Re: Inventor + n-dimensions

Lar Kaufman (
Wed, 22 Jun 1994 14:30:56 -0400

> Yes, to the best of my knowledge Open Inventor file format is there free
> for the using - ascii or binary is ok. This is exactly like Postscript.

I hope not. Adobe presented PostScript as a "free" standard and then
reasserted control later by registering PostScript as a trademark. While
there was a plausible argument that Adobe was simply protecting the
"standardness" of PostScript, in effect it was cutting itself a market
advantage by revising the specifications without sharing the information
with other vendors. The result was a lot of frustration and extra costs
for the consumer - and still is. Were it not for the availability of
Ghostscript, I would not accept PostScript as a standard format for my
printing and display needs today. As it is, I still can't be sure that
a file that prints on our Apple LaserWriter will work on our HP or QMS
printer. (And lets not even discuss how Adobe altered some font metrics
on a major typeface without any notice or acknowledgement to the public.)

In other words, Open Inventor file format should be formally and explicitly
"free" or we should think twice about accepting it. A major issue is the
question of who amends the standard. I'm suspicious of any standard where
a for-profit corporation has control of further development of the standard.
You can work around this to some extent, as the Free Software Foundation did
with GhostScript, but in fact, Adobe still has the control and thus the
competitive advantage in PostScript development. I'd go a bit further and
suggest that we should go for a standard that would be controlled by an
organization such as the FSF, GCA, or X/Open after it is adopted and ironed