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Old 08-09-2008, 05:29 AM   #31
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreason View Post
Okay, that explains a lot. Let me guess... The .max format is not defined in public either. Right?
I don't know, maybe it's explained in sdk somewhere (I never wanted to read *.max files). Anyway, it's unusable for game development, since you'll need another 3dsmax to build renderable scene geometry from that file (you'll need to mimic internal behaviour, build 3dsmax-like pipelines for vertices, texture coordinates and topology, and rebuild all geometry every frame). Really, if you are interested in the *.max format, read the 3d studio max sdk. The overview of the C++ classes will give you perfect idea how complicated things are, and why this format won't be usable for games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreason View Post
Have people reverse-engineered it and written importers, or published the format?
I saw some kind of reader of the format several years ago, but it was weak. Don't remember it's name. Of course it also didn't allow to render scene, it just printed nodes (not the scene nodes, data nodes) stored in the file or something like that.

Last edited by ErV; 08-09-2008 at 05:31 AM.
 
Old 08-09-2008, 10:15 AM   #32
maxreason
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErV View Post
I don't know, maybe it's explained in sdk somewhere (I never wanted to read *.max files). Anyway, it's unusable for game development, since you'll need another 3dsmax to build renderable scene geometry from that file (you'll need to mimic internal behaviour, build 3dsmax-like pipelines for vertices, texture coordinates and topology, and rebuild all geometry every frame). Really, if you are interested in the *.max format, read the 3d studio max sdk. The overview of the C++ classes will give you perfect idea how complicated things are, and why this format won't be usable for games.

I saw some kind of reader of the format several years ago, but it was weak. Don't remember it's name. Of course it also didn't allow to render scene, it just printed nodes (not the scene nodes, data nodes) stored in the file or something like that.
Gads. Well, it leaves me wondering whether it is worth trying to import "other peoples objects" at all. :-( Seems kind of crazy if no popular 3D format exists for people to create and exchange objects. I am not interested in whole scenes or environments - after all, many objects move around in environments anyway. Personally, I would prefer a totally basic scheme that has all the information needed, but does not support 39,368 different ways of representing the same thing. Hell, just give me a pile of [indexed] vertices with surface vectors (normal, tangent, bitangent), color, optional texturemap/heightmap and texture-coords, and optional material and surface-texture/characteristics information (per object or vertex) and I'd be plenty happy. I say, let people write code if they want to reorder or represent each set of triangles as 1 or more fans, strips, etc.

I bet you're gonna tell me such a 3D format exists. And I hope you're right. But somehow I doubt I'd be this confused about the topic if one is so well known. Though I do admit that I stayed far, far away from the art end of the game biz, and just told them what my engine wanted to see - and the artists or one of their programmer slaves wrote converters, I guess.

Oh, I should add one comment. Though I had the impression (the last time I looked into the 3D format issue) that collada was probably my best bet, I did have the feeling it had the very real potential of turning into a real monster.

For myself, I very much like my approach of procedurally generated gizmos - for everything it is practical, which *eventually* includes everything. However, at the same time, until I have a few dozen "procedural artists" working with me (or 1+ super productive one), I sure would enjoy dropping some of the thousands of already created objects into my environments that are available via the internet.

Which reminds me. Those 3D object collections are one reason I got the impression 3DS was a common modern format.
 
Old 08-09-2008, 10:51 AM   #33
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreason View Post
I bet you're gonna tell me such a 3D format exists. And I hope you're right. But somehow I doubt I'd be this confused about the topic if one is so well known.
Nope, I do not know such (popular 3d exchange) format. I've been using Microsoft *.X files when I was working under windows (can store tangents as texture coordinates, additional vertex data, etc.), but there are still a lot of limitations (only one texture within material, and some component is missing - either ambient of emissive color) and awkwardness. Also, it's windows only and isn't well-known (there were a lot of not-working viewers and writers for *.x).

So Last time I needed to load something with all data I needed I wrote exporter.

