coherent advice on running Radiance on win32

AFAIK they don't include any user interfaces (rvu, ximage). But you
can use them for rendering and convert the images to a Windows
friendly format.

There are reasonable solutions to that, as mentioned before, NRV is really
cool as an up-to-date rview/rvu replacement:
http://www.aisarquitectura.com/nrv/

Also HDRshop is a terrific .pic viewer, its very, very fast:
http://www.hdrshop.com/

Radiance is a unix tool, we all know that, but really, stop this windows
bashing, its not very constructive at all. A lot of new users will be on
win32, its part of life as we know it, so please, let's deal with it that
way. There are respectable reasons for working on win32, there's simply no
way of denying that. Autocad, Archicad, Rhino, Solidworks, Catia, Pro/E,
TracePro aren't software that work on linux, and work fine with Radiance. So
please, let's be a little more mature and stop discussing platform as soon
as the win32 question comes up...

imho, Radiance on wintel isn't _nearly_ as crippled as suggested...
And honestly, I'm really irritated of this win32 bashing. First of all, its
simply _not_ true. Radiance runs smooth on win32, and fast as well.
If you need to address more than 2GB of memory you really shouldn't be on
win32, otherwise its just fine.

I've used it extensively on both linux and win32 and since most CAD packages
run on win32, it's a very important platform for Radiance to run on. Big up
to Francesco for making the new binaries happen, his binaries are _such_ a
major update in comparison to dtp-rad.

Can we all please get to agree to __stop__ redirecting win32 newbies to
ancient, seriously outdated binaries, part of a project that did not reach a
mature level at all? Seriously dtp-rad does is not representative of the
status of where Radiance is and a dead project is __not__ at all
representative of the vivid Radiance community we are.

Dtp-Rad is DEAD, long live Francesco's binaries!
Oh, while I'm at it, I think dtp-rad is a monstrosity, and am happy to see
it gone. Using Radiance isn't easy and perhaps shouldn't even have to be
easy. It's a tool for experts, right! So there's no point in suggesting no
expertise is required to use these tools, the truth is quite the contrary.

Oh, and to throw oil on these flames, please, I understand unix-evangelism
and all, but really; Radiance SUCKS on cygwin, I'm sorry, but I consider
this as quite an objective fact. A part from dtp-rad, cygwin is the worst
user-experience of Radiance one can obtain IMHO. Also bash isn't a nessecity
for running Radiance at all. Personally I much prefer python for doing so.
There are many ways of interfacing with Radiance, and unix-shells are just
one way of doing so.

A lot of potential Radiance users are on win32, so let's get some kind of
coherent advice on how to use Radiance on this platform rather than reaching
out trying to have these users chance platform.

If you don't have any real experience in working with Radiance on windows,
please stop giving this really bad advice and let's try to settle on more
intelligent advice.

-jelle

Without debating the merits or drawbacks of Windows vs. Unix, let me just speculate that a reasonable Windows environment (e.g., VirtualPC or similar) will probably be available for Intel-based Apple hardware soon, allowing one to run most Windows applications at native speed and sending files directly to Radiance running under OS X. Since a decent dual-core Mac mini can be had for less than $800 US, a fraction of the cost of most of the CAD systems we're discussing, this may be a reasonable solution for some, and Radiance runs quite fast on that platform. The current "Boot Camp" approach requires radical switching between systems, which is no fun in my opinion. This situation is bound to improve since the hardware is capable -- probably before the year is out.

Has anyone tried "Wine Doors" or found a convenient way to run Windows under a running Linux system, allowing files to be passed between? This might also be a reasonable solution for those needing the latest bits of Radiance.

Native Windows binaries of Radiance are great, and it's wonderful that Francesco has provided these to the community for free, and kudos as well to Ignacio for nrv! From my limited experience with Cygwin, I tend to agree with Jelle that this approach leaves much to be desired. It's much better to do away with the middleman, especially when it keeps munging process memory.

Multiprocessing and advanced Radiance features are going to be lacking or lagging on Windows for the indefinite future, since most development happens under Unix, and that's just the way it is. Even so, being a year behind is better than being 8 years behind and growing, which is where Desktop Radiance is regrettably stuck.

-Greg

So you volonteer to maintain the Windows section in
the upcomming Radiance Documentation Project?

:wink:

Thomas

···

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If you think some of these comments are constructive, I'd be happy to share
my experience running Radiance under win32, sure. For now I just think its
important to give new users a few decent hints, rather than referring to a
dead project *dtp-rad*, or a miserable option *cygwin*, and trying to sweet
up Francesco to keep the Radiance mingw distribution going :wink:

-jelle

···

---------------------------------------------------
So you volonteer to maintain the Windows section in
the upcomming Radiance Documentation Project?

