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Linux: The low cost route for a stable visualization workstation with AVS5. Matt Cooper Manchester Visualization Centre. Linux: A brief review. Linux is a free Un*x OS kernel Most of what people call Linux is actually the GNU tools. Initial development began in 1991

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linux the low cost route for a stable visualization workstation with avs5

Linux: The low cost route for a stable visualization workstation with AVS5

Matt Cooper

Manchester Visualization Centre

linux a brief review
Linux: A brief review
  • Linux is a free Un*x OS kernel
  • Most of what people call Linux is actually the GNU tools.
  • Initial development began in 1991
  • I started using it in 1992/3. Kernel release 0.87
  • Current ‘stable’ release is 2.0.35
linux platforms
Linux: Platforms
  • Intel X86 (and AMD/Cyrix/IBM…)
  • PowerPC
  • 68000 (Mac, Amiga, Palm Pilot)
  • HP-PA
  • MIPS Silicon Graphics
  • [Ultra]SPARC
  • Alpha
linux cost and availability
Linux: Cost and availability
  • Nothing except media costs
  • ~£2.50 in modem charges (56K)
  • £3-£15 for a CD
  • ‘Supported’ distribution: ~$50
  • Cf.
    • Windows95: £70
    • WindowsNT (workstation): £250
    • WindowsNT (server): £633-£1100
linux distributions
Linux: Distributions
  • Free:
    • Debian
    • Slackware
  • Officially supported:
    • Red Hat
    • S.u.S.e.
  • All include XFree86, a free X11
  • SuSe develop their own X servers
linux limitations
Linux: Limitations
  • Lack of applications
  • Lack of interest from users
  • Lack of interest from vendors
  • Limited performance from new peripherals (particularly true of graphics cards)
avs 5 4 on linux installation
AVS 5.4 on Linux: Installation
  • If you’re a Red Hat user:
    • Install two Red Hat ‘rpm’ packages
  • If you’re a Debian user:
    • Use ‘alien’ to convert the rpm’s
    • Install the Debian packages produced.
  • If you’re a home brewer:
    • Use install.avs
  • Type ‘/usr/avs/bin/avs’
ten biggest problems
Ten biggest problems
  • Had to add a link to make some of the demos work
  • Um…
  • That’s it
stability
Stability
  • Two weeks of use on:
    • Debian/GNU ‘stable’ release
    • Debian/GNU ‘unstable’ (beta) release.
  • Ported a few modules
  • Broke quite a few of them
  • No crashes. No misbehaviour.
performance
Performance
  • Implementation is based on MESA
    • Free implementation of OpenGL
    • Supported by Brian Paul
    • Drivers and other code from others
  • Hardware support for 3D only for
    • 3Dfx Voodoo1, Voodoo2, Voodoo rush
    • Some GLINT based cards
    • nVidia RIVA 128 coming soon
module compilation
Module compilation
  • System set up to use ‘egcc’
  • Works fine with plain gcc(version 2.7.2.3 with libc6)
  • Of the examples I’ve tried
    • if gcc will compile it there’s no problem
    • Clean code ports easily
    • unclean code is dreadful but it’s gcc which makes it so.
demos
Demos
  • Demos on a 2 year-old laptop:
    • Processor: P166MMX
    • Memory: 80Mb RAM
    • Graphics: C&T 65554 PCI
    • No hardware graphics support!
  • Also tried on:
    • Processor: P200MMX
    • Memory: 48Mb RAM
    • Graphics: Matrox Mystique
demos1
Demos
  • Notes:
    • 800x600 really isn’t big enough
    • Noticeably faster at 256 colours
    • Works happily at higher 16/24/32bit