Extensions IP status question ...

“IP Status
NVIDIA Proprietary.”

What does this mean exactly ? Patent protection ? "Open"GL no longer Open ?
Or is it just that this extension is linked to too specific hardware and therefore cannot be “ARB” or “EXT” ?

Can another hardware vendor use e.g. register combiners if he make the hardware for it, or would NVidia forbid it ?

Thanks for your answers

I’d also like to know for sure, some people claim they are indeed open while in my ears it sounds more like they are patent protected when they are marked as “IP Status: NVIDIA proprietary”.
If they are indeed locked for other vendors I’m a little concerned that OpenGL will loose it’s open status since nVidia extensions consistently are marked with “IP Status: NVIDIA proprietary”, even extensions that seams like they very will could be ARB, like the volumetric texture compression extension.

Nobody knows?
Or noone dares to tell the truth?

The following text is from there :
http://oss.sgi.com/projects/ogl-sample/registry/doc/promoting.html :

Is Promotion Required?

Changing the names creates a significant burden for ISVs supporting the existing extension. It should not be done gratuitously; if the existing interface is sufficient, there’s no inherent reason an implementation shipped by one vendor cannot advertise and support an extension using another vendor’s prefix.

If you do this, make certain that the original vendor agrees to freeze the definition of the extension, and that what you ship is identical in behavior to what the original vendor is shipping. Shipping what appears to be the “same” extension while implementing different behavior on multiple platforms is a great disservice to ISVs trying to use extensions, and to OpenGL in general.

Do not, under any circumstances, ship an extension defined by another vendor without first clearing it with that vendor.

Looks like you can implement it without much problem, but I am not really sure what they mean by clearing it with that vendor.

[This message has been edited by Gorg (edited 05-22-2001).]


  1. I am not a lawyer
  2. The following is what I’ve gathered from 4 years in software development, and is not a formal definition. I do development - see point #1.

Not sure how it applies in this situation, but when a person or entity places ‘IP’ status on an algorithm or software solution of some kind, it means that that entity feels a considerable amount of problem solving and unique effort went into developing the involved property.

When you claim IP status it means that other people are not allowed to use your idea without your permission and without crediting the source.

Because of this, it would be possible for any vendor to implement an extension with IP attached if and only if they have permission from the IP owner (in order to redistribute the solution). Getting this permission generally requires some cash. You’d also have to put something like ‘Uses nVidia ™ technology’ on your video card.

So, while it is /possible/ for a vendor who does not own IP on an extension to implement it, a vendor will want to spend time carefully weighing alternatives before tying themselves to a competitor.

The S3TC extension is one which comes to mind that has IP attached, but which is implemented by several non S3 vendors (see http://oss.sgi.com/projects/ogl-sample/registry/EXT/texture_compression_s3tc.txt )

Hope this is helpful,
– Jeff