:wink:

Thomas

way. There are respectable reasons for working on win32, there's simply no
way of denying that. Autocad, Archicad, Rhino, Solidworks, Catia, Pro/E,
TracePro aren't software that work on linux, and work fine with Radiance.

Just a hint for those in desperate need of the apps mentioned above. The programs that don't come with a Unix release (are you sure about Pro/E and Catia?) often have Mac-OS-versions. And that gives you a more or less comfortable unix environment without the need to emulate a unix environment. The difference between Linux, Solaris and Mac OS on the command line for Radiance users are neglectible.

Hi Greg and Jelle,

I don't think any of this discussion was meant to start a flame fest pro/con windows/linux/unix.

One solution that we are testing right now is using VMWare to run linux virtual machines under windows xp. With this setup we can run our preferred modeling application, Autocad, under windows and Radiance under linux all on the same physical piece of hardware. Note though that the Radiance work on this setup is really for setup and prepping of materials, views and scenes. We still run simulations on more powerful production servers.

VMWare can also be used to do the opposite to run a Windows XP virtual machine under linux. In essence this enable two "machines" (or more) to run on the same piece of hardware. File sharing can be dealt with in a number of ways ranging from a simple mechanism built into VMWare to running a Samba server on the linux side.

Obviously there are some minimal costs involved with using VMWare. To build/set-up virtual machines you need to get a license for VMWare Workstation which is under $200. However you really only need one in order to build virtual machines that can be deployed onto other hardware. Once a virtual machine is created it can be used on other workstations with VMWare's free VMWare Player tool for running virtual machines. Note that VMWare's product offerings are pretty broad and for this reason somewhat confusing, for example I recently learned that they have another free product called VMWare Server that sound's like it can also be used to create virtual machines so this might be worth looking into.

Another virtualization product to keep an eye on will be XenSource. Although they have demo'd with windows based vms, I think their virtualization solutions currently only work for varying flavors of unix/linux.

OK, now to potentially add fuel to the flame fest fire.... Our in-house workflow is based on a production process where the 3d modeling application(s) are decoupled from the rendering application, eg they are not an integrated solution. I prefer to think that they are best in breed solutions. And there are a whole host of reasons that make decoupling rendering from modeling very important and useful. Modeling occurs in one set of preferred applications while rendering/simulation occurs in another, Radiance. The different applications have different user interfaces. Because of this, different os's are needed to run the preferred applications, it is just a simple fact of life.

On another note, I know that there are opensource solutions such as Wine which it sound like Wine Doors is a spin off of. I think that Wine can successfully used to run some windows applications but the question is whether you can run something like Autocad or any other robust 3D modeling/CAD production tool. However, I suspect that the installation could be a real bear. In these days of Windows Update/WGA, etc., it seems to me better/simpler to use a commercial product.

Best,

-Jack de Valpine

Gregory J. Ward wrote:

···

Without debating the merits or drawbacks of Windows vs. Unix, let me just speculate that a reasonable Windows environment (e.g., VirtualPC or similar) will probably be available for Intel-based Apple hardware soon, allowing one to run most Windows applications at native speed and sending files directly to Radiance running under OS X. Since a decent dual-core Mac mini can be had for less than $800 US, a fraction of the cost of most of the CAD systems we're discussing, this may be a reasonable solution for some, and Radiance runs quite fast on that platform. The current "Boot Camp" approach requires radical switching between systems, which is no fun in my opinion. This situation is bound to improve since the hardware is capable -- probably before the year is out.

Has anyone tried "Wine Doors" or found a convenient way to run Windows under a running Linux system, allowing files to be passed between? This might also be a reasonable solution for those needing the latest bits of Radiance.

Native Windows binaries of Radiance are great, and it's wonderful that Francesco has provided these to the community for free, and kudos as well to Ignacio for nrv! From my limited experience with Cygwin, I tend to agree with Jelle that this approach leaves much to be desired. It's much better to do away with the middleman, especially when it keeps munging process memory.

Multiprocessing and advanced Radiance features are going to be lacking or lagging on Windows for the indefinite future, since most development happens under Unix, and that's just the way it is. Even so, being a year behind is better than being 8 years behind and growing, which is where Desktop Radiance is regrettably stuck.

-Greg

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Without debating the merits or drawbacks of Windows vs. Unix, let me
just speculate that a reasonable Windows environment (e.g., VirtualPC
or similar) will probably be available for Intel-based Apple hardware
soon, allowing one to run most Windows applications at native speed
and sending files directly to Radiance running under OS X.

http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/

looks to me a quite close solution to the dilemma.

any lucky one tried already?

