Sun Microsystems to Develop Java Bindings for OpenGL

Sun Microsystems, Inc. has announced an agreement with OpenGL to develop Java bindings for the OpenGL application-programming interface (API). The development of these bindings will involve submissions to the Java Community Process (JCP) and the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB). The JCP is an open organization of international developers and licensees whose charter is to develop and revise Java technology specifications, reference implementations and technology compatibility kits. The ARB is an industry-wide organization that governs the evolution and ongoing development of OpenGL, a technology originally created by SGI, as an open, platform-independent standard for professional-quality 3D graphics.

Working with Sun to enable OpenGL graphics application developers to use Java creates an excellent opportunity for both developers and consumers, said Shawn Underwood, director of marketing, Visual Computing Systems, SGI. We will have two cross-platform standards operating together: Java and OpenGL. This effort will enable tens of thousands of developers, who write graphics applications, to gain the many benefits of the Java technology.

Java and OpenGL together will make a powerful win-win combination for graphics developers everywhere, said John Fowler, cto, Software, Sun Microsystems, Inc. The power of OpenGL and the wide deployment of Java means graphics developers will now bring together the best of two worlds: Java and graphics.

Khronos strongly applauds the cooperation between Sun and SGI as we can leverage this work to enable the OpenGL ES API to be driven from small footprint Java applications - creating a unique opportunity for the embedded graphics market, said Neil Trevett, svp of market development at 3Dlabs, secretary of the Khronos Group and chairman of the OpenGL ES Working Group. The coming together of Java and OpenGL ES will enable advanced 3D graphics on a huge variety of embedded platforms.

With a vendor-neutral, multi-platform graphics standard based on OpenGL ES and Java, mobile phones, PDAs and other mobile devices will be transformed by the addition of 3D graphics. Later this fall, mobile terminals, as some manufacturers are beginning to refer to them, will be featuring name-brand, quite complex 3D games. The possibilities of these mobile terminals will be virtually unlimited, ranging from top-selling interactive games, to video clips synchronized with text, to 3D global positioning systems (GPS) and 3D representations of buildings and terrains.

This announcement comes on the heals of the release of OpenGL 1.5, which now includes Vertex Buffer Object: vertex arrays for higher performance rendering; Shadow Function: additional comparison functions for shadow mapping; Occlusion Query: asynchronous occlusion test for better culling; Non-power-of-two Textures: for more efficient use of texture memory, including mipmaps; and OpenGL Shading Language v1.0: shader objects, vertex shaders and fragment shaders, all for use of programmable shader hardware.

The OpenGL graphics system specification allows developers to incorporate a wide range of rendering, texture mapping, special effects and other visualization functions and provides a graphics pipeline that allows unfettered access to graphics hardware acceleration. Since its introduction by SGI in 1992, OpenGL has become the industrys most widely used and supported 3D and 2D graphics API. OpenGL is available on all other major computer platforms, including IRIX, Solaris OE, HP-UX, AIX, Windows NT, Windows 98 and Mac OS X.

Founded in 1982, Sun Microsystems, Inc. is a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that power the Internet. For more information visit

SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc., is a world leader in high-performance computing, visualization and networked data storage for scientific, engineering and creative users. For more information about SGI products, services and solutions, users can call (800) 800-7441 or visit

Rick DeMott's picture

Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
Director of Content
Creator of Rick's Flicks Picks