Section 18 briefly discusses characterizing the performance of your application.
One of OpenGL's goals is to allow a program using the base API to ``just work,'' no matter where it runs or is compiled. An implementation cannot be called OpenGL if it does not pass an exhaustive set of conformance tests that guarantee all the base features of OpenGL are available and are mathematically correct. However, that guarantee says nothing about the performance an application can expect. It will probably be necessary to check at run time some of the combinations of modes and states your application could use, and decide at that time which combination provides enough performance to be desirable.
Some typical features to check for performance availability include:
Example libraries pdb and isfast implement this notion of characterizing mode combinations. These libraries can be found by searching the OpenGL web site www.opengl.org and can be downloaded at the time of writing from http://reality.sgi.com/gold/OpenGL/isfast.html.