Time to drop OpenGL in favor of Metal/DX12

Hello everyone. We’ve loved SketchUp for a very long time now. We built our business into what it is today because of the excellent renderings produced in SketchUp. But, when it’s time, it’s time. Folks at Trimble - you gotta get with the program and drop OpenGL in favor of Metal. Or at least optimize the MAC OS version of SketchUp. We upgrade our hardware every other year. SketchUp is the only app that doesn’t really benefit from the upgrades. Even your own Aaron uses a Mac during the skill builder videos. Now with the M1 Max MacBook Pro, we have a powerhouse sitting on desktop and SketchUp literally just skids along. Thanks for reading my message.


Operating System Market Share

Platform Share
Windows 87.56%
Mac OS 9.54%
Linux 2.35%
Chrome OS 0.41%
Do the math

Maserati market share in recent years:

“In the past, big software developers like Autodesk and Bentley created CAD software solely for PC, while Mac users were limited to (the admittedly excellent) ArchiCAD or Vectorworks for their drafting needs.

Things are now changing, with certain major players now viewing Apple’s large user base of professional designers as a market they can’t afford to ignore…”

The key is market share of professional designers.

I could be wrong but I think they are going to have to move to metal if they are going to stay on Apple because I don’t think Apple silicon is going to support OpenGL forever.

Apple deprecated OpenGL in iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 Mojave in favor of Metal, but it is still available as of macOS 11 Big Sur (including Apple silicon devices). The latest version supported for OpenGL is 4.1 from 2011. A proprietary library from Molten – authors of MoltenVK – called MoltenGL, can translate OpenGL calls to Metal.

Love your graphic, though it does demonstrate that statistics can be used to prove almost anything. You could say that in the 15 years from 2002, Maserati increased their market share sixfold. Might make you think every other car on the road was a Mazzer. But actually, it was still only just over half of one per cent of the market share. It isn’t clear what market we are talking about. To better illustrate your point, maybe you need a graph showing market share of performance cars. More pertinent still, what is the market share of Mac OS vs Windows amongst design professionals? It does seem amusing that so many Sketchup Team Members choose to use Macs when the software is not optimised for them.

1 Like

Even more amusing that SU was even developed for the Mac at all. :thinking:

There is no tongue-in-cheek emoji.

Then there is this:
“Leadership at Vectorworks recently told a UK-based publication that their software on Apple’s ARM-based M1 chip platform is 40 – 200 percent faster than on rival Intel-based platforms (Mac or Windows).”

Not bad for their first crack at it.

“In this interview, we cover how the M1 SoC is different in many respects, including memory limitations and the complete transition to the Metal graphics API for the Mac version of Vectorworks 2022, which is integral to the big picture M1 story.”

Yeah, why bother with the tiny market share. Did someone say Maserati?

I think that the decision for Trimble is a matter of business logic. If the Mac market doesn’t create enough income to justify the development costs, what to do? Two possibilities: Forget about real new features and let development stall while Windows customers pay the maintenance of the proliferation of versions and platforms, or concentrate the effort.
When this was discussed years ago, I remember someone from the SketchUp team inferring that while the core graphics engine is the same the costs of different platforms is negligible, but I understand that switching to Metal would require a total rewrite of the application.

some interestings annotations:

Why keep putting lipstick on a pig then? If Trimble doesn’t want to invest in Apple/the Mac platform, then discontinue the product altogether.

Trimble isn’t a small company. I’m sure they could afford the initial build-out of a true native Mac application taking advantage of Apple APIs to create a beast version of SU. And let the existing Mac team continue to maintain it.

SU is currently a joke on Apple Silicon with daily crashes.

This can be interpreted in two ways. But basically you are mistaken or misled by the hype. There is nothing special performance-wise about the Mac. Other vendors produce CPUs that are faster or on the par with Apple Silicon.

1 Like

Did not want to instigate a Mac vs PC war and this has nothing to do with it. If SU was using native Apple APIs and it ran poorly on Windows, the same sentiment would stand.

If you’re going to release software across multiple platforms, each version of the software should run as fast as it possibly can on each platform. If there are no plans to take advantage of native APIs to improve the performance on the Mac, just discontinue it.

What I meant by beast version of SU is that it would just not absolutely suck and crash 10+ times a day on Apple Silicon.

Seems to me there are false implications sprinkled this discussion: that unlike on Mac, Windows SketchUp uses something other than OpenGL for graphics, and that OpenGL is somehow a native Apple library. In fact, both use OpenGL and Apple has said that it intends to discontinue support for OpenGL - though it hasn’t yet followed through.

I edited the subject so that its not specific to Apple Silicon, or even Mac at all.

1 Like

Me neither. What I was implying that I, as a user, have no grounds to think that I am in a position to give advice to the developers on how to do their job. I am quite certain that they have heard of Metal and have a plan of what to do when Apple pulls the plug from OpenGL.

Your crashes have nothing to do with this. OpenGL is still a supported API on the Mac. A version of SketchUp that supports the latest MacOS has not yet been released, although it seems that many run version 2022 with it without problems. To determine why it doesn’t work for you, you would have to have a Mac/SketchUp expert go through your system.

I’m fairly confident it’s got nothing to do with my version of macOS since SU '21 & '22 have crashed on both macOS 12 (Monterey) and macOS 13 (Ventura) on an M1 Mac mini, and '22 + Ventura on an M1 Max Mac Studio.

At the same time, I have never experienced any crashes on any of the last ~5 versions of SU across ~4 different operating systems on my intel-based iMac Pro.

Just wish there was a little more transparency from the SU team or an acknowledgement that there is a plan to address these (apparently common) issues for customers using Apple Silicon.

Actually we, as users, have no way to know how common these issues are. The forum shows a distorted view of reality. Only people with problems write here. That was how I started here about 20 years ago.

1 Like

There are actually several threads about this very issue on Apple forums, SU forums, and Reddit. I’ve had this issue for over a year but only recently posted. Can’t expect everyone who encounters this issue to sign up on a forum and post about their issues.

I suspect it’s more common than is visibly apparent on the SU forums alone.

1 Like

@Colin if you could, I would appreciate your help. I’ve submitted tickets and have not heard back from the technical support team. I even tried calling the one phone number I could find and for support it directs me to submit a ticket. I even tried speaking to someone live at sales and it just had me leave a voicemail.

I ended up returning the Mac Studio with M1 Max today to the Apple Store and custom ordered an M2 Pro Mac mini. Seem’s like I’m doing all of Trimble’s trouble-shooting myself by buying and returning different systems to figure out the root issue.

Now I’m back on the M1 mini until the M2 Pro mini arrives.

Please help! This is getting silly!

I’m tempted to get M2 too.

I have two Macs running Ventura, one is Intel and one is M1 Max. Other than crashes when I’m investigating something we know will crash, SketchUp seems to work ok.

I think you have a EDU subscription, and would normally go to Creation Engine first. If/when they get stuck, they contact us. We help them, and hopefully they solve your problem.

But, we will do screen sharing directly with people to track down whatever the issue might be, if it clearly isn’t something that a distributor can solve.

You may well hold the record for the most number of bugsplat reports, thanks for those. I will check with developers to see if they see what your crashes have in common, and I will ask a support colleague about whether doing a screen share some time might be a good idea.

1 Like

Funny thing.

Just installed 2023 on both the PC and the Mac (m1)

In the preferences panel, in addition to giving you graphics card information, it also give you the OpenGL you’re running.

The PC runs 4,6
The M1 mac runs 2,1 even though the last version supported before Apple dropped the support was 4,1
You can find example of people working with 4,1 but apparently SU for Mac is stuck on a 20y old version ? or isi t simply that nothing released since 2,1 is actually useful for SU ?

after some searches, I’m starting to suspect that its part of the “porting to sillicon architecture” thing, my understanding of all that is limited, but I’d sure like to understand. curiosity and all that. :slight_smile: