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OpenGL ARB extensions and older graphics cards

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I have two computers -- one running an integrated Intel chipset, and one running an 8800GT. I've made code for my 8800GT, but when I'm trying to run it on this computer (I know I won't get any performance -- I'm trying to test some physics stuff rather than graphics, so I'm prepared to disable stuff like AA, reflections, and even textures! ), it fails at code trying to use things that are only supported from a version that is not supported by the Intel chipset. The 8800GT supports the latest OpenGL (it uses NVIDIA 2.1), but the Intel, on Ubuntu, uses MESA 1.3. Obviously, I should adapt my code. My question is: What do professional developers do? Is there any difference at all using ARB functions vs using the normal functions? If there isn't, then what is the point of releasing two versions (essentially name aliases) of functions? If there is no difference, I'm really accessing 1.3 features within 2.0, and any reasonable developer will never use the 2.0 names, so what's the point of them at all? I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation, because I'm sure the people who made OpenGL are much smarter than I (am now). Is there some compatibility layer than allows me to use 2.0 functions from within 1.3, but really use extensions?

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Quote:
What do professional developers do? Is there any difference at all using ARB functions vs using the normal functions?


On the product requirements page they write what graphics card is supported, what GL version is required.
Sometimes, there is a difference between ARB and core functions. Extensions are experimental. If a feature is considered worthwhile, it gets promoted to core and sometimes goes through changes.
Most of the time, there is no difference.

Quote:
Is there some compatibility layer than allows me to use 2.0 functions from within 1.3, but really use extensions?

If there is, I've never heard of it.

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