Re: VisAD alive?

Hi Andreas,

You resend has not appeared on the mailing list, so you
might want to look into that with the Unidata folks.
Meanwhile, I will answer your original questions.

> My name is Andreas Rueger and I am a Geophysicist working for Landmark
> Graphics in Denver. I spent some time looking at VisAD this week. As a
> first impression, I have been very impressed by both scope and design of
> the project, but I have some issues that worry me and I would very much
> appreciate your input. In particular, I am not yet convinced that the
> VisAD project is healthy and growing.  Here are some specific examples:
>
> -          You as the apparent key developer seem to have moved on

I am officially retired, but still have an office at the
university, still answer questions on the mailing list,
and still advise the active developers. VisAD is still
being actively developed by some of the best programmers
anywhere and plays a sufficiently important role in the
futures of SSEC and Unidata that development will
continue for years, as will my current involvement.

> -          The Sourceforge project appears to be inactive

We only set up the VisAD project on SourceForge to
prevent anyone else from setting up such a project and
confusing the VisAD community. The real action is at:

  http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/~billh/visad.html

> -          I could not get subscribed to your email list even though I
> send 3 mails to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx and majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

_From your subsequent message it looks like you are now
subscribed. I don't know why your resent of these questions
did not appear.

> -          Some of the documentation on the web page is old and not
> up-to-date

Please be more specific and we'll look into it.

> -          The java3D dependency is worrisome as this original Sun
> project seems to be dying.

Not dying, rather moved to open source with a distributed
developer community. From the Java3D mailing list it seems
quite active.

> -          I could not get the source compiled on my Linux Adv.
> Workstation 3, using the newest java 1.5 and the newest java3d

Please be more specific about error messages and propbably
someone (not me) on this list can help you.

> On the positive side, I realize that the latest visad jar from the web
> site is from June 05 and that the emailing list is active. I could also
> successfully launch the test examples for both 2D and 3D displays. Hence,
> in summary, I was hoping to get you fair assessment on the future of
> VisAD to decide whether I should invest more time on it. I would very
> much appreciate your help.

Like Vis5D was in 1988, VisAD is ahead of its time. Both
systems have had to wait for the price/performance of
computers (i.e., Moore's Law) to catch up with them. In
my opinion Unidata's IDV, and SSEC's McIDAS V based on
the IDV and VisAD, are far better than any other
environmental visualization system, and are only waiting
for a little more performance and for current performance
to propagate among the user community (e.g., to classroom
computers). VisBio is an excellent and active system in
the biological sciences.

Cheers,
Bill