Rob any chance on your new macbookpro?

ciao
G.

···

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After all these great contributions, I want to add some thoughts about the criterias. First, I also have a mingw-compile installed on the Autocad-Dektop I am sitting right now. Performance is not critical here, but it is nice to be able to check a scene or do a quick preview here. But if people start to wonder about performance, virtual machines to get the latest out of their radiance-windows set up etc, I think it is easy to waste time. IMHO, in any serious production environment, it seams to be the best to set up a rendering machine and spend all the time and efforts on the integration of this machine instead of any workarounds to run it in parallel with a windows installation.

1) Your rendering machine has completely different needs. No display needed, no graphic cards, no keyboard, no mouse. Instead pure processing power (which may lead to high noise and your machine away from your desktop). If you set up some queuing and power management, you can have it up and running 24/7 and just send render jobs from all desktops. If you leave your office, either switch off your desktop or put in an openmosix-cd so it can add some computing power to your linux system.

2) Radiance on Linux is very easy to remote-control. In fact, I do all my renderings on a machine 2000 km away over a ssh connection (yes, 56K modem speed, but ssh allows compression), all my data is in a cvs. Control by ssh (with X-forwarding). Choose between the many ways to transfer data (either by a mounted volume from a file server which is accessed by both desktop and render machine, or by any other transport. Ask Schorsch about Rayfronts additional capabilities to remote control jobs.

3) One of the most important point for rendering is stability. I would not want to have people start and quit all kinds of apps, log in and off, print etc on a windows desktop while I have a rendering runnings since four days on the same machine. A dedicated machine allows you to have only few, well-tested software in a stable environment.

If you need a REAL integration (without performance drawbacks) use a unix-system. I mentioned that Mac OS is a unix-like with most CAD apps available. So that is the cute, slim laptop set-up, with cad, radiance (the very latest without any workarounds) natively running and at full speed. Or take a look at the modelers available for unixes, like Maya, Houdini, ... It is not impossible to do 3d on unix.

Really, I see the Radiance/Windows as a nice alternative for people who want to do "preflight-checks" on their modeling desktops or do some small / fast simulations. In fact, most light studies do not require too much calculation and even few of the brand-new features of the latest radiance cvs. For those, vmware and other virtualization solutions are ok, and the mingw-binaries with the new preview for windows will be great. But if processing speed is needed, as in a production workflow, I really think that setting up a unix-machine is worth it!

Jack de Valpine wrote:

OK, now to potentially add fuel to the flame fest fire.... Our in-house workflow is based on a production process where the 3d modeling application(s) are decoupled from the rendering application, eg they are not an integrated solution. I prefer to think that they are best in breed solutions. And there are a whole host of reasons that make decoupling rendering from modeling very important and useful. Modeling occurs in one set of preferred applications while rendering/simulation occurs in another, Radiance. The different applications have different user interfaces. Because of this, different os's are needed to run the preferred applications, it is just a simple fact of life.

Amen. Allow me to respond to Jelle's original post, as from what I can tell, the references to winbashing are directed at me. I may have said something to the effect that Windows isn't a "real" os. Maybe that was a cheap shot, but let's look at the facts. Unix flavors boast many tools to facilitate working with Radiance, such as multiprocessing support, robust shells that are scriptable (yes, cross platform scripting tools like Python, Perl, et al. have negated this one a bit, but then again Jelle's point is about Radiance access to the masses and the masses aren't necessarily gonna be Python wizards) and of course full support of the toolbox model _which is exactly the paradigm that Radiance was constructed to work in_.

I struggled with Linux for a long time to get a usable system and get Radiance compiled, way back in the day. Sure, most people aren't as stubborn as I am and perhaps we're losing new users to the dread of having to become a Unix sysadmin just to use a "program" like Radiance. But let me tell you something else: you know who told me to stick to my guns and learn Radiance from the unix shell? It was none other than Schorsch himself, about eight years ago! Now eight years is a long time, and since then the windows binaries have, well, they've appeared in the first place, and only improved since then. But there are still bugs and missing tools. I agree with Jack that there's a disconnect between the rendering and modleing processes, and as he and others have said in this thread, the best tool for the job is what you want to be using. There is no doubt that it can be a gigantic PITA to have to buy, maintain and bounce between systems to accomplish the tasks at hand. But many of us have devised a workflow that allows a relatively smooth transition from the modeling side -- usually done on Windows systems -- to the rendering/calculation side, usually done on an OS X Mac or a Linux box and found the benefits to be worth the efforts.

