Daryll is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Daryll Strauss
Member since: 2000-07-18 17:07:16
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Homepage: http://www.linux3d.org/daryll.php3


I started hacking at the community college when I was 12. Those days anyone could wander in and play games. You saved your programs on paper tape. Now disks are so fast and cheap you just throw them out when there's a problem. I had a TTY model 33 in my garage for a while. I never had a system that was suitable to drive it, but I did some interesting things with the electronics.

I've been a Unix hacker since about 1984 when I attended Carnegie Mellon University. During that time I've had the privledge of experiencing an amazing amount of change. I've booted a system by loading the switches on the front panel. I've had access to all sorts of Unix sources. I've run an IMP. I've loaded the first coke machine wired to the net. I've used bitnet. I've run a UUCP node. I've watched the net grow up. I've now got DSL with a wireless network and Linux systems running the whole thing.

My choices in computers have been sort of eclectic. I always had great systems at the places I worked, so I was very picky about my hardware at home. My first computer was an Atari 800. It really was better technology than the Apple II at the time. I've owned an original NeXT cube. Again great technology, but with no marketting. Now I primarily run Intel (and few Alphas) with Linux. They meet my high standards.

I've also worked at a variety of different places, a univerity computer science department as a programmer, a government think tank as a rocket scientist, in hollywood making special effects for films, and currently as a software developer trying to push the open source revolution into new frontiers.

I've tried to contribute to the community. I wrote open source tools for my NeXT cube. I wrote an early driver for the color quickcam, that I still hear about from people every once in a while, even though it has long since been overtaken by new better drivers. I try to bring open source into the places I worked. I built X11R3 on my Sun 3/50 workstations. Every I'd go I'd bring the GNU tools with me. I was happy when I could write about our render farm for Titanic. It was a way to show more of the public what Linux could do. Now I'm trying to make 3D on Linux a reality. We've made a lot of progress, and I think I've helped contribute to that. We've still got a long way to go. There are many choices on the path ahead, I hope we and the users make the right ones, so that Linux can succeed in this area as well as it has in the past.


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ALS has come and went. I think it was a good show for VA and for XFree86. It was sort of interesting to look at the XFree86 booth. They were showing three demos. One was Q3A running very fast on a modern workstation. Another was a demo showing a video being played back across two monitors. It showed Xv and Xinerama. In the back of the booth were some bouncing ovals and text. For those who looked carefully you'd see that it was doing transparency and antialiasing using the render extension.

Q3A attracted the most attention, but was not really new technology. The Xv and Xinerama demo was nice. The real technology with render extension. Anyone who looked at that demo really knew what they were looking at. The demo was boring to look at, but once you realize what you were seeing, the technology was very cool.

I'm still trying to finish off the 3dfx SLI/FSAA work. It's been a real hassle, but I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm really looking forward to finishing this off.

Beyond that I think I'm adapting to the management role OK. I know I can do a good job at it. I even think it'll be fun. My role is really as an engineering manager, because I have project managers to deal with the business and schedule issues. I do have a lot of mundane business issues to take care of because I've been neglecting them while trying to get the 3dfx stuff done.

I also realized another real benefit to me as a manager. I know a lot of people and I'm really good at talking to people and working out situations. I got involved with a silly issue between VA and a vendor. The deal should have been good for everyone involved, but due to poor communication there were real problems. I was able to step in, figure out what was going on, how it should be handled, call the appropriate people and get them talking. I think we're back to it being a good deal for everyone. It doesn't seem like that should be that hard, but obviously it is for some people.

I've got a lot of work in front of me. I need to continue to focus the energies of my incredibly talented group. I need to start chasing some new business opportunities. I've got an interesting project I'd like to prototype. I think we'll have some great work for my group. We'll be hiring more people. It'll be a fun year.

Here I am at Linux World. It looks like it should be a fun show. Look me up at the VA Booth if you're here. Tuesday and Thursday morning from 10:00 to 1:00. I'm even doing an "Ask The Experts" session on Thursday. VA is doing some really cool stuff with the open source developers network and build to order software.

A few things have changed with the Precision Insight crew at VA Linux. I'm now running the group. We're officially the Multimedia and Graphics Engineering(tm) Practice in Professional Services. I'm basically engineering manager for the group. I'm of mixed feelings about this. I think it is the right thing to do to improve the 3D technology. I'm excited about some of the opportunities to push my vision for the technology. At the same time this is management, not coding. (I have program managers to help with some of the non technical management) We've still got a LOT of work to do to improve 3D for Linux.

I've been invited to do a bit on the Screen Savers on ZDTV. It looks like fun, even if it is a bit of a light gig. Look for my on August 25th!

The summary of the BOF is up on the website. You can find it at www.linux3d.org.

I've taken a new job at VA. I'm now the Graphics Practice Lead in Professional Services. What does that mean? It basically means that I'm engineering manager. That means I'll get to spend a lot less time writing code and I've got a lot more business issues to deal with, but I get to direct things at a higher level and hopefully push my agenda forward. What's my agenda? Make Linux a competitive 3D workstation using open source software.

There's a lot of challenges ahead. It's a moving target. Graphics technology is progressing very quickly. We're still behind the curve. Even with all the work we've done in the last year, we're still not up to the level we want. The market is very competitive. We need companies to fund our work and to cooperate in developing the required infrastructure. Microsftware is managing to push D3D over OpenGL. We need the installed base of Microsoft products togain the commercial support of OpenGL applications on Linux. All those will make for a lot of challenges over the next year.

I spent most of the week after SIGGRAPH with a nasty cold. I'm REALLY glad to be over it! I'm looking forward to a healty and enjoyable weekend.

I'm back from SIGGRAPH. It all went really well. As usual I saw a ton of old friends. It is great to catch up and see what everyone is doing. As usual, there's a number of really cool papers that would be fun to implement, if I had more time.

The most exciting part was the amount of Linux on the show floor. Every major vendor was showing at least some Linux. I had a couple different people tell me that I had saved the industry by introducing Linux. It was a blast! We had our 3rd Linux 3D BOF. About 300 people attended and we had about 15 speakers over the two hours. It was a real good event. (Although next time we really need to have a microphone!) It's great to get so many people together. We'll post a summary on http://www.linux3d.org soon.

I'm off to SIGGRAPH. I'm looking forward to spending a week in New Orleans, even though the weather is going to be awfully hot. New Orleans is a fun city. Sort of a theme park for adults. Drinks, Music, and entertainment all on the streets at all hours of the morning.

I'll try to do a post SIGGRAPH report on my website.

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