Re: LANG: OOGL (was Re: LANG: Re: scalability (VRML))

Brian Behlendorf (
Mon, 20 Jun 1994 16:43:20 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 20 Jun 1994, John W. Barrus wrote:
> Kevin Goldsmith wrote:
> >Open Inventor vs. OOGL
> >
> > There are more tools for Inventor and more people using it. It is not
> >as consise, but we could agree on a subset of it to use. The Inventor file
> >format is public domain (ie: OPEN Inventor). It is available on many platforms
> >and it is available in both binary and ascii file formats
> I wouldn't call the Open Inventor file format public domain unless we've
> seen something from SGI that declares it in the public domain. However, I
> wouldn't expect to get any hassle from SGI just because we display objects
> by reading in files that use the Inventor format.

It's that ambiguity that makes me (and others) uneasy, I think. Same
reason RTF wasn't chosen when HTML was being invented. However, I don't
hold it as a given that SGI couldn't come out and say "yes, not only is
it open and you can use it, but we guarantee that we'll only add more
features or extend these built-in characteristics, and here's how others
can build in functionality too...", and in that case we might be able to
use it. The licensing issue must be resolved first, though, and I don't
know if there's anyone from SGI on the list here capable of addressing
those concerns. To me, the requirement that the language be as open and
freely usable as HTML is very important - it's the whole point behind
this effort, so if I seem guarded about it that's why.

> Also, I believe that the other platforms will not have Open Inventor until
> late this year. The only company I know of that is working on a port is
> Portable Graphics.

It might be that Inventor is too heavy-duty for our purposes - we want
something so easy to parse that browsers for all platforms can be created
without too much effort. Inventor might have a lot of pre-made code
behind it, but if it's only on SGI platforms, and too complex for free
browsers to be made for other platforms, that's a problem. And I don't
expect SGI to be making an effort to port to other platforms, simply
because their software and hardware come as a package.