WebGL: Interwebs 3D tech emerges from puberty
Google. Mozilla. Opera. Apple.
WebGL – the emerging standard that provides hardware-accelerated 3D inside the browser – has reached the 1.0 milestone.
WebGL is currently supported by the stable version of Google's Chrome browser, Mozilla's Firefox 4 beta, a preview version of Opera, and the nightly builds of WebKit, the basis for Apple's Safari browser. You also find it in Mozilla's Firefox 4 mobile beta for Android and the still-gestating Chrome OS, Google's browser-based operating system for netbooks.
It is not supported by the latest version of Microsoft's browser, Internet Explorer 9. Microsoft does hardware acceleration through DirectX on Windows Vista and Windows 7 machines. But Google provides WebGL support inside Internet Explorer via its Chrome Frame plugin, a piece of software that turns a Microsoft browser into a Google browser.
In addition to desktops and notebooks, OpenGL is supported by smartphones – including the iPhone and various Android phones – game consoles, media players, and other embedded devices.
Update: This story has been updated to clarify the situation with OpenGL and Windows machines. Windows machines generally ship with OpenGL hardware, but not OpenGL drivers.
Ah, downvoted for being politically incorrect?
As opposed to, you know, wrong?
Not leaving your name, coward?
OpenGL not rare on Windoze
As far as I can tell OpenGL support is widespread on Windows, certainly every NVidia and ATI/AMD driver has it built it and even Intel's woeful chipsets do a passable imitation. It's been many years since we had to install separate OpenGL over the base graphics drivers. ID saw to that by building so many essential games on OpenGL.
Despite Microsoft's sometimes desperate attempts to kill it, OpenGL 1 & 2 is near universally available. Even if under the hood they sometimes had to layer it over DirectX to sidestep Microsoft ;)
Windows machines rarely ship with OpenGL ... eh ?
All windows desktop OSes (XP and above) do ship with OpenGL - all-be-it using a software renderer (GDI generic implementation) until a proper graphics driver is installed. Windows server OS don't ; but they're not exactly the norm for web surfers.
If you mean rarely ship with a full OpenGL 2.0 implementation then you may be correct (as the generic software renderer is only 1.1 compliant). Even then though the basic OpenGL calls should work, just not post 1.1 extensions (which should degrade gracefully if coded correctly).
If the PC ships with proprietary drivers (which many do) then it will most likely have full hardware accellerated OpenGL (upto 3.x) ready to go out of the box...