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OpenGL, originally developed by Silicon Graphics Incorporated (SGI) for their graphics workstations, lets applications create high-quality color images independent of windowing systems, operating systems, and hardware.

The OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB), an industry consortium, is currently responsible for defining OpenGL. Members of the ARB include Silicon Graphics Incorporated, Microsoft Corporation, Intel, IBM, and Digital Equipment Corporation.

The official reference document for OpenGL version 1, is the OpenGL Reference Manual, by the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ISBN 0-201-63276-4). The official guide to learning OpenGL version 1, is the OpenGL Programming Guide, by Jackie Neider, Tom Davis, and Mason Woo (ISBN 0-201-63274-8). Both books are published by Addison-Wesley.