Hello and welcome to "freeglut".  If I may answer your question at some length, there are three very similar windowing libraries:

        The first library is GLUT, the OpenGL Utility Toolkit, was written by one Mark Kilgard some time in the last century (actually about a decade ago, I guess).  He wanted to make a simple windowing library that would hide the vagaries of the operating system from the application program, thus allowing people to write simple windowing programs that were platform-independent.  In this goal he succeeded masterfully.  There are a lot of OpenGL sample programs that used GLUT for their windowing.

        Unfortunately, while Mr. Kilgard released the source code for his library, he did NOT make it open-source.  In fact, the licensing agreement for GLUT states explicitly that other people are NOT allowed to modify his source code.  Given that GLUT has a couple of quirks in it (I can't call them bugs; people begged Mr. Kilgard to change GLUT's behavior in these areas and he repeatedly refused) this is not a good thing.

        The second library is "freeglut", which was started around the year 2000 by Pawel Olszta in an explicit effort to create an open-source alternative to GLUT.  A few years ago, Pawel handed control over to Steve Baker, who manages the "freeglut" project now.  The goal for "freeglut" is to be a drop-in replacement for GLUT:  no code changes and ideally not even recompiling should be required to migrate from GLUT to "freeglut".  Mr. Baker wanted to keep the "freeglut" project alive long enough for people to notice it and move over from GLUT, and I think we are starting to be successful in this as well.  The quirky behaviors that nobody but Mr. Kilgard liked were changed, and a few (very few) new items were added, but the emphasis was on compatibility with GLUT, down to the order in which callbacks are made.  In fact, if someone writes to the "freeglut" list and says "My GLUT program does /this/ while my 'freeglut' program does /that/", this is a red-flag issue for me.

        Late last year, two "freeglut" developers wanted to add some new features to "freeglut" and Mr. Baker said no.  There was quite a discussion back and forth, but the final answer was still "no" and so the two developers, Richard Rauch and Nigel Stewart, decamped to start their own OpenGLUT library.  The purpose of OpenGLUT is to update and expand upon GLUT's capabilities; backward compatibility is not such a high priority for OpenGLUT.  Nigel and Richard are still contributing slightly to "freeglut" and I have contributed a few things to OpenGLUT, so we get along decently.  The two libraries are, however, moving on slightly-diverging tracks and I do not know where it will lead.

        The OpenGLUT page looks newer than the "freeglut" page for the extremely good reason that it is newer.  OpenGLUT is still under development and is working towards its first stable release, while "freeglut" has gone largely into maintenance mode.  GLUT, meantime, is not supported any longer.  Apart from "freeglut"'s code stability and the added features that OpenGLUT has added, I do not think there is any significant difference between "freeglut" and OpenGLUT.  The API calls are, to the best of my knowledge, identical.

        If you have a GLUT program that you want to keep supported, I would recommend "freeglut".  If you need a feature that OpenGLUT offers but that "freeglut" does not, then I would recommend OpenGLUT.  If you have a new code that doesn't need any OpenGLUT features, then I would recommend "freeglut" again--I am a lot more active on "freeglut" than I am on OpenGLUT, so of course I am biased.  I daresay Messrs. Rauch and Stewart would differ from me, while Mr. Baker would agree with me.  You could, of course, use both.  The one thing that I would not recommend for anything that you want to carry into the future is using GLUT.

John F. Fay

-----Original Message-----
From: freeglut-developer-admin@lists.sourceforge.net
[mailto:freeglut-developer-admin@lists.sourceforge.net]On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2004 2:50 PM
To: Freeglut-developer@lists.sourceforge.net
Subject: [Freeglut-developer] freeglut vs. openglut

Hello once again

I saw on sourceforge that there is a similar project to freeglut,
openglut. Can anybody explain to me the diffrences between the two
projects? I saw that openglut is based on freeglut.
I`ve read the features, but didn`t understand the exact diffrences.

The freeglut webpage looks a bit more outdated then the openglut site.

Greetings K.F

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