I didn't expect Windows on ARM to support OpenGL or Vulkan, yet I am still disappointed


Credits goes to the liliputing for providing a link to the support page

When I heard about Windows ARM devices having x86 user emulation, I was pretty excited about the potential it can have to break down barriers. However, at the same time, I was worried that Microsoft may stop, or at least cripple, certain technologies.

Unfortunately, I was right… If you go to the “Troubleshooting x86 desktop apps” page, it states that you should use the DirectX mode of the app if the app uses an OpenGL version later then 1.1.

It makes me wonder if Microsoft is actually doing something that would stop ARM vendors from providing OpenGL/Vulkan driver. Would the ARM driver be more restricted than their x86 counterpart? Or is it possible to actually see OpenGL/Vulkan support on these devices (even if Microsoft doesn’t endorse it)?

What do you think about this issue?

b-b-b-b-but they LoOoOove Open Source

I really wish it surprised me but it doesn’t. It seems like they’ve been playing this game forever. He’res hoping that this move doesn’t damage Vulkan adoption. At the very least, there is that abstraction layer that converts Vulkan to DirectX. That should allow people to ship a Vulkan base version, and then a version for microsoft’s crippled versions of windows. Doesn’t do much good for preexisting applications using OpenGL or Vulkan.

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I’d guess that Microsoft sees this as an experiment so far. If for some reason it would really take off then they just might work together with the SoC makers to add support for Vulkan eventually. After all there are professional applications that seem to be gearing towards Vulkan for its multi platform value.

A bigger problem for Windows on ARM is probably the lack of a good web browser on native code. I don’t suppose Google will be willing to bet on a platform that is both a possible competitor and a risky venture.

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I didn’t know anyone actually cared about this. Anyone who is worried about OGL and Vulkan sure as shit are NOT on windows, I can tell you that.

Microsoft is the fat kid in the pool, and whenever they try to swim it gets everyone else wet.


I think as long as developers are allowed to make arm-based win32 applications, it shouldn’t require too much effort (or even be that risky) to port a traditional Windows application to another architecture (versus porting a Windows application to MacOS/Linux).

I will admit that I am not primarily a WIndows user (I mostly use Linux), but I definitely believe that there are Windows developers out there (who primarily use Windows) that care about using a cross-platform API.

That is true. Microsoft maybe does care about OpenGL and Vulkan, but doesn’t want to focus on it right now.

I definitely would love to have a bit more clarification on the OpenGL situation. If Microsoft allows the ARM drivers to do the same thing that x86 drivers do to get OpenGL/Vulkan working on Windows, then I will be a happy man.

I am on windows but I don’t care about this. I don’t understand, what is the benefit of having Windows on ARM device?

Generally Speaking:

  • From a user’s perspective, more battery life since ARM is more power efficient than x86. It can be a nice device for people who use their device for basic web browsing and for running simple applications.
  • There is also be LTE support (but I don’t consider that a beneft since x86 machines can also use LTE, if they have the right hardware).

For me personally:

  • We would have more options besides Intel and AMD (it would be nice to throw out the duopoly). There is a 24 core ARM machine that only cost $1,230 US! It would awesome to run both Windows and Linux on it!
  • If these machines take off, we could see ARM become mainstream in the desktop market, which would result in developers more willing to support ARM for their desktop applications (As a Linux user, I hope this encourages developers to release ARM binaries for their proprietary Linux applications).
  • We could have ARM-based devices similar to the GDP WIn or Nintendo Switch that could provide better battery life.

I wish someone reviewed the Windows on ARM devices, which are already out there, from a power user’s point of view. Wendell, hear me out! :smiley:

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OpenGL is working and so is x64 emulation. A lot of games work at playable framerates on the OG SurfacePro x