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Silicon Graphics

SGI announces port of IRIS Performer 46

SGI just announced a Linux porting effort for IRIS Performer. Performer is an OpenGL-based scene graph library optimized for visual simulation; it's used in areas like military and commercial flight simulation, as well as the rides at DisneyQuest. Release is expected before the end of 1999. Performer is designed to drive the fastest graphics hardware and run the most demanding graphics apps in existence, so this is very good news.
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SGI announces port of IRIS Performer

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  • Last I heard Farhenheit was the mixing of Microsoft's Direct3D and Open GL. Microsoft is heavily involved in its creation and is putting parts of it into all future DirectXes. I doubt Microsoft would allow a port of it to Linux. As for COM, I think that KDE people are making a functional equivelent called KOM.
    If you look at the menu you will see the item
    OpenGL: The road ahead
    As I remember wasn't that the name of Bill's book?
    I sense a conspiracy here. (If you like conspiracy theories look in the MaximumPC Issue One, there is a theory about MS holding down SGI while Intel takes over nVidia, sticks it to 3Dfx, and then support D3D only so OpenGL on windows dies and the John Carmacks of the land are punished for not using D3D.)
  • Has anyone noticed a similarity between TummyX and
    the infamous Borris of comp.os.linux.advocacy fame? TummyX seems to have a better command of English than comrade Borris, but the preponderance
    of 'geee's and missing function words is striking.
    BTW, I've compiled a fortune file of Borris quotes -- perfect for noseguy. Email me if you're interested.
  • Ok, I see your point, But my Apps are Sims not RTFPS games. [/:-)

    However from the looks of it Performer will
    do just fine for most of my needs for a Ogl

    Thanx for the link
  • Go look at them again. The number of polygons onscreen in some of those shots are orders of magnitude better than anything the q3 engine can do on today's PCs. q3 is an excellent engine, but its hamstrung by the hardware it runs on. Even the biggest, baddest ass PIII with a TNT2 can't come close to an Infinite Reality2.
  • 3w3 R an 3l33t hax0r. 3y3 ph33r 3w3 and j00r p0ss3.

  • How does she like waiting 5 minutes for StarOffice to load? Or how does she like it when X crashes? ;P

    Ok, with 1400K of free physical memory (out of 96M total) it took ~20 seconds. And X hasn't crashed on her yet. I run *a lot* of software and I'm thinking of getting an additional 128M. That would certainly speed it up. Don't buy cheap no-name brand components for any computer. That'll often cause failure in Linux, because Linux actually uses it where win barely does. See the Sig11 FAQ for the facts on that.

    She *hates* 98. I put in a new NIC and let win install a driver for it, which causes a blue screen on startup, and the network doesn't work. Rather than mess around with it, I let Linux do it properly.

    It doesn't handle not being shutdown very well (powerless etc)

    It handles it fine, especially for a server where you don't have to press 'enter' a bunch of times for no reason. Nice list of options there: press enter to continue, or turn off your computer and never use it again.

    Any serious server should have a UPS anyway.

    Oh yeah, I've had to use VC++ at a previous job and hated it. KDevelop is only at 0.4 and isn't nearly finished yet. But it's quite useable for me so far.
  • It makes sense in a way, having the Linux standard base, then companies such as Sun, SGI, IBM? including value-added components on top. If this scenario comes into play, there will be a above-line, below-line divide with everything below the line being free (and coincidently similar functionality to a certain unnamed OS). Companies are not stupid, after seeing what integrating browsers can do to the competition, they're going to return the favor in spades.

    As for Java, it will be interesting to see how far Sun/IBM will push that barrow in their server centric platforms. The question that Linux has to face is

    a) What modularity/extensions will be supported (kernel+application) in the future
    b) How do applications talk to each other in a coherent language (XML?)
    c) Can one increase complexity while maintaining stability?

    I don't know about others but IMHO component technology is still relatively painful to use. Either that or I'm so far behind the learning curve all I can see is a brick wall to bash my head against.

  • Open Inventor has already been ported.

