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Getting Started with OpenGL on Cygwin

OpenGL is a powerful graphics library that allows developers to create stunning 2D and 3D visualizations. Whether you are a beginner or an e...

OpenGL is a powerful graphics library that allows developers to create stunning 2D and 3D visualizations. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced programmer, learning OpenGL can be a valuable skill to have in your arsenal. In this article, we will discuss how to get started with OpenGL on Cygwin, a popular Unix-like environment for Windows.

First, let's understand what Cygwin is. Cygwin is a free and open source software that provides a Unix-like environment on Windows. It includes a collection of tools and libraries that allow Windows users to run native Linux applications. This makes it an ideal platform for developing and running OpenGL applications.

To get started with OpenGL on Cygwin, you will need to have Cygwin installed on your system. You can download the setup file from the official website and follow the installation instructions. Once Cygwin is installed, you will need to install the necessary packages for OpenGL development. Open the Cygwin terminal and run the following command:

`apt-cyg install libGL-devel libGLU-devel freeglut-devel`

This will install the necessary libraries and header files required for developing OpenGL applications. Now, let's create a simple "Hello World" program using OpenGL. In your favorite text editor, create a file named `hello.c` and add the following code:


#include <stdio.h>

#include <GL/gl.h>

#include <GL/glu.h>

#include <GL/glut.h>

void display() {


glColor3f(1.0, 1.0, 1.0);


glVertex3f(-0.5, -0.5, 0.0);

glVertex3f(0.5, -0.5, 0.0);

glVertex3f(0.5, 0.5, 0.0);

glVertex3f(-0.5, 0.5, 0.0);




int main(int argc, char** argv) {

glutInit(&argc, argv);

glutInitDisplayMode(GLUT_SINGLE | GLUT_RGB);

glutInitWindowSize(500, 500);

glutInitWindowPosition(100, 100);

glutCreateWindow("Hello World");



return 0;



Save the file and go back to the Cygwin terminal. Navigate to the directory where you saved the `hello.c` file and run the following command to compile the code:

`gcc -o hello hello.c -lGL -lGLU -lglut`

This will create an executable file named `hello`. Now, run the program by typing `./hello` in the terminal. You should see a white square on a black background, as shown below:

![Hello World program output](https://i.imgur.com/6Hf7U1p.png)

Congratulations, you have successfully created your first OpenGL program on Cygwin!

Let's break down the code to understand what is happening. The first four `include` statements include the necessary header files for OpenGL development. Next, we define the `display` function which is responsible for drawing the graphics on the screen. In this function, we first use the `glClear` function to clear the color buffer and set the background color to black. Then, we use the `glColor3f` function to set the color for the polygon we are about to draw, in this case, white. Next, we use the `glBegin` and `glEnd` functions to specify the vertices of the polygon using `glVertex3f` function. Finally, we use the `glFlush` function to display the graphics on the screen.

In the `main` function, we use the `glutInit` function to initialize the GLUT library and pass the command line arguments. Next, we use the `glutInitDisplayMode` function to set the display mode to single buffer and RGB color mode. Then, we specify the size and position of the window using the `glutInitWindowSize` and `glutInitWindowPosition` functions. Using the `glutCreateWindow` function, we create a window with the given title. Then, we specify the `display` function as the callback function using the `glutDisplayFunc` function. Finally, we use the `glutMainLoop` function to enter the GLUT event processing loop.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to create an OpenGL program on Cygwin, you can explore the library further and create more complex and visually appealing graphics.

In conclusion, getting started with OpenGL on Cygwin is fairly simple. With the right tools and a basic understanding of the library, you can unleash your creativity and create amazing graphics and visualizations. So go ahead and start experimenting with OpenGL on Cygwin and take your programming skills to the next level.

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