P.S. You might want to check blender 3d. It's free opensource modeling/animation software equivalent of maya/3ds max. Since it's opensource, you might be able to try to load *.blend (standart blender extensions) into your engine. Also, it's exporter API is python-based, which will make writing exporters easier.
 
Old 08-09-2008, 01:12 PM   #34
maxreason
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErV View Post
Nope, I do not know such (popular 3d exchange) format. I've been using Microsoft *.X files when I was working under windows (can store tangents as texture coordinates, additional vertex data, etc.), but there are still a lot of limitations (only one texture within material, and some component is missing - either ambient of emissive color) and awkwardness. Also, it's windows only and isn't well-known (there were a lot of not-working viewers and writers for *.x).

So Last time I needed to load something with all data I needed I wrote exporter.

P.S. You might want to check blender 3d. It's free opensource modeling/animation software equivalent of maya/3ds max. Since it's opensource, you might be able to try to load *.blend (standart blender extensions) into your engine. Also, it's exporter API is python-based, which will make writing exporters easier.
I'd prefer to stay as far away from macroshaft as possible, for every reason. The fact that the viewers and writers are busted implies they may have purposely designed a goofball or dynamic or pseudo-encrypted format that changes periodically so only their own code can deal with it. Figures. I'll worry about formats later, when I get everything else working again.
 
Old 08-09-2008, 06:48 PM   #35
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreason View Post
I'd prefer to stay as far away from macroshaft as possible, for every reason. The fact that the viewers and writers are busted implies they may have purposely designed a goofball or dynamic or pseudo-encrypted format that changes periodically so only their own code can deal with it. Figures. I'll worry about formats later, when I get everything else working again.
Microsoft or not, the format had it's own strengths (*.X file api allowed you to define your own template-based format (anything) which could be stored as text, binary or compressed data. Less verbose than xml, quite flexible). The problem was with lack of open cross-platform API to read it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreason View Post
they may have purposely designed a goofball or dynamic or pseudo-encrypted format that changes periodically so only their own code can deal with it
The format is defined in DXSDK (with one exception - it isn't said how compressed data stream is stored) and I recommend to read it's documentation before making any assumptions.
 
Old 08-10-2008, 04:08 AM   #36
maxreason
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErV View Post
The format is defined in DXSDK (with one exception - it isn't said how compressed data stream is stored) and I recommend to read it's documentation before making any assumptions.
Well, I am always impressed at how much open-source software exists, and how much effort must have been required to write it all, including lots of image and video codecs, compression schemes, encryption, etc. To find something as semi-old and widespread as the .X format, WITH a specification --- yet the viewers are "busted" --- seems rather surprising. Does it not?
 
Old 08-10-2008, 05:11 AM   #37
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreason View Post
To find something as semi-old and widespread as the .X format, WITH a specification --- yet the viewers are "busted" --- seems rather surprising.
The viewers normally couldn't correctly handle importing skinned meshes, even if file format was binary or text, without undocumented compression. The other progras couldn't correctly write format - it wouldn't load in native DirectX because of certain missing format elements. Anyway, there were generic lack of exporters or conversion utilities for *.X, most of those I've been using were broken in one way or another (including microsoft-provided exporter plugin for 3dsmax/maya, which I had to rewrite). Another problem is that since directX version 9 microsoft started extending format with it's own crappy D3DXEffect-related data (I hated ID3DXEffect. I prefer just plain shaders without yet another wrapper around wrapper), and now they decided to get rid of old reading API, replacing it with new one which is seems to be bound to microsoft compiler. So *.X kind of lost most of it's good qualities. Well, it seems to be always this way with microsoft - first they create something good (yes it does happen, but only in something about 1..5% of cases), like DirectX, *.X format or Windows API, then they metodically make this thing worse by adding wrappers, extensions, new features, until formerly good technology turns into some kind of unusable awkward moster of incredible complexity and incomprehensibleness.

I wrote last post about *.X format because IMO blindly marking any technology as "bad" isn't always a good idea (i.e. if you unfamiliar with technology). Anyway, *.X doesn't have to do anything with thread subject.

