PHIL: Pragmatism

Brian Behlendorf (
Sun, 12 Jun 1994 23:14:36 +0000 (GMT)

Mark's previous posts basically outline my sentiments on this project,
too. I thought I would add two comments.

1) While the goals of VRML and this mailing list may seem lofty,
and at times we may seem like kids with stars in our eyes without
solid grounding, I want to state that Mark and I both realize
Rome (and the Web :) wasn't built in a day. He and I (and others)
have talked a lot about how to get from here to the kinds of things
Mark talked about in his Visions post, and we realize there are
many steps to take. Many of you have taken those same steps, and
we hope to draw from your experience (if not let your experience
help us skip a couple steps every once in a while). We purposefully
have very limited goals for what we see as the first spec for VRML,
as exhibited in the Holocaust Museum example. We want to make sure
we have a solid, extensible base, simple enough to that free browsers
can exist for all platforms and authoring tools can be developed
without much difficulty (or more likely, conversion tools from current
popular 3-d formats). This base level is crucial, in my opinion.

2) Some of you have asked... why is Wired Magazine helping this effort?
Well, much of this is personal initiative. I came back from WWW'94 with
the concept of VRML burning a hole in my head, and it was simply a matter
of having the resources available to facilitate the discussion of and
open-forum creation of this mailing list. The flip side is that Wired is
very interested in promoting new technologies - we realize that the World
Wide Web and HTML were essentially handed to us on a silver platter, but
we can't presume that this will always be so. We do hope to profit from
this at some point in the future, just as we hope everyone does, but we
also know that making a strong open standard is the overriding issue. To
us, sparing the computing and bandwidth resources and a few hours of my
time a week are well worth the potential return. We also have no
intention of becoming a software company, so any code that comes from my
participation in this will be put into the public domain (as we hope
others will do, too).

Hope this clarifies some things a bit. We are on the cusp of something
truely amazing! Let's get to work.