ExtremeTech: The Vista driver, beginning with Catalyst 7.1, contains a “re-architected” OpenGL driver component. Exactly what is “re-architected” about it?
Rogers: Everything. This is a completely new driver, written from scratch in the last three years. The new OpenGL driver does re-use the same shader compiler as the previous driver. We actually use the same shader compiler in all our drivers: Direct3D, OpenGL and CTM. It is a policy, or at least a tradition, in our software group to write a new driver for each component about every 5-7 years.
ExtremeTech: Why make the switch in the Vista driver, and not the XP one? Can XP users expect to get this new re-architected driver in the future?
Rogers: The new OpenGL driver has been designed from the ground up for Windows Vista, Windows XP and Linux and internally we are running and testing it on all three (or six if you count the 64 bit versions). As we planned the transition to the new OpenGL driver, it did not make sense to port the previous OpenGL driver to Vista. So as Vista approached, it naturally became the launch vehicle for the new driver and its highest priority. The XP and Linux versions of this new OpenGL driver will ship later this year.
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