View Full Version : Newtek must adopt Rendevous

07-11-2003, 09:36 PM

It is now essential that Newtek incorporates Apple's Rendezvous technology into Lightwave's network renderer.

Those not familiar with Rendezvous can read about it here:

Lightwave's current network rendering solution is enough to make you Scream! You have to create little text files that contain command line instructions that drive Mac users batty.

I can understand that Newtek wants the Lightwave interface to remain consistent across all the computer platforms that Lightwave is supported on. However, I think that network rendering should be the exception. Mac users should not be hobbled by a network renderer with a Microsoft DOS-style command line interface.

The Mac OS has several unique networking advantages that should be exploited. One of these advantages is Rendezvous.

With a Rendezvous-enabled network renderer, command lines would be gone. Each rendering node would "handshake" with each other node, and automatically communicate the necessary information. This stuff should be invisible to the user.

The Screaming should end, and Mac users should be given a network renderer that does justice to the Mac OS.

07-11-2003, 10:48 PM
That is an excellent idea! It'd be nice to see an advantage that mac lw has over pc lw.

07-11-2003, 10:55 PM
It may be possible to incorporate it on a Windows machine also, as Apple's Rendezvous is based on ZeroConf which I think is open source. As far as I understand the situation, Microsoft doesn't yet support it on Windows.

Regardless of whether or not Windows can do it, it should be enabled on the Mac Lightwave anyway.

07-12-2003, 09:05 PM
Stuff them, we cant wait!
Also ip over firewire that panther supports!

07-13-2003, 05:01 AM
Yes I agree, using LW on the Mac is like using a PC emulation program, LW is severely handicapped by trying to be a PC on the Mac, the massive advantages of the Mac ROMs and structure are ignored ? what a waste. A proper Mac LW would be fantastic.

07-13-2003, 08:50 AM
Well put!
After all Apple made all these great technologies that are years ahead of windows, lets do it now.

07-13-2003, 10:15 AM
I don't think NT should worry about the Mac version becoming more advanced than the PC version if they fully utilise available Mac technologies, they should not hold back the Mac version just to make it look similar to the PC version. There is no question that the Mac version can have features that will not be available on the PC for some time.

07-13-2003, 11:06 AM
Bluetooth baby.



07-13-2003, 11:34 AM
My 2 cents: (and I'm not trying to start an OS war here).
We all agree that the network rendering needs an overhaul. If it uses Rendevouz on the Mac, so be it, as long as it will remain cross platform compatible (one advantage of the current, clumsy solution).
Of course, one could say the command line is the native interface of unix based OSX, open a shell and off you render :D
Rendevouz (from what I gathered from Apples Developer pages) only adresses a limited set of issues that come up with network rendering, basically it only allows apps to scan for service providers, and those to exchange data. Creating an app that supports Rendevouz doesn't mean that it'll be easier to use than the current set up. On the other hand, tools like Spider for Windows / Linux included all the features that Rendevouz provides. It seems to be more a matter of how the whole process is approached, rather than what technology will be used.
As for the ip. If OSX provides it like any other network connection, it shouldn't really make a difference to LW (the same goes for Airport / WLAN or bluetooth). That is the job of the OS, not the app.
I guess NT are very careful about making platform centric choices, since it does take time away from devloping "core" features that would be usefull to both patforms. That's for example why LW doesn't support DirectX on Windows, nor any of the more adavnced gfx board features...
Looking at it from another POV: Would like development time being taken away due to the inclusion of directX?


07-13-2003, 02:46 PM
Unless NT build their own machine with their own operating system they have no choice but to utilise the available technologies to get the most out of LW, that means getting the most out of Windows and the most out of Mac OS, otherwise the software is hampered and it will fall further and further behind as other platform specific improvements arrive. NT has got to stop just sitting LW on top of the OS and ignoring all the advanced utilities of the Mac OS. A number of other software developers have stopped making their own machines and OS because they cannot keep up with the tide of developments (computer technology accelerates much faster than it did in the past).
A Mac OS X version of LW should mean LW takes full advantage of the OS, at the moment LW is limping on the Mac but with proper integration it could be flying.

Ed M.
07-13-2003, 06:18 PM
Well, I see the ScreamerNet disaster has resurfaced (again). :rolleyes:

Anyway, Beam and a few others should remember these two discussions that took place a little over a year ago. The trick is not to let NewTek forget about the valuable information that the threads contained. Ted Devlin, Dean Dauger, John C, Welch and others have made excellent arguments in favor of scrapping SneakerNet.. errrr ScreamerNet and start from scratch. Now that the G5 and Panther are here, NewTek has little excuse. An incredibly FERTILE platform has just landed in their laps. They should have been considering this the moment these initial discussions took place




07-14-2003, 01:10 AM
Should the Mac version of Lightwave not use Rendezvous just to keep platform parity with the Windows version?

Actually, even if Rendezvous was introduced it would not stop anyone who still wanted to use command lines and text files, so the system would still be cross platform.

Imagine this..... Rendezvous enabled Lightwave. Here's a scenario:

On the main Lightwave interface you click on the render settings, and it immediately displays a dynamic list of all other computers on the network that have a Lightwave render node. Some of these computers may even be at remote locations, but they work seamlessly with your local machines.

The computers on the Rendezvous render list have names like "My Machine" or "Happy Mac"... no commands or slashes or IP addresses or gobblediegook.

