL, they would have taken the only 3D API that supports linux. If that happens, it will no longer be called OpenGL since it won't be cross platform.
I hate to think that developers could be forced to exclusively use an inferior and inefficient API. I read once that Microsoft's API introduces more neat-O retina-popping visual stuff at a more rapid pace than OpenGL development, but when similar games run at half the speed, what have you really gained?