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3Dlabs First to Ship OpenGL Shading Language Compiler

3Dlabs Inc., Ltd., a leader in professional visual processing, has released new drivers for its Wildcat VP family of professional graphics accelerators with a preliminary implementation of the new OpenGL Shading Language. 3Dlabs is the first company to ship an implementation that utilizes this high-level shading language, which was recently ratified by the OpenGL Architecture Review Board as official extensions to OpenGL, and is expected to form the foundation of the upcoming OpenGL 2.0 standard. To encourage rapid multi-vendor adoption of the OpenGL Shading Language, 3Dlabs has released the front-end of the compiler used in its new drivers as open source, under licensing terms that enable royalty-free, commercial and non-commercial use.

The OpenGL Shading Language will enable new generations of programmable graphics devices, increasingly called Visual Processor Units, or VPUs, to be flexibly programmed for any task and not limited to just 3D graphics. This is achieved by providing high-level, hardware-independent programmability for VPUs in a familiar C-like syntax with expressive power to code an almost unlimited variety of graphics, imaging and vector algorithms, which can be directly compiled to VPU machine code. The new Wildcat VP drivers implement a subset of the OpenGL Shading Language that enables programmers to take full advantage of this first-generation programmable hardware.

The OpenGL Shading Language performs the front-end compilation processing steps for the new language, including lexical analysis and parsing, to produce an intermediate representation of shading programs suitable for further processing by any back-end code generator. In addition, the 3Dlabs source code has been used to debug and refine the OpenGL Shading Language specification.

By releasing our OpenGL Shading Language compiler as open source we are encouraging multi-vendor support of this open, non-proprietary standard," says Neil Trevett, svp of market development. "We believe this is essential for genuinely building the industry infrastructure for the exciting new world of programmable graphics, by providing ISVs with consistent programmability across all hardware platforms."

The 3Dlabs compiler source and the licensing terms can be downloaded from www.3dlabs.com/support/developer/ogl2/specs/. The new drivers for Wildcat VP can be downloaded at www.3dlabs.com/support/developer/ogl2/. General information about OpenGL 2.0 and the 3Dlabs Wildcat VP product family can be found at www.3dlabs.com.

3Dlabs, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Technology in Milpitas, California, supplies a broad range of graphics accelerators to Computer Aided Design (CAD), Digital Content Creation (DCC) and visual simulation professionals. Its award-winning Wildcat graphics solutions are available in industry-leading OEM workstations, in the channel through an international distributor/reseller network and directly to end-users at 3Dlabs' online store.