OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) is a standard specification defining a cross-language cross-platform API for writing applications that produce 2D and 3D computer graphics. The interface consists of over 250 different function calls which can be used to draw complex three-dimensional scenes from simple primitives. OpenGL was developed by Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) in 1992 and is widely used in CAD, virtual reality, scientific visualization, information visualization, and flight simulation. It is also used in video games. Now OpenGL is released as free software. From the press release:
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As software developers the world over prepare to mark the 25th anniversary of the GNU System, Silicon Graphics, Inc. today announced it is releasing a new version of the SGI Free Software License B. The license, which now mirrors the free X11 license used by X.Org, further opens previously released SGI® graphics software that has set the industry standard for visualization software and has proven essential to GNU/Linux® and a host of applications.
Today's announcement affects software created by SGI that forms the building blocks of many elements of today's gaming, visual computing, and immersive experiential technologies, including a wide range of proven visualization solutions provided by SGI.
Previous SGI contributions to the free and open source community are now available under the new license. These contributions include the SGI® OpenGL® Sample Implementation, the GLX™ API and other GLX extensions. GLX provides the glue connecting OpenGL and the X Window System™ and is required by any OpenGL implementation using X. GLX is vital to a range of free and commercial software, including all major Linux distributions.
SGI first released the software under a licensing model in 1999. But now SGI is pleased to release an updated version of the license that meets the free and open source software community's widely accepted definition of "free."