An open source grab for 3D web power

The struggle to define and control a standard for 3D on the Web has just begun with this announcement.

Khronos' move to accelerate development of Web 3D based on Javascript, supported by Mozilla's Firefox browser as early as this summer, looks like a laudable attempt to get ahead of a rapidly developing trend.

But is it also an attempt by OpenGL to take the equivalent of proprietary advantage under the flag of open source? (Hope so.)

The annual Web3D Symposium is still soliciting papers, and is scheduled for June in Germany. This is the traditional venue for advancing the cause.

But Khronos and Mozilla have their own timetable. Mozilla evangelist Chris Blizzard writes on his blog of making the new 3D software  "base functionality in the release after Firefox 3.5," based on the OpenGL standard.

OpenGL competes directly with Microsoft's Direct3D software, so the struggle can be expected to be ongoing. Wikipedia maintains an ongoing comparison.

Vladimir Vucicevic is Mozilla's point man on the project. He writes, "From looking at the available 3D APIs, I settled on exposing the OpenGL ES APIs through an HTML5 Canvas context, enabling access to OpenGL from within Javascript."

In a post datelined Tuesday he writes, "I think now is the time to bring this out into a wider audience, and to figure out what an initial take of 3D on the web should look like. "

The key word there is initial. The struggle to define and control a standard for 3D on the Web has just begun with this announcement.

As Sherlock Holmes might say, "the game's afoot."

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