Ignacio's nrv is indeed a very exciting new addition to the Windows radiance practicioner's toolkit. Francesco's mingw binaries and Schorsch's binaries that ship with Rayfront are great ways to try radiance on Windows. I absolutely agree that Cygwin is awful and DTR & I did not get along well either. I wouldn't wish those on anyone. But I still feel like the best way to get involved with Radiance for the typical Windows user is to get your hands on a spare machine that you can install Linux on. Many users have chimed in on this thread with good, constructive ways of using two machines to get the job done. If a decent cad program -- let me rephrase that: a cad program that was accurate and that this AutoCAD user could figure out in minimal time -- would ever come out for OS X, I'd say a Mac OS X computer is all you need. I've been waiting for that for four and a half years now, though. the new BootCamp and Parallels options available to Intel Mac users are promising, in that they offer the ability to use one hardware platform to host all your best of breed apps, in the OS they require. But as Greg said BootCamp requires back and forth rebooting to change OSes, which, stinks. I beta tested Parallels, which can run unix and Windows in parallel. It was pretty fast at first, but strangely enough got slower and more buggy with each interim release. The final release is now available and I'm still debating whether to give it one more chance. But I digress.

Clearly, the current state of the Windows tools allow users to exploit a good deal of the Radiance toolkit today, on Windows, should they wish to do so. But I maintain that it's still not perfect, and still has its own litany of downloads and workarounds needed to install it and use it. I mean, you don't just double-click setup.exe and start rendering. So my feeling is that if it's a struggle either way, why not try to use Radiance in the environment it was conceived in? AFAIK, I never told anyone to use Cygwin or DTR. I'll bite my tongue re: Windows in general from now on. I'll try. But I will also stand by my assertion that Unix is still the best platform on which to run Radiance. I don't think anyone here gave out INcoherent information regarding anything. Opinions differ, that's all.

Maybe a coherent Win/Radiance HOWTO can be part of the radiance-online.org knowledgebase as that moves forward. I ain't gonna write it, but I agree with you Jelle, there probably needs to be one.

Giulio Antonutto wrote:

http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/

looks to me a quite close solution to the dilemma.

any lucky one tried already?

Rob any chance on your new macbookpro?

Hi Giulio,

Yes, I tried it out in beta. Not terribly impressive at first, as you couldn't share files between the virtualized Windows drive and the Mac. Then subsequent releases got slower and slower. Got a few kernel panics along the way too. They have added a tool to allow sharing between filesystems, but I never got a chance to try it out during the beta. That said, it was very cool running AutoCAD 2000 on my MAC! It ran fairly fast at first, but as I said it got slower and slower, but you have to take speed with a grain of salt with beta software anyway. They just released version 1.0, and I am considering buying it.

I should mention, however, that my MacBook Pro experience has not been great lately. There is a whine, or a screech emanating from the cpu. This existed from day one, and it's well documented on the forums. I waited until day 89 of my 90 day free support in hopes that a downloadable solution to this would crop up, but it never happened. So I sent my computer to Apple to fix it, I explained the issue to the letter, and I got it back yesterday. Guess what? It's still busted. So now I get to battle with Customer Relations to see about an unlikely refund. I'd rather return it than keep sending it back and forth culminating in some statement like "that's normal, that noise". We'll see. Overall, the Intel Macs are really nice (and FAST (and HOT)). I've just got some version 1.0 gremlins in mine, which is a real drag.

I never tried BootCamp, because I don't have a license for windowsXP, which is the minimum OS that it supposedly supports. Parallels allows you to install Windows 2000 (which I do have), as well as tons of other OSes. It's pretty cool.

- Rob

I will be taking delivery on a Mac Book Pro 15", 2.16 GHz Core Duo in a couple of weeks and will try Parallels on it with Windows XP SP2. i will use it initially for GPS/topo mapping apps (DeLorme topo synced to my handheld Garmin GPS) so we'll see what that can do. If anyone wants me to try a windows app on it, let me know. Oh, I'll also be trying Minesweeper as well. :wink:

kirk

···

On Jun 16, 2006, at 10:06 AM, Giulio Antonutto wrote:

Without debating the merits or drawbacks of Windows vs. Unix, let me
just speculate that a reasonable Windows environment (e.g., VirtualPC
or similar) will probably be available for Intel-based Apple hardware
soon, allowing one to run most Windows applications at native speed
and sending files directly to Radiance running under OS X.

http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/

looks to me a quite close solution to the dilemma.

any lucky one tried already?

