Learning OpenGL in Ubuntu


I'm trying to learn OpenGL and improve my C++ skills by going through the Nehe guides, but all of the examples are for Windows and I'm currently on Linux. I don't really have any idea how to get things to work under Linux, and the code on the site that has been ported for Linux has way more code in it that's not explained (so far, the only one I've gotten to work is the SDL example: http://nehe.gamedev.net/data/lessons/linuxsdl/lesson01.tar.gz). Is there any other resource out there that's a bit more specific towards OpenGL under Linux?

1/22/2010 10:42:50 PM

Accepted Answer

The first thing to do is install the OpenGL libraries. I recommend:


Once you have them installed, link to them when you compile:

g++ -lglut -lGL -lGLU -lGLEW example.cpp -o example

In example.cpp, include the OpenGL libraries like so:

#include <GL/glew.h>
#include <GL/glut.h>
#include <GL/gl.h>
#include <GL/glu.h>
#include <GL/glext.h>

Then, to enable the more advanced opengl options like shaders, place this after your glutCreateWindow Call:

GLenum err = glewInit();
if (GLEW_OK != err)
    fprintf(stderr, "Error %s\n", glewGetErrorString(err));
fprintf(stdout, "Status: Using GLEW %s\n", glewGetString(GLEW_VERSION));

if (GLEW_ARB_vertex_program)
    fprintf(stdout, "Status: ARB vertex programs available.\n");

if (glewGetExtension("GL_ARB_fragment_program"))
    fprintf(stdout, "Status: ARB fragment programs available.\n");

if (glewIsSupported("GL_VERSION_1_4  GL_ARB_point_sprite"))
    fprintf(stdout, "Status: ARB point sprites available.\n");

That should enable all OpenGL functionality, and if it doesn't, then it should tell you the problems.

5/6/2013 7:01:22 AM

I'll guess that it is the compilation process that is the biggest difference initially. Here is a useful Makefile for compiling simple OpenGL apps on Ubuntu.

INCLUDE = -I/usr/X11R6/include/
LIBDIR  = -L/usr/X11R6/lib

FLAGS = -Wall
CC = g++                                  # change to gcc if using C
LIBS =  -lglut -lGL -lGLU -lGLEW -lm

All: your_app                             # change your_app.

your_app: your_app.o
    $(CC) $(CFLAGS) -o $@ $(LIBDIR) $< $(LIBS) # The initial white space is a tab

Save this to a file called Makefile that should be in the same directory. Compile by writing make from terminal or :make from Vim.

Good luck

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