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'OpenGL' stands for Open Graphics Library. It is a cross-platform, programming interface widely used for rendering 2D and 3D graphics. Initially developed by Silicon Graphics in the early 1990s, this powerful tool is now managed by the non-profit technology consortium, Khronos Group. OpenGL provides programmers with a wide range of tools and functionalities to produce high-quality color images, including maps, satellite imagery, etc, by rendering primitives, such as points, lines, and polygons.

The main purpose of OpenGL is to deliver an interface that essentially simplifies the process of displaying complex graphics on a computer screen, irrespective of the computing or technological differences among various models. By offering this high level of abstraction, OpenGL helps programmers create visually compelling applications without being concerned about specific details like the operating system or the intricacies of different display hardware.

OpenGL is characterized by its two main components, namely GL, the base library which involves capabilities for drawing primitives, and GLU, the utility library which involves higher-level drawing operations. The GL kernel primarily deals with rendering, defined by a set of commands allowing for specification of geometric objects in two or three dimensions. The GLU, on the other hand, incorporates more sophisticated features, including quadric surfaces, NURBS surfaces and tessellation.

It is important to note that OpenGL is largely popular amongst game developers, given its ability to provide a direct route to the graphics card which controls the rendering of graphics on the monitor. The library's key strength lies in its scope for direct hardware acceleration, which can lead to enhanced game performance. Moreover, owing to its cross-platform nature, it supports almost all operating systems including Windows, Linux, MacOS among others, thus broadening its usage even further.

In conclusion, OpenGL has proven to be a vital tool in the realm of computer graphics, essentially aiding programmers in creating a broad range of visual representations from simple, windowed user interfaces to intricate, virtual reality environments. While OpenGL is often compared with other powerful interfaces such as DirectX, it remains unique in its versatility, openness and wide range of usability. Its continued evolution and improvement underline its critical role in the future of graphic display technology.