Last edited by ErV; 08-10-2008 at 05:18 AM.
 
Old 08-19-2008, 09:09 AM   #38
resetreset
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreason View Post
Oh, and I forgot to answer one question from resetreset. I have no resistance at all to providing my 3D simulation/graphics/game engine to Linux developers, so they can develop end user applications easier. I need the engine to build several of my own projects/applications upon, and I am happy if others can benefit too.


Thanks for your enthusiasm.

PS: I am always too busy to see what other developers/groups are doing. You might find others are doing (or have already done) what you seek.

Check this thing out : www.anark.com .
Also check out : www.wasp3d.com and www.vizrt.com


My reason for telling you this is very selfish - I want these for free, for Linux so I can use them.


Would you be up to doing something like this? (I think you may have already *done* the hard bits).
 
Old 08-20-2008, 03:27 AM   #39
maxreason
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free 3D engine and applications

Yes, in many respects, I've already done "the hard part". Except I always say, "the hard part is everything not yet completed". So sure, I can create applications like those, but currently (as you might expect) my focus is to create super solid, efficient, well-designed infrastucture. You won't believe the effort that went into the "well designed" part. I still have about 2000 pages of hand-written notes and provisional specifications from when I designed the architectures of the various elements. Each architecture must be "perfect" itself, but also each must "perfectly" complement the overall "super-architecture", which must be "perfect" too. Sure, nothing is perfect in the final, ultimate sense of the term, but that's the attitude that went into it. Perhaps someday you'll find out why. :-)

I say the above to preface the following. The 3D simulation/graphics/game engine certainly supports the kind of applications you care about (based upon your links). But I have no intention to make every application described on those web-sites - that's quite a collection of applications! I have more amazing, "grandiose" plans!

However, since the engine is explicitly designed to be efficient infrastructure for other applications (not as an "end in itself"), other programmers can certainly create an unlimited variety of applications with the engine at their core.

One specific comment. I currently have no "importers" in the engine. Without a doubt, importers can be added, and I hope someone creates some 3D object importers at some point. But I should mention that the engine is designed for "procedural generation" --- of 3D objects, of images and textures, of sound, and more. One of the websites you sent also seems to focus on procedurally generated content.

Unfortunately, I have tons of work to do. And while I am a great "organizer" in the arena of devices, designs and architectures, I do not organize people well. Which is another way of saying, I am doing all the work myself. It would be nice to have help, but "good help is difficult to find" - now more than ever. I take that back. One person is helping me with one subsystem (not this one - a small, high-speed, high-resolution CCD camera system for vision-systems, robotics, etc). So it will probably be awhile before you have my 3D engine to play with. Doing these kinds of projects extremely well, takes lots of time and effort.

Last edited by maxreason; 08-20-2008 at 07:29 AM.
 
Old 08-21-2008, 05:54 AM   #40
maxreason
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resetreset

Hey resetreset. I got a couple PMs from you, but you have configured your account to not accept PMs. So my replies smacked into a wall and fell to the floor.

Then I sent a long email message to the email address listed in your PM, but then your next one says "I forgot my password, so I can't receive email". Well, okay. But let's just say I sent you some private "inside information" that I cannot post here. But if you want it (can't imagine why you would, though), you need to unlock your PM or find your password, or open another email (resetreset@yahoo.com perhaps).
 
Old 08-21-2008, 12:36 PM   #41
Strider_Max
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Hi,

I am also a Developer.
Trust me ... face lattest OpenSuSE.
OpenSuSE 11.0



Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreason View Post
I know everyone hates the question "what is the best distribution", because the question leaves out "best in what ways" and "what bugs and delights the questioner most". So I'll try to ask the question better, and request answers only from people who have tried several distributions.


