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Welcome to the Graphics Muse
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© 1996 by mjh

Button Bar muse:
  1. v; to become absorbed in thought
  2. n; [ fr. Any of the nine sister goddesses of learning and the arts in Greek Mythology ]: a source of inspiration
Welcome to the Graphics Muse! Why a "muse"? Well, except for the sisters aspect, the above definitions are pretty much the way I'd describe my own interest in computer graphics: it keeps me deep in thought and it is a daily source of inspiration.

[Graphics Mews] [Musings] [Resources]
indent This column is dedicated to the use, creation, distribution, and discussion of computer graphics tools for Linux systems.

      I'm sort of taking a break from the Muse this month. Work is really gearing up and I've been quite busy there. I'm also not confident enough in my knowledge of RenderMan Shaders that I feel I could do the topic justice this month. So I'm postponing the 2nd in the three- part series one month. I will be doing the next two articles, I just need a little more time to get them right. I'll also still be doing the HF-Lab review. The POV-Ray tips I'm not certain I'll do myself. I may see if I can talk someone from the IRTC-L mailing list into writing something up there. I haven't been using POV-Ray 3.0 in awhile. My attention has been focused on BMRT.
      So, all there is this month is a few announcements taken from the various newsgroups and info that's been passed to me directly.

Graphics Mews

      Disclaimer: Before I get too far into this I should note that any of the news items I post in this section are just that - news. Either I happened to run across them via some mailing list I was on, via some Usenet newsgroup, or via email from someone. I'm not necessarily endorsing these products (some of which may be commercial), I'm just letting you know I'd heard about them in the past month.


Gifmap Image Navigator

      Gifmap is a package which supports making image collections available on the Web. It recurses through directory trees, building HTML pages, imagemap files, and client-side/server-side maps to allow the user to navigate through collections of thumbnail images (somewhat similar to xv's Visual Schnauzer) and select the image to view with a mouse click.       Obtain gifmap from ftp://ftp.wizards.dupont.com/pub/ImageMagick/gifmap or via the Web from the Gifmap web page at http://www.cyberramp.net/~bfriesen/gifmap/. The Gifmap web page contains some sample pages you can browse through to give you an idea of what Gifmap can do. It also contains the gifmap documentation.       Gifmap is written in PERL and is compatable with PERL versions 4 and 5. Gifmap uses the ImageMagick package and therefore requires that the ImageMagick package be installed. ImageMagick version 3.8.0 or later is recommended.
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MPEG file player v0.2

      There was a very brief announcement for this package on comp.os.linux.announce which stated that the program can work with Pentium-60 32MB machines. I don't know why it wouldn't work with other systems, but that's what the announcement said.       This file player supports MPEG layer 1, 2, 3 and Wave files and uses pthreads (thus it requires libpthread.so). Check http://adam.kaist.ac.kr/~jwj95/ or ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/

Microform has rev'd their VARKON package

      VARKON is a high level development tool for CAD and engineering applications developed by Microform, Sweden. It was first reported in last month's Graphics Muse. Mircoform has since rev'd the package to 1.14F and added new demo applications. The new version is available at: http://www.microform.se.

MpegTV Player 1.0

      MpegTV Player 1.0 is a realtime software MPEG Video Player with audio/sync.
      This major release has many improvements over earlier versions, including better performances, better image quality, better error resilence, improved GUI and new features.
    Key features:
  • High performances on Pentiums (25 frames/sec on P6-200)
  • Support for 8-bit, 16-bit and 24-bit display.
  • High Audio and Video quality
  • Fast random access
  • Frame capture
  • Takes advantage of multiprocessor platforms
  • Handles errors gracefully
  • Works in streaming/network environment
  • VCR-like graphic front-end (using the Xforms library)
  • Graphic front-end can be customized
  • Player can be controlled by any application via a simple API
MpegTV is a commercial application, but a free evaluation copy is available from http://www.mpegtv.com/download.html. More information is available from http://www.mpegtv.com/player.html.
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The GS4500 scanner driver has been updated to Version 2.0

      The GS4500 scanner driver is a device driver (loadable module) for the Genius handheld scanners GS4500 and GS4500A (and probably the GS4000). Version 2.0 includes much improved support for the GS4500A. It also includes serious bug fixes. So everybody with a 2.0.x kernel should update. (If you still run a 1.2.x kernel stay with version 1.4 !)
      Also included is a modified version of xscan. Like the name suggests it lets you scan under X11 with your GS4500. You can get it from http://swt-www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/
. It should also be in the Sunsite and tsx-11 archives by now.

ImageMagick rev'd yet again - 3.8.3.

      No word as to what this release is for, however. It's nice to see such ongoing development on this very fine set of tools. I just wonder if monthly releases are really necessary.

Did You Know?

      John Bradley has now got an official home for xv on the web: http://www.trilon.com/xv/. There isn't very much there yet except the xv source distributions and links to some patches, but that will probably change over time.


No Musings this month. I'll have some stuff for next month, though. I promise.


The following links are just starting points for finding more information about computer graphics and multimedia in general for Linux systems. If you have some application-specific information for me, I'll add them to my other pages or you can contact the maintainer of some other web site. I'll consider adding other general references here, but application or site specific information needs to go into one of the following general references and not listed here.

Linux Graphics mini-Howto
Unix Graphics Utilities
Linux Multimedia Page

Some of the mailing lists and newsgroups I keep an eye on, where I get a lot of the information for this column:

The Gimp User and Gimp Developer Mailing Lists.
The IRTC-L discussion list

Future Directions

Next month:
Let me know what you'd like to hear about!

Previous ``Graphics Muse'' Columns

Graphics Muse #1, November 1996
Graphics Muse #2, December 1996
Graphics Muse #3, January 1997
Graphics Muse #4, February 1997
Graphics Muse #5, March 1997

Copyright © 1997, Michael J. Hammel
Published in Issue 16 of the Linux Gazette, April 1997