updated 01:00 pm EDT, Mon July 26, 2010
OpenGL 4.1 adds hooks for OpenCL and OpenGL ES
The Khronos Group today published the first specification for OpenGL 4.1 in what's considered a coup for desktop graphics. The standard catches up to DirectX 11 in visual features and overtakes it in integration with other standards: it can now sync graphics with OpenCL to take advantage of video hardware's general-purpose math features. Mobile app developers also now have full compatibility with OpenGL ES 2.0, theoretically letting a developer write an app for the iPhone or Android without having to change the visual effects when porting to a computer.
Software writers also get the option of loading a program in to process shader objects sooner, binding programs to specific stages, 64-bit component vertex shaders, and multiple viewports for rendering to a single surface, such as a polygon. Fragment shaders support stencil values, and WebGL acceleration should work more effectively.
Developers should have access to both the OpenGL 4.1 spec and test NVIDIA drivers this week, but finished drivers for end users will come later. Support should eventually reach multiple platforms, though updates on the Mac will depend on Apple cooperating with graphics chipset designers.