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SGI frees OpenGL brand to Linux coders

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SGI has opened its OpenGL brand to the Linux world through a new licensing programme aimed at open source software developers.

OpenGL has always been available to third parties - at a price. Paying the fees allowed developers to declare their code's full OpenGL compatibility and to use the OpenGL logo on their products.

That's no real issue for commercial software developers - it's just one more expense among many - but for open source and free software coders it proved too much of a barrier. For example, the various open source attempts to provide OpenGL-compatible graphics APIs were prevented from getting their compatibility validated by SGI.

Now they can. The new licensing terms apply to open source platforms, so proprietary software developers will presumably still have to cough up the fees. Loss-making SGI relies on the money it brings in too much to do that yet.

The move "underscores the bright future we see for premier 3D applications in the Linux marketplace", said SGI CTO Kurt Akeley. Indeed, the move should encourage open source 3D software developers to seek and attain OpenGL accreditation.

OpenGL itself remains a closed source product, though SGI did release sample code sample for the graphics API under an open source licence back in January this year. ®

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