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Mac OS X Solutions for Stereographic Applications 41

Posted by pudge
from the move-over-sgi dept.
SavoWood writes "In a realm which was (IIRC) SGI-only, a new tennant has moved in. It looks like the molecular biologists et al of the world will be able to send their SGIs off to the pasture and forget about the $500/yr. software updates, in favor of running their stereographic applications on Darwin/Mac OS X. A sales rep from Apple just sent me a press release with the link to StereoGraphics, a company that makes stereoscopic visualization products. Now, to send this message into the meat shredder of why you should do everything on SGI and how Darwin is just a playtoy... *GRIN*"
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Mac OS X Solutions for Stereographic Applications

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  • by blaqsun (643717)
    Never before in the history of comouting has the consumer had so much power and convenience available to him. What only ten years ago was viewed as a super-computing application is now freely offered to anyone with the hardware to support it-- genetic sequencing, video editing, 3D graphics, explosion reproduction. It is in this climate that we must ask ourselves what the next step will be, and where we will allow it to take us.

    In 1996, SGI (formerly Silicon Graphics, Inc.) swapped out their home-grown operating system and processor-- IRIX and MIPS, respectively-- for commodity components Linux and IA32. Today, SGI is in the doghouse and fares little better than any other PC vendor. Into the gap left by SGI came Apple, who in 1996 themselves purchased what is arguably the most advanced UNIX in existance: OPENSTEP, aka Mac OS X.

    Now with QuickTime 6.1 and Quartz Extreme, is there anything that can stop Apple's juggernaut-lke race to be king of the high-end server market? Only lack of hardware to run their crown jewels on. The Mac is so good at what it does, Apple is pressing Motorola and IBM for PowerPC chips that can meet the exhaustive demands of new high-end customers. The best of both breeds, Apple offers scalable, high-end UNIX to the Fortune 500 clientele as well as ease of use and simplicity to its private consumers. With things going so well, Apple seems to be on an unstoppable rise.
    • Unstoppable might be a bit much, but it IS nice to see some of their recent decisions paying off.

      The StereoGraphics press release:
      http://www.stereographics.com/news_about_us/03news /pr021203b.html
    • by torpor (458)
      Never before in the history of comouting has the consumer had so much power and convenience available to him.

      Never before? Maybe, but then why do we keep hearing this phrase, year after year ...
      • by ZxCv (6138)
        Never before in the history of comouting has the consumer had so much power and convenience available to him.


        Never before? Maybe, but then why do we keep hearing this phrase, year after year ...


        Because the power available to the consumer grows year after year, making it true year after year?
      • It's Moore's law. Every year is the best year ever for consumers for computers.

        All praise Saint Gordon!
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bastian (66383) on Friday February 14, 2003 @07:04PM (#5306099)
      (I realize the above is a troll, but I'm bored at work so I'll bite at it.)

      1) SGI has not swapped out Irix and MIPS. They sell Linux/x86 and NT/x86 equipment in addition to Irix and MIPS. If you want the good stuff, you still gotta use Irix.

      2) Openstep is NOT a Unix. It's a programming toolkit, just like GTK+ and Cocoa. (heck, Cocoa basically is Openstep.
      Even if you were to argue that Nextstep was the most advanced Unix at the time, you would have an uphill battle. Its GUI was the best ever made, but things under the hood weren't as beautiful - I would use a NeXT as a workstation, but never a server.

      3) Apple has NOT filled the gap made by SGI. Cheap ass x86 hardware has.

      4) Back to OpenStep - OpenStep isn't Mac OS X. Mac OS X's API is based on OpenStep, and they both use a Mach kernel. Virtually everything else is different.

      5) What in the @$#@(#@$&@!$@#% does Quicktime have to do with servers?

      6) They need higher-end hardware to meet the exhaustive demands Aqua is more like it.
      • Even if you were to argue that Nextstep was the most advanced Unix at the time, you would have an uphill battle. Its GUI was the best ever made, but things under the hood weren't as beautiful"

        I beg to differ... NeXT had the best GUI [for Unix]? You should really try taking a look at Mac OS X [apple.com].