Here are elements I need (probably some of these are solid in every Linux):
+++ the linux distribution that supports my needs with the least troubles
+++ nvidia driver support (for 7800 and 9800 (and soon 280))
+++ C/C++ development tools with IDE
+++ OpenGL 2.0 or higher
+++ GLSL shader support
+++ GLEE or equivalent


Here are elements I want to have:
+++ the latest release of eclipse IDE (3.4+) and CDT (5.0+) install and work reliably
+++ informative graphics information utilities (like glinfo, glxinfo, GUI equivalents)
+++ latest GLEE installs and works easily (i just include the files into my project)
+++ most helpful and knowledgable distribution experts in the distribution forum
+++ distribution that best supports taking advantage of all 4 cores of phenoms
+++ distribution that best supports co-development of 32-bit / 64-bit versions
...... but I can develop only the 32-bit version for the time being, if necessary


Here are elements I want to avoid:
--- a distribution that tries to protect me from myself
--- a distribution that requires lots of tricks and tweaking
--- a distribution that tries to be cute in non-standard ways
--- a distribution forum populated by non-helpful, non-serious jerks (BTDT)


Here is my hardware (two nearly identical computers)
::: motherboard = MSI K9A2 platinum AM2+
::: CPU = AMD phenom x4 9850 quad core
::: Zalman 9700LEDRTL CPU cooler-fan
::: 2 x 2GB DDR2-SDRAM @ 800MHz
::: PCIe dual RJ45 gigabit ethernet
::: 1 x 1024GB SATAII disk drive
::: 2 x 256GB SATAII disk drive


The above is probably sufficient, but just in case knowing what I need to do, and where I am in the process, the following is a brief description. I have been developing 3D simulation/graphics/vision/game code/engine/libraries/algorithms for many years, off and on (plus a couple commercial 3D game-engine contracts along the way, but that was totally separate code - but good experience). A long time ago I was stupid enough to begin my journey on DirectX/3D. I wised up a few years ago and rewrote my engine in OpenGL (but still on windoze) --- holy smokes did I ever find OpenGL to be massively easier and better designed!!! A year or so ago I created a parallel version in Linux on fedora8 with the eclipse IDE and CDT. When fedora9 was released I installed fedora9 on another disk but was never able to get it working properly - it would not update correctly, which prevented ALL updates from happening. I couldn't find a way around these problems, which led to me being successfully distracted by other work. I'm ready to continue the work now, and have an additional rather high-priority need to get the software working and finish my 5-page list of (small, medium, major) improvements to totally complete this application - which is designed to function as a network independent "server" (but still operate at full / high-as-possible speed when controlled from processes in the same process / computer / LAN instead of over the internet). I have vision-input support (via gigabit ethernet) but have not added sound support yet (and I suspect I will need to adopt some support library for that, even though I prefer to write everything myself when practical).



The bottom line is, I really care much less about distribution weaknesses that I will not notice when doing this development. I have other computers that work fine for any other purpose I am likely to encounter. What I care very much about is being able to get the distribution running with nvidia drivers to enable full hardware acceleration of the nvidia video cards and OpenGL 2.0+ and GLSL --- and --- the latest version of eclipse IDE and CDT (cuz the old versions I was programming with had bugs that were driving me nuts). I also don't want to minimize the importance to me of having very knowledgable and helpful people frequenting the forum associated with my distribution, so I can get back to work and not waste days, weeks, months on utterly trivial problems. So, given all that, what do those of you who "tried 'em all" (or at least a few distributions) think are my best bets --- and what would be my biggest mistakes? Thanks for every thoughtful opinion.
I develop Java and a bit of C/C++ with the best tool around (Eclipse 3.4
I use OpenSuSE (64 bit) for my laptop exactly because of the support and easy to use.
Installing Nvidia drivers is just a matter of one click.
I do use the Eclipse install on the distro though.
I made one myself with the a lot of options. Basically just download and unpack on your home dir.
In OpenSuSE 10.3 I had once a Eclipse install where I went to the yoxos site and downloaded everything. About 1.2GB of Eclipse!
It had everything inside, even Games !! and it worked great!

I have a PC with 2GB Ram and so far I have no problem running Eclipse with J2EE, CDT, BIRT, WST, ECF, Mylin, hibernate, collaboration and some others ...
It simply runs.
In your case I foresee no problems as OpenSuSE is indeed your best choice.


