Speaking for myself NOT for others about OI

Mark D. Pesce (mpesce@butterfly.net)
Fri, 9 Sep 1994 17:34:32 -0400 (EDT)

On Fri, 9 Sep 1994, Linas Vepstas wrote:

> > VRML List Members:
> >
> > [ ... ]
> >
> > and asked people who have a considerable background in graphics and/or
> > languages, parsers and compilers to evaluate OI, then report their findings.
> > The results came back *uniformly* positive;
> THIS IS NOT TRUE. I've posted a number of notes to this group
> bashing Inventor. I'll do some more below.

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE, acutally, as I've been in close collaboration
with people who have, in total, well over 100 years in computer graphics,
including academics, commercial users, etc. Names can be provided upon
request. Privately.

I did not ask you, nor do I mean to imply that I did.

> I can only conclude that you interviewed a narrow segment of the
> population.

Please refrain from making assumptions about my behaviors.
I will refrain from making assumptions about your attitudes.

> > Nevertheless, we don't have much time at all. We will be presenting a
> > specification document at WWWF '94, just *six weeks* from now. We can have
> > a specification done by then, we can present it to the community; but if we
> > argue on whether to use BEGIN or {, it'll be the millennium before we get a
> > specification written.
> Having participated in good faith in the VRML discussions, I wouldn't
> be too happy if you went off and published a paper that said "VRML
> is Inventor." I have no problem your saying "Inventor Integrated
> with WWW"

You are not the entire community; that community is forming a *clear*
consensus around OI. I, for one, can not hope to satisfy everyone's
needs in this community, but I can hope to work toward solutions which
will suffice ("satisfice" is the word from _Out of Control_). Having
participated in this community in good faith, I also realized that it is
impossible to please everyone, but that consensus should rule the day.

> I am seriously concerned that adpoting Inventor in its current state
> would be a serious impediment to future enhancement, upgradagbility,
> and tunability of VRML viewers. The Inventor file format resembles
> the Inventor API, which, in turn, is uncomfortably close to the
> OpenGL API.

This statement is *radically* false, and is based upon a fundamental
misunderstanding of how OI operates. And using OI's syntax for VRML does
not imply, at any point, that OI is actually being used for anything.

> I am concerned that once you agree to read Inventor file format,
> you will discover that you will have to use Inventor source code
> to visualize the stuff. You will not be able to create a radically
> different visualization library underneath the veneer. And if you
> can't do that, you can't performance tune, and therefore, you
> can't market your viewer as "faster" or "better". Your only choice
> is to license your code from SGI, and you'll learn to love it, warts
> and all.

A total misrepresentation of the facts, again, and groundless.
We are talking about an ASCII syntax, *not* OI as distrubted by SGI.
Scare tactics are not the best ones to pursuade people with.

> I've heard computer industry professionals use the same words as drug
> dealers: "The first bag is free." (None of these people work at IBM,
> and I'd get sued for libel if I told you who said this).

It is not SGI's spec. It is ours, that is, the Web community's. They
are getting nothing for it. They keep nothing from it. We are free to
deviate, at will, from it for our own ends. As I point out.

More scare tactics.

> I would be very open to basing a VRML that was a stripped-down version
> of the Inventor file format. There is a lot of goodness in Inventor,
> along with a lot of junk.

Which is *precisely* what I am suggesting.

> And if you don't own an SGI box, you must not be on the Web ??????

I do most of my work under MS-WINDOWS, actually, and plan to continue, as
that's *my* target market. However, if I'm an ad agency, or a film
producer, I already have the SGIs.

> Masking this realization as a non-partisan "contribution to the net" which
> "we" should endorse is disengenous, embarassing, and a disservice to the
> community.

*Now* I take the gloves off. The rest of you may not want to read this,
as I suspect it will hurt.

Linas -

There is a difference between being strident and being nasty. You've
crossed the line. Actually, I'm doing almost all of my VRML work for
free, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I live to
see the "visions" document come to life on the Web as a set of servies
available through VRML. As I will soon post, I have spent the last three
weeks touring the country, front-loading content for VRML when it is
announced/released on 17 October. We have been at this proces fsor 4
months already, soon to be five, and you walked in the middle and
have basically been acting like you own the place since then. Well, I've
been a little bit too busy making VRML *real* to piss on your camfire,
but listen here - PUT OR SHUT UP. I'm not at this to get rich (you should
ask anyone whom I do work with, as they'll tell you how I'm just about in
backruptcy form day to day, because I foolishly follow this quest rather
than getting a high paying job in the industry, because this is what I
love, not because I see a huge pot of gold at the end of it), and I spend
time getting people to *do* things with VRML, rather than making a series
of rather *lackluster* postings about this or that minor detail. My goal
in life right now is to see VRML *freely* available everywhere, and I've
lost jobs, money and a boyfriend to this so far, so don't ASSUME you know
anything about my motives execpt that, to any standard you could hope to
hold me to, I'd look so lilly white I'd burn your eyes out.

And that's just about that - I apologize to everyone else for my tone of

Mark Pesce
VRML List Moderator