Khronos Enriches Cross-platform 3D Graphics with Release of OpenGL 4.2 Specification
August 12, 2011

Khronos Enriches Cross-platform 3D Graphics with Release of OpenGL 4.2 Specification

Vancouver, B.C. - The Khronos Group has released the OpenGL 4.2 specification, bringing updated graphics functionality to the company's cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface).

OpenGL 4.2 integrates developer feedback and continues the rapid evolution of this royalty-free specification while maintaining full backwards compatibility-- enabling applications to incrementally use new features, while portably accessing state-of-the-art graphics processing unit (GPU) functionality across diverse operating systems and platforms.

The OpenGL 4.2 specification has been defined by the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) working group at Khronos, and includes the GLSL 4.20 update to the OpenGL Shading Language. The OpenGL 4.2 specification contains new features that extend functionality available to developers and enables increased application performance. The full specification is available for immediate download at

New functionality in the OpenGL 4.2 specification includes:

  • enabling shaders with atomic counters and load/store/atomic read-modify-write operations to a single level of a texture. These capabilities can be combined, for example, to maintain a counter at each pixel in a buffer object for single-rendering-pass order-independent transparency;
  • capturing GPU-tessellated geometry and drawing multiple instances of the result of a transform feedback to enable complex objects to be efficiently repositioned and replicated;
  • modifying an arbitrary subset of a compressed texture, without having to re-download the whole texture to the GPU for significant performance improvements;
  • packing multiple 8- and 16-bit values into a single 32-bit value for efficient shader processing with significantly reduced memory storage and bandwidth, especially useful when transferring data between shader stages.

Visit Khronos at booth #663 to see Khronos members display Khronos Group-developed technology in action.