From: <Paul>
Date: Sat Apr 21 2007 - 18:56:00 EDT

I was exposed to BRL-CAD a few years ago after doing some searches related to ballistics and explosions (I was working on a project that used high pressure, high temperature oxygen - blast walls, potential projectile line-of-sight, overpressure, etc.)

The article omits Mike Muuss' contributions ( ) for some reason.



BRL-CAD Ported to Microsoft Windows
Perspectives and Appreciation

Cross-platform constructive solid geometry solid modeling system BRL-CAD finallay available for Windows.

After more than 20 years of active on-going development, BRL-CAD is now available for the Microsoft Windows platform. This new availability marks the beginning of the official adoption of the Windows operating system as a fully supported BRL-CAD development and release platform. Following with the recent release announcement of BRL-CAD 7.8.0, special thanks and historic perspectives are in order for this considerable achievement.

This "new" platform is added to an extensive BRL-CAD portability heritage that includes systems such as a DEC VAX-11 running 4.3 BSD, DECStations running ULTRIX, SGI 4Ds running various versions of IRIX, Sun-3 and Sun-4 Sparcs running SunOS, the Cray 1, Cray X-MP, and Cray Y-MP running UNICOS, the Cray 2, DEC Alpha AXP running OSF/1, Apple Mac II running A/UX, iPSC/860 Hypercube running NX/2, Alliant FX/8 & FX/2800, Gould SEL, PowerNode, Gould NP1, NeXT, HPPA 9000/700 running HPUX, Ardent/Stardent, Encore Multi-Max, and much much more. BRL-CAD's extensive portability of course also includes a plethora of common desktop and server versions of MacOS, Linux, BSD, IRIX, and Solaris likely making BRL-CAD the most cross-platform CAD system ever.

Now added to that list of platforms is support for Windows, further extending the package's portability and cross-platform legacy. The Windows port currently provides support for the Windows 2000 and Windows XP family of operating systems. Additional variations of the Microsoft Windows platform remain under on-going consideration depending on community interest, open source developer involvement, and organizational funding.

Special thanks is deserved to many groups and individuals that helped make the port to Windows possible. This includes the extensive development, consultative, administrative, and testing support of several organizations including the TNO Prins Maurits Laboratory, Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (IABG), Quantum Research International, Inc., the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), CG2, Inc., SURVICE Engineering, Inc., and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL). In particular, special individual thanks and recognition are deserved to Chris Pitts, Sean Morrison, Daniel Ro├čberg, and Bob Parker for their direct developer contributions to the Windows port as well as the indirect contributions of the BRL-CAD user community and others.

To provide a little bit of historic perspective, the port of BRL-CAD to Windows has long been a consideration for the project. While BRL-CAD was specifically written to take advantage of UNIX-style computational environments and adopting the UNIX-like tradition of succinct tools that perform specific tasks -- a position that doesn't inherently lend itself well to the Windows platform -- there has long been an acknowledgment of the community interest to have BRL-CAD on Windows.

Attention to the Windows port fluctuated over the years, with several groups porting the BRL-CAD libraries to Windows with relative ease but few attempting to address the direct porting of BRL-CAD's 400+ binary applications. The most comprehensive Windows port effort was started several years ago through efforts of friends at AMRDEC and CG2 where they managed to address several critical platform issues, port all of the core libraries, and also port several of the core binary applications including the 'mged' geometric modeler and the 'rt' ray-tracer. Their efforts were integrated into BRL-CAD and expanded upon with development testing, an initial beta release, and increased interest commencing after the 2002 BRL-CAD Users Group Meeting. Work continued over the following years with the porting effort being considerably accelerated after the package was released as Open Source software through build system contributions, source code modifications, and feature requests.

Culminating with this year's official release, the port achieved a stable release status through the extensive work of SURVICE working under agreement with ARL. The port of BRL-CAD to Windows now includes the majority of the core applications and all of BRL-CAD's libraries. Efforts continue towards improving functionality and including even more of the auxiliary application binaries remaining to be added to the Windows distribution. Additionally, SURVICE graciously provided the new Archer graphical geometric modeler which is already included in the Windows release and will soon be made available on all distribution platforms.

The port to Windows marks a new beginning for the project and an expanded potential for the CAD community to become involved in making BRL-CAD the most powerful solid modeling system available. Allowing any user or developer to become directly involved in the improvement of the package, BRL-CAD is the only solid modeling CAD system available under flexible Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved open source terms. This allows BRL-CAD to be actively developed by the open source community with a veritable abundance of proven and existing capabilities to build upon.

BRL-CAD is a powerful cross-platform constructive solid geometry solid modeling system that includes an interactive geometry editor, ray-tracing support for rendering and geometric analysis, path-tracing for realistic image synthesis, network distributed framebuffer support, image and signal-processing tools, and a robust high performance geometric representation library. BRL-CAD is the primary tri-service CAD system used by the U.S. military to model weapons systems for vulnerability and lethality analyses. Binary and source distributions are available on the Sourceforge project website: Received on Sat Apr 21 18:56:00 2007

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