Re: Speaking for myself NOT for others about OI

Linas Vepstas (
Fri, 9 Sep 1994 19:43:45 -0500

Hello Mark,

After re-reading my original note, I see that I may have put
some things too strongly. I was afraid that if I didn't put
it strongly, it would not have been heard.

> Date: Fri, 9 Sep 1994 17:34:32 -0400 (EDT)
> From: "Mark D. Pesce" <>
> Subject: Speaking for myself NOT for others about OI
> To: Linas Vepstas <>
> Cc:,
> 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 am not sure what to make of this last comment. Are you saying that
the discussions that occur on the VRML mailing list do not count
for anything?

I also don't understand what "Privately." means. I can read the headers
on all the VRML mail I get, so I have a pretty good idea who's
sending it ...


> > > 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.

Of the three or four months in which this mailing list has been in existance,
I beleive I've read about half the correspondance. I have not seen a whole
lot of "community" support or advocacy for Inventor. I certainly have not
sensed a "consensus". Then again, there's the other half of the mail I haven't
read ...


> > 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 am concerned that the only efficient way to read and visualize
Inventor File Format ASCII files is to use viewers that are built
with Inventor. I was trying to express this as a concern and not
as a fact.

I can attest that I've tried to write an Inventor file format reader
several times, and have given up due to the complexity of the syntax.
Then again, the attempts lasted some afternoons. The attempts
were not made by teams of ten people slaving away for months. But
my first impression was that the file format was close to the
Inventor C++ toolkit. But I could be very wrong.


> > 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.


> *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
> voice.
> Mark Pesce
> VRML List Moderator