I hear OpenGL is free and Direct X is costly. If that is a factor. As far as performance goes they should be equal but OpenGl is cross-platform and I believe Direct X is a microsoft thing, for windows and x-box.
The x-box gets it's name from direct x. But OpenGL is only a graphics api. Direct X is the total deal. There is direct draw, direct sound, direct ass, you get the point.
To use? They're both free. You might have to pay some sort of royalty if you want to sell anything that uses DirectX, though. I'm not sure. But if you're just learning chances are you won't be selling anything anyways,
If I had to choose, my first choice would be to learn OpenGl, but I must admit microsoft sometimes finds a way to appeal to newbies like me. When I first wanted to learn C++ I wanted the GNU C++ compiler. I have heard good things about it. But when I went looking for it, the websites were so confussing I became frightened. I did not know what to download and could not figure it out. So I went after the visual C++ express 2010 compiler. Microsoft made it all too easy. Just one big red button labeled download.
I allready saw that the directX SDK is easy to find, easy to download. If OpenGl gives me the fits when trying to get started then DirectX it is!
Well, many times even Microsoft installs OpenGL by default, you should have it already (but no docs for offline view).
As for DirectX, it gets set-up by its SDK installer.
You run the SDK installer (making sure your VS is closed) and you're done.
There will also be a "DirectX SDK" entry in your Start Menu, showing some DirectX code examples (Useful for example for DX11 tessellation and other examples/tutorials) and the full documentation is offline.
you probably were looking at the wrong place for the gnu compiler,in the first place it is not for windows but for OSs based on POSIX (unices , BSDs and linux) which windows isn't, you need to install MinGW instead (stands for "minimalistic gcc for windows") which will allow you to run gcc on windows.
And what you want is probably an IDE not just the compiler, so i suggest you codeblocks.(it has a nice download page where you can easily install codeblocks along with mingw).
You see nobody explained it to me before. I suppose for now I'll say with what I got but maybe one day I'll give it another go. In the end I'd like to say I am familiar with a wide range of applications.