Q.1: What is Cairo?
WB is based in a free OSS product called Cairo. Cairo is a cross platform, device independent 2D graphics library that supports different output targets with the same code. Therefore, supporting e.g. screen (in Windows, X and Mac OS X), PDF, PostScript and PNG outputs require a minimal amount of code.
Q.2: What is OpenGL?
OpenGL is an open standard for programming high performance computer graphics. It is normally used in 3D games and other applications that require fast 3D graphics, but it is also be used in 2D applications with rich graphics. Workbench uses OpenGL for displaying diagrams on screen.OpenGL can be accelerated when the video hardware supports it, which in recent hardware is quite common. For optimal performance, WB will require that kind of acceleration, but software based OpenGL rendering is also supported, in which case no special hardware is needed.
Q.3: I read that Workbench uses OpenGL but my graphic card does not support that. Can I still use the tool?
Yes. If the machine you are running MySQL Workbench on does not support native OpenGL then software rendering is used. Depending on the speed of the machine the UI experience may suffer. If you are working on larger models you should think about switching to a machine with native OpenGL support. Almost every Nvidia or ATI graphic card released in the past 4 years does support OpenGL. If you are using a virtual environment you should prefer Parallels Desktop at this point because of its OpenGL support.
Q.4: Which version of OpenGL is required for native rendering?
OpenGL 1.5 or higher is required to benefit from the hardware acceleration. When you run on Windows you need a graphic card driver from the graphic card manufacturer because Windows only ships with OpenGL 1.1 drivers out of the box.
Q.5: How can I check the OpenGL support on my system to add it to the bug report?
Consider following cost free tools (MS Windows only) to extract needed information about your video card: OpenGL-Extension-Viewer, GPU-Caps-Viewer
Q.6. Windows XP crashes with ATI OpenGL Graphics Card
Please download the latest drivers from ATI.com
Here is a user explanation of how he fixed the crash: