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Jan 31, 2007


Henrik Vallgren

Microsoft has made an attempt to scare software developers away from OpenGL in order to promote their own DirectX (make those apps windows dependant). They claimed that OpenGL wouldn't work with Aeroglass. In the end, they stepped down but perhaps this is what we got?

It could be that drivers are yet to be optimized or worse that this is a structural problem within Vista.

Michael M. Campbell


I think it's important to point out that the testing done on Pro/ENGINEER was done with a release of Pro/E that is not yet certified to run on Vista! I'm not suprised the performance is poor - that release has not been optimized to run on Vista. Later this quarter, PTC will release a maintenance release of Pro/E that IS certified on Vista, and we're expecting no performance degradation, with respect to Windows XP.

~ Mike

Henrik Vallgren


May I ask if this includes a port to DirectX?

Tony in SV

Come on, this is completely unacceptable.

I've never seen software slow down like that going from 95->98->NT->W2K->XP. I've never heard of it going from Linux 2.2 to 2.4 to 2.6.

If it's a driver issue, then it has to do with MS and the hardware vendor. But, it's still unacceptable.



The problem appears to be that CAD systems rely on OpenGL, while Vista has chucked OpenGL in favor of Microsoft's homebrew DirectX.

Speaking with the HOOPS people a year ago (TSA), they were worried about what Microsoft was doing to screw the performance of CAD programs. TSA was hoping to to be able to rewrite OpenGL to work satisfactorily through DirectX.

Tony in SV

OK, if it's a no OpenGL issue, then it's yet another example of why MS is hated - because they have no qualms screwing users to advance their agenda - and screwing their partners (UGS, PTC, Solidworks, etc) in the process.

I wonder what Nvidia and AMD/ATI think about this - if everything is running on DirectX, what's the point of spending extra on an expensive OpenGL Quadro board?


Bil Fane

I'm so old that I can remember when I could go from a cold boot to the AutoCAD command prompt in under 30 seconds. It now takes me 3 1/3 minutes!

Not only that, when you were finished you just turned it off. We didn't have to wait 2 or 3 minutes for Windows to shut down.

The fastest AutoCAD of all time was probably R11 running under DOS. Even though computers have gotten MUCH faster CPU's, everything seems to get slower and slower with each release of Windows. I suspect too much CPU time is being sucked up by the cute graphics, but an even larger issue seems to be that later releases make much more use of the hard drive.

Drive speed has not improved anywhere near as much as CPU speed due mainly to certain laws of physisc involving moving mechanisms. If we can't have a good operating system then we need low-cost, high-speed electronic storage rather then mechanical drives.

Ragnar Thor Mikkelsen

What about CAD programs using DirectX?
Will they be faster with Direct X 10?


Anthony Frausto-Robledo

Henrik's comments are interesting. There is absolutely no reason why OpenGL should not work with MS's Aeroglass interface. The suggestion here is that OpenGL is some-how incapable of handling sophisticated Aeroglass interface with its alpha-level transparency capabilities. Hogwash! IT is total lies by Microsoft and misinformation.

Read my recent interview of AMD/ATi Mac 3D Manager Chris Bentley which discusses a bit of history about Apple's use of OpenGL for the Aqua interface in Mac OS X.

OS X is entirely based on OpenGL and has been from the beginning. And Apple's Pro apps like Motion, Aperature and other sophisticated interface affects are being driven by Apple's investment and advancement of OpenGL. In other words, Apple did Aeroglass more than five years ago using OpenGL. Today their most cutting edge graphics/UI effects are built with OpenGL, not something proprietary like DirectX 10.

Anthony Frausto-Robledo

The problem is not that CAD programs rely on OpenGL folks. That is what Microsoft wants you to think (that OpenGL is somehow inferior to DirectX technologies). If OpenGL was inferior to DirectX why did Apple produce its Aeroglass-esque interface "Aqua" in Mac OS X using OpenGL years ago?

The answer: because OpenGL is just fine. Apple got to Aero first using OpenGL years ago.

Henrik Vallgren


There's nothing wrong with OpenGL: I use it myself. The problem is that MS dislikes OpenGL because it's portable. They'd rather see developers using DirectX. I think that this is a case of "it's amazing what you can't do when you don't want to".

Comparing hardware demands for Aqua (OpenGL) vs Aero (DirectX) paints the picture. I know that Aero has a bit more eye candy, but Aqua runs great on my 1st generation mac mini (old 1.25GHz CPU, old graphics card with 32MB memory). Try vista on something like that?

I'm excited about the OpenGL development on OS X. Multithreaded rendering looks very promising. I'll continue to use OpenGL: my software will run great on XP and really shine on OS X. Vista performance will suffer until MS gets their act together ... but why worry? No one uses Vista anyway ;)

CAD/CAE Vendor

I can't speak for any other software vendor, but from my own point of view, all this panic and FUD about OpenGL for CAD apps on Vista is bogus.

I just did some tests with our current code (certified for XP, Linux etc but not yet Vista) on a test machine (3GHz Pentium D, Quadro FX 4500 512 Mb graphics, 2Gb ram) running Vista Business...

The 3D performance was equal to or faster than an equivalent XP box (exact hardware specs). I was getting sustained framerates of 15 fps with 230K trianges and 240K lines being drawn (i.e. > 3M trianges/sec). This was for an extremely detailed FEA model (nodes/elements). This was with no display lists. Wtth display lists turned on, then the frames rates were upwards of 50 fps...

Other OpenGL constructs (anti aliasing, translucency, vertex arrays, triangle strips etc) all work perfectly.

In short, certification of our software will likely be extremely easy. The Vista baseline is the same as tweaked XP machines, so I expect we will be able to exploit a lot of new technologies to take the performance to a whole new level.


CAD/CAE Vendor:

When SolidWorks reports that its software "may be noticeably slower udner Vista," they are making a bogus statement?

I wonder if your anonymous posting means you are a Microsoft-sponsored Munchkin.

Tony in SV

I think we may have to wait a bit on this one to see how the shipping versions of Pro/E, UGS NX, SolidWorks, etc run on Vista.

I'm still interested to learn how running on Vista with no Vista-specific optimizations would cause such a huge drop in performance. I don't think we'll get the truth from the vendors or MS.


Ron Fritz

This is certainly an interesting topic. I'd like to make a correction on the Tech Soft/HOOPS position. Our intention was never to re-write OpenGL to work with DirectX - but we did anticpate issues for applications running OpenGL once Vista came out (based on statements from Microsoft at the time).

Actually, HOOPS sits above the level of OpenGL and DirectX, and can drive either "under the hood" - so our message has always been that applications using HOOPS are insulated from this sort of turmoil at the lower-level. If an application uses HOOPS as its core graphics engine then their users can choose whichever is the more optimal path for their particular OS & Hardware. I hope that clarifies.
-Ron Fritz

CAD/CAE Vendor

Anonymous posting is all my company's policy will allow. Said company is *not* Microsoft. (In fact, I could not be too much further from Seattle if I tried... And my applications are a long way from operating systems...)

Finally, as I stated in my original post: I will not speak for any other vendor (Solidworks included).

I just want to offer results of my real life test (conducted this morning) rather than perpetuate 2nd/3rd hand "reports" (some of which are by anti-Microsoft munchkins) ;)


Everytime Windows comes out with a new release the jealous Windows haters come out of the woodwork. Everytime Pro/E comes out with a new release people freak out about the bugs. As far as I am concerned Pro/E Wildfire 2.0 on XP is better than it has ever been. I suspect that Wildfire 3.0 and Vista will mature into a good combination.
If you don't like Windows stop using them. If you think Apple truly has more to offer go to them. If Apple was truly better they would use themselves as the reference instead of Microsoft. Their commercials say it all - they are jealous.

All software or other complex products need time to mature. Don't get me wrong, I am fed up with the bugs and poor quality of most programs I use but I don't think I have anywhere better to go.

If you move away from Windows you will just have new problems. I have known several people who moved away from Windows only to return.

For now I am enoying Pro/E W2 on XP and I plan to keep this combo for another 1.5+ yrs.

Walt Lewandowski

"What Intel giveth - Microsoft taketh away" My apologies to the author of that. Well, I'm hearing several arguments here. CAD vendors want to write for the most available OS. They want to make money. If you can get performance on a tweaked Windows box that you're happy with, great. I'm also hearing argument on the relative merits of each OS too. I guess that too depends on what you want to do or expect. I develop embedded systems and have used most everything from CP/M to several flavors of *nix. I use what's appropriate. If internal Email is all you need, go for anything. The minute you expose it to the internet - I'd shy away from Microsoft. I think Microsoft has long ago proven ( over and over again ) that they are in the business to make money. It's their method that I think is wrong - forcing you to dispose of perfectly good hardware just to get the next alpha version OS. If you argue that Windows is better technically than say Linux or OSX, I'd have to doubt your credentials. I'm not an anti-Microsoft munchkin but I do use what's appropriate. My daughter is on the internet doing research so I use a Mac. My other Mac and Linux box also run as fast as the day they were first turned on over 2 years ago - not running more slowly each day. Open office kills any arguments about incompatibility. There is no historical data to support the allegation that Vista will be 'better'.


More than likely the financing for making OpenGL appear inferior is taken out of Vista's Development costs. Which are by far the highest OS development costs in history.

In order to make these costs back over time, though, I think M$ is dipping into the $3.2 Billion Viral Marketing Program, once focused on Linux, now mostly on Sony's PS3. To them this is money well spent promoting the falacy, Vista w/DX10 is somehow superior to that of OpenGL under Khronos Group. OpenGL now not only owns Animation and Filming Industry World, but is making huge advances into the Mobile devices world along with Linux and game consoles. Instead of putting that money into developing a better, faster API, M$ had rather blow chunks promoting a prematurely failed OS! That quite frankly is seen for what it is, an attempt at controlling us with Treacherous Trusted Computing Phone Home Technology employed against us and our rights to privacy.!

They really are afraid since OpenGL is now overseen by Khronos Group (and the fact that nearly every other enity in computing industry is a member of it - Intel, AMD/ATI, Sony, Toshiba, Motorolla, IBM, Nvidia, so and so forth). That they somehow must keep the upper hand with the use of lies, deception, and hammering the biggest culprit in exposing these M$ fallacies, Nvidia!

But something tells me Nvidia isn't as afraid of MS as M$ would like them to be. But when every other big time Technology Corporation is on your Khronos Team. Who really needs to be afraid of the Big Fat Bald Balmer Wolf?

Because as always somewhere along the line bogus operations are exposed for what they are. And when they are and the public realizes this, they will merely be the Emperor in the "Emperor's New Clothes"!

Disgusting thought isn't it? Steve Balmer as an exposed ignorant, naked and bald Emperor of the once Kingdumb of the Evil Empire, Micro$oft !!! ;)

Robert Robertson

Hmm, I'll just stick to XP until Vista has all it's issues figured out..

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