    You can buy it from TGS [].

    It's a bit pricey, though. (surprise)

    There are also a couple of open source implementations ( Scene [] and Coin []), in varying stages of development:

  • I think it's a little rediculis to say that someone is a microsoft employe just beacuse they prefer MS, or think there products arn't shit.

    before I installed this shitty $16 winmodem, that monopolizes my CPU, windows *never* crashed (and this was windows 98 to. Now I get these weird errors where the screen goes blank and the kb stops working, but I can still hear the MP3 i was listening to... (this only happens when i'm online and listening to an mp3))

    There's no reason to think that MS employese *dont't* troll this place. after the second (or was that the 3rd) Mindcraft tests, the number of *pro* MS posts rose very sharply.

    you know who I think is an MSer? that william wallice guy, the one who's sig is "Why are so many startrack fans UNIX lovers, when was the last time you heard a captan say 'computer bring up the command line'" (note, this dosn't actualy make any sense, but whatever)
    although he does make a lot of non-ms related posts as well.

    well it's 3am and I've been trying to get that damn new quake3demo to squeeze through my 44,000kbps pipe, witch dosn't like to stay connected to the internet. whatever
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • You are quite right. Performer is not an application, it is an API. It should allow graphics applications suited to this type of programming paradigm to maximize performance from Linux systems without requiring the developer to have the same level of expertise or spend the time which would otherwise be required for this kind of performance.

    It should also facilitate the porting of a number of high performance graphics applications to Linux. You must understand that any application which sits on middleware like IRIS Performer must implement vast ammounts of functionality from scratch to be ported to another platform if the API does not exist there. Now Performer WILL exist on Linux. Do not underestimate the value of having this API ported to Linux.
  • According to their roadmap, there is an SGI/Linux compatibility library to be in-place by 2003.

    I had thought that this would just let Irix run Linux programs (perhaps with recompile), but it
    might just be two-way (or the other way around!)

  • I warned you, didn't I?

    I'm just posting for the first time. Checking to see if the formatting is correct.

    Have a nice day.

    ps: does this LINK [] work?

  • I was a MS employee.
  • As I understand it, Performer can be builtup
    under OpenInventor. So why not do it right
    and release OpenInventor4Linux.

    Any one have more info on this[mongoose]?
  • It is good to see SGI taking a leadership role in advancing graphics and OpenSource for Linux. To expand a little bit on their roadmap (

    IRIS Performer
    IRIS Performer is primarily aimed at developers of real-time, multiprocessed, interactive graphics applications ... While a number of developers currently using IRIS Performer will be able to migrate to the new Fahrenheit Scene Graph API, we do not foresee the first version of Fahrenheit meeting the needs of the entire marketplace served by IRIS Performer. That being said, SGI will continue to invest in enhancements to IRIS Performer in support of real-time applications and the Onyx2 marketplace for the foreseeable future.

    I hope that the new Farenheit APIs can be massaged to retrofit the Performer APIs (though anything mixing multithreading, real-time and fast graphics is sure to be mind-numbing). The challenge for the developer community now is to work out higher-level control/interaction systems and interface them with OpenGL scene graphs. One interesting trend is the use of physics based worlds (see MathEngine as the need to cleanly separate the physical reality from the representation and display reality.

    Given that game boxes such as Sony have recommended the use of Linux, it will be interesting to see whether general purpose PC-based boxes are relegated to development for single-tasked appliances or whether "convergence" means everything will be mixed up.

    SGI do make some nice hardware. For example, their R10K supports hardware-based performance monitoring. I just hope their products remain price-competitive to justify the premium. If the computer industry can be compared with the car, then we have the consumers (Ford/Mazda, Intel, AMD) versus the specialists/industrial (Volvo, SGI, IBM). However, learning to drive in one should make it easier to cross over to the next level (no foreign instructions, custom gear boxes or lockin licenses). That's why I think we should applaud SGI for porting their APIs across and why it should benefit the computer industry as a whole.