      • 5) What in the @$#@(#@$&@!$@#% does Quicktime have to do with servers?
        Streaming QuickTime content has a lot to do with servers (serving the media, that is).
      • Just to clarify: 'OpenStep' was the API. 'OPENSTEP' was the implementation (aka the OS).
        OPENSTEP is a UNIX the same as NeXTStep was a UNIX and Mac OS X is a UNIX or Solaris is a UNIX...

      • 1) Regardless of the OPENSTEP discussion, Apple is on the list of vendors that support the single Unix specification. OS X is a UNIX variant just like Linux or BSD... I dont see any harm in being a variant.

        Platform Vendors Supporting the Single UNIX Specification [unix-systems.org]

        2) I would argue that Apple has taken over some SGI market share. Personally, I use Maya 4.5 on OS X. I used to use Softimage on an SGI. (The Irix user experience is a lot more buggy than OS X BTW).

        3) Quicktime is server software, therefore I would say that it has something to do with servers.

        Quicktime Streaming Server [apple.com]

        4) Yes, Apple will always need higher-end hardware...There will never be a time when people say "Damn this hardware is just too fast for me".
    • Geesh dude - you sound like a sports caster. "Juggernaut-like"??? Quicktime and quartz extreme!?!?! These don't even RUN on high-end servers! High end servers don't even have monitors! This has gotta be a troll - who the &*(#* mod'd it up?
      • It sounds oddly like the *BSD troll. There's something surreal about hearing a freaking Operating System described in such breathy, urgent prose. It feels almost.... dirty.....
    • I'm down with Apple as much as the next guy, but your drinkin some serious "infinite loop" kool-aid... They make great products for sure, but they have alot to figure out before they are going to "take over the world" like your suggesting here. Regards...and thanks for the public service announcement....JROCK
  • Finally (Score:3, Funny)

    by halepark (578694) on Friday February 14, 2003 @06:09PM (#5305761)
    ...stereographic nipples for the masses!
  • by spooje (582773) <spoojeNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Friday February 14, 2003 @06:10PM (#5305773) Homepage
    At RIT's computer graphics design program we've been playing around with stereoscopic images for about a year now. At first I was skeptical about intentionally giving people headaches (it's like focusing on those 3D paintings at the mall) but man you get some great results! At the moment I'm working on a 3D tank game in Director 3D and combining it with sterographic monitors (we have 2 IBMs with the monitors and stereo cameras). I haven't quite gotten it to work correctly, but man these games take on a whole new dynamic with an extra dimension! Since I'm about to graduate I've been kind of bummed I won't have the equipment to play with anymore, but now that there's a mac version I think I'll definately plunk down the cash to continue working. It may not be widely adapted yet, but in a few years some sort of real 3D with creep into most higher end games.
  • I am not trying to troll but.... I respect darwin as a distro and realize that Apple only gains by having it so. But aside from a few hardcore programmers it doesnt seem like it will ever become anykind of an everyday use system. To me it seems that apple has darwin opensource for 2 reasons: to give kernel hackers something to do (which benefits apple) and PR (which benefits apple). Ok back to the original post (and my point) is there anything built for darwin and not for OSX? will there ever be any reason to ::sigh:: when you see the apple logo at startup the first time only to uninstall it and run darwin with a open window manager (remind you of any other old procedure)?
    • by mkiwi (585287) on Friday February 14, 2003 @07:50PM (#5306378)
      Darwin is actually what Mac OS X users to do its dirty work. Darwin is the collective name of the Mach-O kernel and BSD4.4.

      The kernel controls everything and the bsd layer is essential for software development. Without the BSD layer, the mac could not compile regular unix software or compile any software made in project builder.

      What you refer to as "Mac OS X" is actually the quartz rendering layer and an application called the finder.

      The point is that Darwin and Quartz make an incredible combination, making application development really nice. Someone could add a library that did the same work as Quartz's, but there's absolutely nothing that can compete with Quartz's rendering capabilities.