Rob any chance on your new macbookpro?

ciao
G.

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I tried this configuration yesterday and it works fine. I have to figure out file sharing between operating systems. Parallels allows to run a Linux window in addition to the XP window within the MAC main window.

Martin Moeck, Penn State

···

________________________________

From: [email protected] on behalf of Kirk Thibault
Sent: Sun 6/18/2006 6:44 PM
To: Radiance general discussion
Subject: Re: [Radiance-general] coherent advice on running Radiance on win32

I will be taking delivery on a Mac Book Pro 15", 2.16 GHz Core Duo in
a couple of weeks and will try Parallels on it with Windows XP SP2.
i will use it initially for GPS/topo mapping apps (DeLorme topo
synced to my handheld Garmin GPS) so we'll see what that can do. If
anyone wants me to try a windows app on it, let me know. Oh, I'll
also be trying Minesweeper as well. :wink:

kirk

On Jun 16, 2006, at 10:06 AM, Giulio Antonutto wrote:

Without debating the merits or drawbacks of Windows vs. Unix, let me
just speculate that a reasonable Windows environment (e.g., VirtualPC
or similar) will probably be available for Intel-based Apple hardware
soon, allowing one to run most Windows applications at native speed
and sending files directly to Radiance running under OS X.

http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/

looks to me a quite close solution to the dilemma.

any lucky one tried already?

Rob any chance on your new macbookpro?

ciao
G.

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Electronic mail messages entering and leaving Arup business
systems are scanned for acceptability of content and viruses

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[email protected]
http://www.radiance-online.org/mailman/listinfo/radiance-general

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But many of us have devised a workflow that allows a relatively smooth transition from the modeling side -- usually done on Windows systems -- to the rendering/calculation side, usually done on an OS X Mac or a Linux box and found the benefits to be worth the efforts.

Just to mention such a workflow that works fine:
We have Refelction-X running on the windows-os machines. This tool allows us to open a shell using a variety of protocols on every unix/linux/mac machine available on the network. Reflection X allows us to intertface with Radiance and other unix tools/scripts using a native shell/xterminal from the unix box (bash, csh, etc) on a Windows pc (which runs 3d modelling, photoshop etc.). Reflection-X also allows rvu being displayed on a windows machine. This workflow asks for at least one 'radiance server' and a windows workstation. Reflection X is commercial software, I bought it for a low price from 2nd hand, but it is quite expensive new. There are other, cheaper comparable apps available which I do not recall at the moment.

Cheers, Iebele

Hi Iebele,

It sound's like Reflection X is a commercial X server? Some other applications to consider that enable X on Windows might be:

    * Cygwing with XFree - I know that some people have bashed Radiance
      on Cygwin a bit, but getting the basic Cygwin plus X has be quite
      a reasonable solution for running remote X sessions to our Linux
      Radiance servers.
    * Mix - this is a commercial application that we have used in the
      past, it is quite stable. It is just an X server so it does not
      come with some of the applicaitons that a Cygwin setup might have.
      The cost is very reasonable ($25 US), check out:
      http://www.microimages.com/mix/

An alternative to all of this would be to run a VNC server/client setup. Check out http://www.realvnc.com/ where they have free and commercial clients and servers. This would provide the whole remote desktop in a window on the local host.

Note also if you want to consolidate resources, instead of having two pieces of hardware (windows box and linux box), you can try vmware (www.vmware.com) to run a virtual instance of one operating system within another. Thus giving you two "machines" on the same (1) physical piece of hardware. I think I posted on this earlier.

Regards,

-Jack

iebele wrote:

···

But many of us have devised a workflow that allows a relatively smooth transition from the modeling side -- usually done on Windows systems -- to the rendering/calculation side, usually done on an OS X Mac or a Linux box and found the benefits to be worth the efforts.

Just to mention such a workflow that works fine:
We have Refelction-X running on the windows-os machines. This tool allows us to open a shell using a variety of protocols on every unix/linux/mac machine available on the network. Reflection X allows us to intertface with Radiance and other unix tools/scripts using a native shell/xterminal from the unix box (bash, csh, etc) on a Windows pc (which runs 3d modelling, photoshop etc.). Reflection-X also allows rvu being displayed on a windows machine. This workflow asks for at least one 'radiance server' and a windows workstation. Reflection X is commercial software, I bought it for a low price from 2nd hand, but it is quite expensive new. There are other, cheaper comparable apps available which I do not recall at the moment.

Cheers, Iebele

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# visarc incorporated
# http://www.visarc.com
#
# channeling technology for superior design and construction