  • This really makes my day. :) This brings us a step closer to getting linux boxes in the visualization lab at school. I can't wait for Maya, that would complete it, we'd pretty much go totally with new linux boxes then unless there were some major reasons not to. I love it... :)~
  • by jfunk ( 33224 ) <> on Friday July 16, 1999 @07:16PM (#1798402) Homepage
    Ok, I just got home in a cab (you know why :-)* ) and what you said prompted me to reply about applications.

    I've been running Linux since '93 do I've got quite a bias. However, advocacy in the way I do it works (especially when talking to programmers).

    My mother used excel since the Win3.1 days until I bought a new PC that included Lotus Smartsuite 97. She was hooked. She never looked back on Excel. I moved her to my brothers Win computer so that she could use 1-2-3 because LILO often dumped her into the Linux console if she waited too long (5 seconds). This confused her and I was often woken up from hangovers to help her get into Win or attempt to recover from a BSOD.

    Recently (a couple of months ago) I installed SuSE. She loves it. Linux doesn't crash on her and she's happy with StarOffice. I'll soon show her LyX, which I'm sure she'll take to. She avoids my brother's Win machine simply because it crashes. And the vnc server simply blew her mind. I also installed a PHP/MySQL site I developed at school and now she has access to a contact database from anywhere with Internet access.

    The way many programmers think (if they don't, they should) is 'Will my mother use it?' I think Linux currently has that capability as long as there is an admin (me, in this case) who can solve problems.

    Just a year ago, I would never have pushed it on her. Times change, and she's happy for it.

    She loves the 'no crashing' idea, because she's plain sick of blue screens. When I told her it didn't have to be like that, she was all ears.

    So my point (I'm currently 'under the infulence' so please excuse typos, etc, if you've been in this state :-)* ) is that applications are currently available under Linux, and therefore any *NIX. I'm currently praising KDE, because it has so much potential (try KDevelop, I now depend on it. Also check out the documentation, wow) as an API and a way to bring Win users over to the light side.

    ESR said that someday people won't tolerate crashes anymore. It's starting to happen.

    Rock on,
  • Fahrenheit has never made sense to me.

    I worked with Paul Strauss, Rikk Carey, et al, on Iris Inventor
    back in '92 and '93, and enjoyed the work, the people, the
    environment, and the project -- although now I consider the
    idea of a toolkit at the level Inventor was designed to fill an
    impossible goal, once a toolkit is powerful enough to fulfiill the
    requirements of Inventor, it circumscribes the problems that it
    can solve.

    Anyway, I talked to Paul Strauss at last year's Siggraph in
    Orlando, and he told me not to worry, that Fahrenheit
    wouldn't replace OpenGL (which I believe is amazingly
    good); and that the Microsoft people were behaving
    appropriately, that is, they had reasonable respect for SGI's
    experience in 3D graphics libraries.

    Still, it's been a year, and I have seen no progress whatsoever
    toward these new libraries. Perhaps there is internal
    'Developer's Program' documentation to which I am not

    I note with some amusement that the only question posed
    and not answered at

    is "How does IRIS Performer relate to the Fahrenheit
    Project?" Every other question in the table of contents
    is answered below.

    I'm sure that I'll find out what the current status of
    Fahrenheit is at Siggraph in LA next month, I hope that
    my prayers are answered and Fahrenheit was just a bone
    tossed to Microsoft, that will be buried in the backyard
    and never seen again :)
  • Yeah and [Brian Green:Apprentice] project
    has some good code in this area too.

    TGS is out to lunch, I might pay but not
    under their/that license. my2c
  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Friday July 16, 1999 @07:17PM (#1798406) Homepage
    Actually, I think that we can expect to see a lot more from SGI over the next few years.

    Of course, their huge contribution so far is (the promise of) XFS. Linux and other OSS systems are stealing a few years of progress from that; a journaled file system is a big step towards being truly enterprise ready.

    The reason I predict we'll see more from these folks is that one of their VP's (Beau something-I-can't-spell) came out earlier this week and said that there'll only be three OSes in ten years, and IRIX ain't on the list. Assuming that SGI's planning to be around in a decade, and assuming that they're not stupid enough to want to pay the MS-Tax for their entire server line, they have a vested interest in seeing Linux evolve.