Regards,
Pedro
 
Old 08-21-2008, 12:39 PM   #42
Strider_Max
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Apr 2008
Posts: 18

Rep: Reputation: 0
Hi,

I am also a Developer.
Trust me ... face front the best for you is the lattest OpenSuSE.
OpenSuSE 11.0



Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreason View Post
I know everyone hates the question "what is the best distribution", because the question leaves out "best in what ways" and "what bugs and delights the questioner most". So I'll try to ask the question better, and request answers only from people who have tried several distributions.


Here are elements I need (probably some of these are solid in every Linux):
+++ the linux distribution that supports my needs with the least troubles
+++ nvidia driver support (for 7800 and 9800 (and soon 280))
+++ C/C++ development tools with IDE
+++ OpenGL 2.0 or higher
+++ GLSL shader support
+++ GLEE or equivalent


Here are elements I want to have:
+++ the latest release of eclipse IDE (3.4+) and CDT (5.0+) install and work reliably
+++ informative graphics information utilities (like glinfo, glxinfo, GUI equivalents)
+++ latest GLEE installs and works easily (i just include the files into my project)
+++ most helpful and knowledgable distribution experts in the distribution forum
+++ distribution that best supports taking advantage of all 4 cores of phenoms
+++ distribution that best supports co-development of 32-bit / 64-bit versions
...... but I can develop only the 32-bit version for the time being, if necessary


Here are elements I want to avoid:
--- a distribution that tries to protect me from myself
--- a distribution that requires lots of tricks and tweaking
--- a distribution that tries to be cute in non-standard ways
--- a distribution forum populated by non-helpful, non-serious jerks (BTDT)


Here is my hardware (two nearly identical computers)
::: motherboard = MSI K9A2 platinum AM2+
::: CPU = AMD phenom x4 9850 quad core
::: Zalman 9700LEDRTL CPU cooler-fan
::: 2 x 2GB DDR2-SDRAM @ 800MHz
::: PCIe dual RJ45 gigabit ethernet
::: 1 x 1024GB SATAII disk drive
::: 2 x 256GB SATAII disk drive


The above is probably sufficient, but just in case knowing what I need to do, and where I am in the process, the following is a brief description. I have been developing 3D simulation/graphics/vision/game code/engine/libraries/algorithms for many years, off and on (plus a couple commercial 3D game-engine contracts along the way, but that was totally separate code - but good experience). A long time ago I was stupid enough to begin my journey on DirectX/3D. I wised up a few years ago and rewrote my engine in OpenGL (but still on windoze) --- holy smokes did I ever find OpenGL to be massively easier and better designed!!! A year or so ago I created a parallel version in Linux on fedora8 with the eclipse IDE and CDT. When fedora9 was released I installed fedora9 on another disk but was never able to get it working properly - it would not update correctly, which prevented ALL updates from happening. I couldn't find a way around these problems, which led to me being successfully distracted by other work. I'm ready to continue the work now, and have an additional rather high-priority need to get the software working and finish my 5-page list of (small, medium, major) improvements to totally complete this application - which is designed to function as a network independent "server" (but still operate at full / high-as-possible speed when controlled from processes in the same process / computer / LAN instead of over the internet). I have vision-input support (via gigabit ethernet) but have not added sound support yet (and I suspect I will need to adopt some support library for that, even though I prefer to write everything myself when practical).



The bottom line is, I really care much less about distribution weaknesses that I will not notice when doing this development. I have other computers that work fine for any other purpose I am likely to encounter. What I care very much about is being able to get the distribution running with nvidia drivers to enable full hardware acceleration of the nvidia video cards and OpenGL 2.0+ and GLSL --- and --- the latest version of eclipse IDE and CDT (cuz the old versions I was programming with had bugs that were driving me nuts). I also don't want to minimize the importance to me of having very knowledgable and helpful people frequenting the forum associated with my distribution, so I can get back to work and not waste days, weeks, months on utterly trivial problems. So, given all that, what do those of you who "tried 'em all" (or at least a few distributions) think are my best bets --- and what would be my biggest mistakes? Thanks for every thoughtful opinion.
I develop Java and a bit of C/C++ with the best tool around (Eclipse 3.4
I use OpenSuSE (64 bit) for my laptop exactly because of the support and easy to use.
Installing Nvidia drivers is just a matter of one click.
I do use the Eclipse install on the distro though.
I made one myself with the a lot of options. Basically just download and unpack on your home dir.
In OpenSuSE 10.3 I had once a Eclipse install where I went to the yoxos site and downloaded everything. About 1.2GB of Eclipse!
It had everything inside, even Games !! and it worked great!

