OVAL and Open Source VRML

Dateline: 3/29/00

One of the most interesting Open Source efforts is being run in a group called the "Open VRML Advancement League" or OVAL. It has the sound of a rag tag group of super heros battling the massive evil forces. It was in fact founded by Chris Marrin in mid 1999 to create a library of Open Source VRML code.

The group was started in the middle of lots of corporate turmoil. It was the period during the demise of Platinum's CosmoSoftware sale to Computer Associates and the hope of solid corporate backing for Cosmo's efforts were fading.

Most of the work for OVAL takes place via discussions on an egroup mailing list.

The motivation for creating OVAL was, as stated earlier, quite simple, create truly Open Source collection of code for VRML. So what's been happening since it's founding? Quite a bit! There is a web site with a serious collection of software. A CVS (source code versioning systems) accessible collection of code for group development.

To quote from the projects page on the openvrml web site there are the following projects:

The basis for much of OVAL source code is the LibVRML97 library. Created and generously donated by Chris Morely, LibVRML97 is "a C++ library for reading and displaying VRML97.

This very professional stuff and in fact the LibVRML97 library has been thoroughly gone over for quality and is now included as part of the Stampede distribution of Linux.

In addition to these projects another closely aligned set of work is that of Braden McDaniel's ellipsis. Ellipsis should at some point in the near future replace LibVRML97 as it is somewhat encumbered with IP from SGI. To quote Braden: "My objective in developing Ellipsis is to replace the parser currently used in LibVRML97; that parser is based on code from SGI which is not under an Open Source license. (This significantly complicates the reuse of LibVRML97, the rest of which is under an Open Source license.) "

If you're into writing Open Source code and want to have some impact check these folks out.

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