      There's no comperable product on the Windows or the UNIX/Linux side, but anything built on a plain-old darwin system can have a regular kde/windowmaker/gtk/etc. with standard xfree86 libraries and headers.

      Apple's new X11 server can replace the stardard Aqua window manager, if you know how. If you don't know how, you have no business even touching that functionality.

      Another point: darwin can be run in its purest, UNIX form with xfree86. Startup will display the standard logging that anyone would see in a Linux system instead of the Apple logo. This can be done even if Mac OS X is installed, if you know how. Again, if you don't know how, you probably have no business complaining about Mac OS X.

      Darwin w/ KDE can, and has been done successfully, on many systems, including my system. However, if one has the hardware to use Mac OS X and all its assorted components, what is the point of using software than isn't nearly as nice as Mac OS X?



    • To me it seems that apple has darwin opensource for 2 reasons: to give kernel hackers something to do (which benefits apple) and PR (which benefits apple).

      The purpose of Darwin is to make life easier for people writing drivers and other OS-level software for Mac OS X. In the old days, it was a major pain to go though the legal process to get access to OS source.

      -jcr
  • by Nathan Ramella (629875) on Friday February 14, 2003 @07:57PM (#5306421) Homepage
    I guess the nine people who use this are so estatic they're busy getting price lists for switching to Apples rather than posting their adulation...
    • Heh. Why I thought anyone on apple /. would actually have a useful comment about this is beyond me. As someone who uses stereo hardware for crystallography and may have to set up a structural biology lab in the (hopefully) near future, it is nice to see another major hurdle overcome. The other major hurdle is of course getting the authors of the programs to incorporate stereo support for their applications. Luckily most of the "bread and butter" apps have already been ported over. In the x-ray crystallography lab I am in we have an equal number of SGI Octanes and Macs, in the future this duality will hopefully be unnecesary, freeing up funds so that everyone can have their own (Mac OS X) workstation.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually there have been stereo glasses available some time. More than one company has offered this. For example genomix.fr was a company that made a molecular graphics software for OS X. it went bust (I fergit the other company's s name right now) the problem has been that software like pymol, and divers for the video systems have not supported them.
  • I would love to see that press release. It doesn't appear to be on the Apple website yet.

    I'm really curious how Apple is going to price stereo support. Currently, NVidia and ATI make you buy the workstation version of their video cards, a $800 to $1500 card, instead of a $200 to $400 consumer card, if you want a stereo connector with driver support. If Apple sells stereo at a small premimum, then that reduces the market for the high-margin workstation cards. Not clear if NVidia or ATI will let them or continue to sell to Apple.

    Another interesting aspect to this is that Apple writes its own drivers for NVidia and ATI chips and right now Apple has the buggiest OpenGL drivers out there (i.e., my molecular graphics application can crash Mac OS X doing legal OpenGL, -- works fine on Linux and Windows with similar chips, and on SGIs). There are tricky aspects to adding stereo support to the drivers if you want the stereo drawing to be in a window with the GUI drawn normally (with Aqua in mono). I hope the Apple driver team is up to the task!

    • i think that we are going to see more graphics hardware and driver support for the mac. Esp. since Alias Wavefront's Maya runs natively. From what ive been hearing its runs very well on newer Macs, and has become a fairly popular hardware choice for Maya users. There are also a number of other 3D packages on OSX, Lightwave and Cinema 4D spring to mind immediately. Macs have only recently become a good choice for 3d graphics professionals, especially since they probably have to use them for other parts of their workflow.

      What im getting at is, i wonder how long it will be until we start to see developer boards (read Quadro and Fire GL and Wildcat) released for the Mac. Im sure hardware support is a reason that most 3d packages dont have a mac port.

      but maybe the real reason im bitter is i have to use a PC to run AW Studiotools, when Maya runs in OSX... grumble... grumble...

    • my molecular graphics application can crash Mac OS X doing legal OpenGL

      You've filed a bug report at bugreporter.apple.com, I hope?

      -jcr

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