Re: Inventor file format

D. Owen Rowley (
Tue, 21 Jun 1994 10:40:07 -0700

> From: (John W. Barrus)
> I agree that we need a statement from SGI about using the file format, just
> to make sure we aren't asking for trouble in the future. By the way, there
> are several companies selling modelers which use the Inventor file format
> and libraries. That fact makes me believe that we won't get any trouble
> from SGI for promoting the OpenInventor data file format.

This issue is really more complex than it seems.
Every commercial company with a file format ( or other internal standard )
would like to see it become ubiquitous and necesary for future devlopment
of public technologys - it gives their internal applications a commercial

Autodesk knows this well, as our DXF file format and our 3DS format
have both been well received in the market place.

Less well known is our CDF ( cyberspace description file -format )

Other areas of thechnology have seen some pretty bloody battles over
whos standard will become standard, and quite often *the best standard* does
not win the day. The power politics of corporate reality are always around
the corner when you are dealing with a companys proprietary standard,
and I think that dismissing the issue of SGI's role to merely asking for
a statement is naive.

> There are no distribution royalties for the SGI executables because every
> SGI comes with Inventor run-time libraries. One easy way to start would be
> to use an SGI to create the first Mosaic-like client using Inventor. That
> executable and source could be freely distributed without royalties or
> legal action.

Again, the facts are that SGI's position in the marketplace is pretty
far down on the food chain. There are ~60 million PC class machines out here
and the reality of the marketplace is that before too long we will be
seeing home-based machines with processing and display power beyond
the level of todays workstations being employed as *multi-media terminals*
(my terminology for what the industry is calling set-top boxes)

The battles that will ensue are not yet begun.

In conversation outside this list, some of us have taken to using the
metaphor of *baby cyberspace*. We speak of it as an infant who has just
emerged from the womb -

I think its a good metaphor, and allows us to understand that baby
has to first open its eyes, then learn each and every day how to do
new things until it has a basic set of capabilitys. It must learn
to crawl before it can run.

transplanting an infant into an adults body from another time
and place may make good science fiction, but its not good science.

in my opinion of course.

LUX ./. owen