Time to obsolete the opengl package ?

André Bleau andre_bleau@hotmail.com
Fri May 4 14:59:00 GMT 2012

Hi fellow maintainers,


With the recent update of parrot, the only package depending on my old opengl package went away. I think it might be time to retire it, i.e., mark it as "obsolete". There may be some issues doing this, so I wanted to discuss it here first.


The opengl package has been a mixed bag of things related to native opengl, that is, the implementation provided with Windows by M$, upon which hardware-accelerated implementations, made by graphic card manufacturers, graft when available. The package contains, or has contained up to some point:


- Header files (.h) for M$ opengl and glu. Long ago (circa 2000), the w32api provided the linking libraries (.a) for these, but not the .h files. That anomaly was corrected a few years later and the ownership of the header files has been transferred to the w32api package.


- The native GLUT library, which aims at gluing opengl programs with the windows system, i.e., provide a graphic context and access to devices such as keyboard and mouse. This library is based on Nate Robin's native GLUT, which interfaces directly with Windows, without an X server intermediary. At the time, it was the only way for a cygwin program to obtain a hardware-accelerated graphic context. Later, an X server version providing a software only implementation of opengl graphic contexts appeared. For years, these have run in parallel worlds: an X-compatible but slow version and a fast but X-incompatible one. Then the X server catched-up and started to provide access to hardware-accelerated opengl contexts too. The version of GLUT provided to work with the X-server is based on FreeGLUT, a librairy that aims at original GLUT compatibility. Nate Robin's GLUT has been unmaintained for years, while FreeGLUT is alive and kicking. Although FreeGLUT tries to be GLUT compatible, the look and feel is noticeably different, specially the fonts and the menu system. So updating GLUT-based programs to FreeGLUT ones would significantly change their user's experience, as Corinna noticed for the parrot package in http://cygwin.com/ml/cygwin-apps/2012-04/msg00044.html .


- The native GLUI library, a provider of nice-looking GUI widgets based on GLUT. Unfortunately, it has been unmaintained for years too. To get an idea of what it is providing, you may run one of the example programs provided by the opengl package, such as /usr/lib/glui-examples/example6.exe .


So, if no maintainer voice any objection on the cygwin-apps list in the coming days, I will send a similar message to main list and we will see from there.




- André Bleau, volunteer opengl package maintainer


Please reply to the list, not to me directly.


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