I have a PC with 2GB Ram and so far I have no problem running Eclipse with J2EE, CDT, BIRT, WST, ECF, Mylin, hibernate, collaboration and some others ...
It simply runs.
In your case I foresee no problems as OpenSuSE is indeed your best choice.
Also there is a huge advantage in what regards virtualization. VMWare server is just download unpack, run install script and then choose all default options and you are ready to run any OS!
It is amazing.
I runned Vmware converter on some windows xp machines and it made a nice image of them. Now all my older machines all run inside my laptops! it is amazing, they boot exactly the same, with the same recent files, icons, everything is the same.
Simply very very good for cross development and testing ...Amazing .

Regards,
Pedro
 
Old 08-22-2008, 02:58 AM   #43
resetreset
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maxreason, I also came across the GNU home page where it says that they need volunteers for the video drivers. would YOU be interested? there's no better way for your graphics to run fast if it's YOUR own code that's putting it on screen.
 
Old 08-22-2008, 03:10 PM   #44
maxreason
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Location: phobos, mars
Distribution: 64-bit linux mint v20
Posts: 257

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Quote:
Originally Posted by resetreset View Post
maxreason, I also came across the GNU home page where it says that they need volunteers for the video drivers. would YOU be interested? there's no better way for your graphics to run fast if it's YOUR own code that's putting it on screen.
I have no time for that - BUT - I'd do it anyway IF I have the complete detailed specifications for the latest nvidia cards. I've been wanting to write directly to the cards "forever", so I can completely drop OpenGL, D3D, etc - and program "pedal to the metal". Fact is, that would let me do the other thing I wanted to do - merge the vertex, pixel, geometry, CUDA/OpenGL into one unified language, so object/geometry/texture/physics/general computations can be performed in a perfectly unified, integrated way.

Yeah, I know, I should get a job at nvidia. But I hate cities, and silicon valley is a long commute from phobos.
 
Old 08-22-2008, 03:37 PM   #45
maxreason
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Posts: 257

Original Poster
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Thanks strider_max for the tips and information. It does sound good and tempting. Seems like slackware has the biggest fan-base so far (for this kind of work), but your list is rather impressive too.

In the short run, I probably chose [what many linux gurus probably consider] the worse option - ubuntu 8.04.1 LTS. So far it has treated me well, though I realize that refers only to the basic OS behavior (largely installation and experiences with common applications).

I got eclipse running "adequately" after a few re-installs, and finally figured out how to get past its "fatal flaws" (that stop my from developing my software), as well as some of its annoyances. While I definitely appreciate the eclipse developers for providing me with a very crucial application, it is a massively overcomplex monster with all the problems usually attached to such a beast (including, nobody seems to know how basic/fundamental features are supposed to work, and how every part should interact with the whole).

Anyway, so far:
- installation is pretty easy
- nvidia drivers installed easily (the "absolute latest drivers" process failed)
- no problem extracting the GL headers with the nvidia --extract-only option
- the ubuntuforums is terrible, but ubuntu at linuxquestions has good folks
- OpenGL runs just fine, and approximately as fast as on windoze
- something slightly "jittery" about the display of my 3D code ?
- latest "ganymede" eclipse downloaded and sorta working

I do not have everything working on 64-bit ubuntu yet, but that's probably my fault for not knowing which include/library paths to select.

Anyway, that's my update for the moment. If I have problems, I will definitely try one or more of the other linux distributions advocated in this thread.
 
  


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