19990524: Visad on Linux

>From: Doug Lindholm <lind@xxxxxxxx>
>Organization: UCAR/RAP
>Keywords: 199905241546.JAA27623

Doug-

>I too have been eager to get VisAD running on a Linux box. I recently
>set up a VisAD "data server" on a Linux box running a recent Debian
>distribution. I am using a souped up NT box to display the data via RMI.
>It's working quite well so far. I'm glad to see Java3D is available for
>Linux now so I can get rid of NT. Anyone have any graphics card
>suggestions for Linux? I currently have a Diamond FireGL 4000 on the NT
>box.

I looked at the web pages for this version of Java3D. It looks like the
native interface libraries are compiled against Mesa so the 3D is done
in software, not hardware. Thus, I don't think the graphics card makes
much of a difference. 

We have been experimenting with Java3D on Solaris X86 and SPARC using
Mesa. In general, we've found two things about this - displays are
"darker" than with the native SPARC Java3D and it is slower than the
SPARC version. I was ready to abandon the X86 for VisAD work because
the Mesa interface was so slow, but some recent changes by Bill in the
display classes made a tremendous improvement so it is now an acceptable
platform (Thanks, Bill!). I've still got a problem with some satellite
displays which Bill thinks is related to the Mesa/OpenGL implementation,
but we're still looking at that problem. I would suspect to see the same
results under Linux with the implementation that is available.

Don Murray
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Don Murray                               UCAR Unidata Program
dmurray@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                        P.O. Box 3000
(303) 497-8628                              Boulder, CO 80307
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