    Of course, personally I think VP Beau is wrong; I have a feeling that IBM/Sequent's new "next gen UNIX" offering is going to crash and burn on the launch pad -- the potential market's got to be really leary of anything resembling another splinter of UNIX. I can't imagine why they're wasting their time with it and not contributing to Linux; you'd think the suits would have learned by now that you can't play on Microsoft's terms and win.

    In any event, I'm looking forward to seeing more quantum leaps with companies donating their "best of the breed" niches to the Second Coming of UNIX. I think the rate will pick up as more companies finally realize that they can't turn back the tide of NT by themselves, and that Linux is their only realistic hope to avoid becoming Just Another Windows OEM.


  • How does she like waiting 5 minutes for StarOffice to load? Or how does she like it when X crashes? ;P

    ok, so it may not happen for you. but windows rarely crashes for me - but then again, i run nt not 9x :)))

    Excel is faster than StarOffice tho. It's ok unless you start wanting to extend it's functionality - and then you can't. Unlike Excel/Office where i can do anything i want to with it (even without the source).

    KDevelop is very very good for a relatively new project. It's not as good as VC++, but it's very impressive. I pretty much depend on it now too :).

    I don't tolerate crashes now. But I don't think Linux is crash free. It's filesystem has totally stuffed up on my more than once, causing dataloss. It doesn't handle not being shutdown very well (powerless etc) - until XFS gets ported and into a distribution, it's vaporware.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Folks, please read about Performer first! Yes, it's an awsome set of tools to create high-end (read: professional, not just another Quake) simulation software. It is not an application, nor is it graphics software. Also, it's been around for a long time, most screenshots of software made with Performer libraries are old, very old. Several date back long before PC users even have the Pentium processors.
  • As long as SGI is giving products away,
    it would be nice to see some hobbiest
    initiatives for older MIPS machines, such as
    IRIX 5.3 and performer 2.0 at least.
    Even along the lines of DEC's OpenVMS
    hobbiest licensing for current products.

    SGI is adding VALUE to linux, not just more
    software, like other offerings. Return the
    value to loyal customers, and enthusiast too!
  • Now we just need to convince MultiGen to port Creator to Linux so we can have a tool with which to create OpenFlight objects that can be loaded into Performer.
  • lets not get to paranoid, but look at TummyX's posts in his userinfo...
  • by Performer Guy ( 69820 ) on Friday July 16, 1999 @08:18PM (#1798413)
    I am a developer on the Performer team at SGI. IRIS Performer is not built under or over Open Inventor it runs on OpenGL. It cannot be used with Open Inventor within an application although it can load Inventor file formats into the scene graph. To support older SGI systems it can also run on IrisGL by linking to a different set of libraries. Mongoose is just a project code name so Performer on Linux is nicknamed mongoose.

    IRIS Performer and Inventor have quite different design objectives. Performer focuses on maximum Performance and scalability (fast hardware, multiple processors and multiple graphics pipes), Inventor is designed for ease of use and user manipulation of 3D data. Performer also has more of an emphasis on features and file formats required by the simulation and training industries.

    For tutorials on how to program with Performer as well as lots of screen shots & source code of some advanced Performer demos see: []

    This should give you a taste of the kind of graphics empowered by IRIS Performer and how you go about writing code for them using the API.
  • I used Performer for a year and a half at a previous job and it is excellent! I'm glad to see they're porting it to Linux. Now I just have to get after them about a BeOS port... :)
  • Correct, it IS older than Doom, and about the same age and Wolfenstein 3D, but maybe Wolf'3D predates it slightly.
  • perhaps, but it should scale fairly well. It'll be a while before we do stuff like hardware radiosity anyway, so until then we'll just do radiosity light maps using radiance. Considering how fast 3D hardware is getting, should be able to do curved surfaces fairly easily, and some other neat stuff. The lightscape scenes on the images page looked pretty impressive!

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.