All you have to do is click a check box next to the machines on the list that you wish to use, then you hit the render button. The host machine communicates with the other Rendezvous enabled nodes, and tells them the location of the source files, scenes, models and images.

Instant network rendering. What could be easier? Compare that to the existing Screamer's net.

07-14-2003, 02:02 AM
what you envisioned could be created without Rendezvous as well, that's my point. And, as a plus, it would be cross platform. Rendezvous just supplies the hooks to the app for a couple of network related functions...
Other apps have the identical functionality without ever hearing of Rendezvous. Rendezvous isn't a magical feature that instantly turns and app into a network aware app...
Looking at the current pitfalls of network rendering in LW, the services Rendezvous offers are just the tip of the iceberg so to speak...
I would prefer the whole renderer to be rewritten to support tiled rendering of still frames across the network. That would require tons of work (other renderers to that already, like mental ray, Real4D or finalrender, without the need for Rendezvous and with a very easy setup, i.e. none), and supporting or not supporting Rendezvous wouln't make it any easier (well, it might shave off a couple of days of development... on the Mac).

07-14-2003, 11:51 AM
there are a few points about using Platform native technologies that keep falling through the cracks here.
Because we are talking about Apple lets use them as an example.

If Screamernet was re-built hooking into rendezvous and Apple found a way to tighten up the code so to speak, and make it faster, as long as Newtek followed the rules when they re-wrote Screamernet, they should automatically get the benefits of Apple's hard work.

Using platform specific technologies, like rendezvous, the Cocoa Open/save dialog, and Cocoa Windows, lowers the amount of work needed to maintain system compatibility over time, speeds up the implementation, leverages the expertise of engineers in their fields, and brings more features to the application for free.
Newtek is in a sensitive position because they must maintain a platform agnostic code base, but it is My Opinion that they could easily maintain clean code, and support many of the technologies that would make the development of LW easier, faster and more compatible with future versions of OS X.

I think Newtek Should cozy up to Rendezvous. Its a very good fit with what they do, and dont do well. But I will take a step back and say, that Newtek should really start studying the mac platform. There are literally dozens of helpful APIs and toolsets available. Newtek is doing alot of the work that Apple has already done for them, and the sad part of this story is that this work does not appeal to newtek, they dont do it very well, and they probably spend too much time working on this stuff in every release of LW, updating their code, because they are swimming against the current.

(UI, Network functions, Open save dialogs, dot extensions, cross platform compatibility, windowing behavior, even apple's metal texture looks better)

one more thing: Newtek should really dump the hub, inter-application communication is not That difficult!

07-14-2003, 12:06 PM
Good points. And yes, of course, the app will profit from all optimizations of the OS functions it uses...
I assume that around 95% of LWs code are platform independant (just a guess), 5% are probably wrappers around OS specific functions (like file requesters or Quicktime, Windows handling etc...), everything else standard C library calls (I'm not sure about the memory management...).
Of course, if you rely on the OS, you also get all of the OS bugs (I remember obscure memory problems of LW 4.0 on NT 3.51 that were connected to the OS...).
Supporting OS specific functions in this context means wrapping them to interface with the non-OS specific parts... Making the UI platform dependant would be a massive amount of work for example, for the thirs party developers as well, unless the UI is wrapped properly.
Right now I can program on a PC, and I can be fairly sure the code runs on a MAc after a simple re-compile (If I stick to LW and C native libraries...)
I guess they might consider Cocoa now, and drop OS9 from future releases (it would make sense), cleaning up the code a bit more.
As for Rendezvous, it will help them with a tiny fraction of a clean network renderer, looking at Stealthnet (which was a disaster), one could see that the problems were in other areas...
As for APIs and toolsets, there are plenty of cross platform APIs and toolsets available as well, wrapping up OS specific code, and I guess NT will concentrate on those... Imagine if they would have jumped heavily on the Quicktime 3D wagon (or Direct X for that matter), what a disaster for the "other" platform.
Yes, I would like to see more platform specific code, but only if it makes sense. If it doesn't, do it cross platform.

Ed M.
07-14-2003, 02:26 PM
Lightwolf, I strongly encourage you to visit the two links I provided earlier. Seriously, read them completely through if you haven't. There is a LOT of information in them that you might not be aware of. Again, read the posts and pay strict attention to the posts of Ted Devlin, Dean Dauger and John C. Welch.


07-14-2003, 03:13 PM
yeah I agree... only where it makes sense. Its obvious tho, that Newtek isn't even aware that they have these options, because otherwise it would be a no-brainer to use some of the available tools.

there is no reason to go and write your own window behaviors, and there are Plenty of reasons not to. And what does Newtek do? they spend valuable time in the dev cycle writing window behavior, which does not conform to Standards, quickly deteriorates, and is Now more than slightly buggy. The fix is to use apple's windows and just Dont override the default behaviors. This means writing LESS code, than maintaining the current Buggy, and incorrect behaviors.

stealthnet: my take on that was a group of good programmers trying to do something they dont understand. I think the lesson there is: dont try to do what your not good at.

anyway, two sides of the same coin,

07-15-2003, 01:52 AM
Originally posted by Ed M.
Ted Devlin, Dean Dauger, John C, Welch and others have made excellent arguments in favor of scrapping SneakerNet.. errrr ScreamerNet and start from scratch. Now that the G5 and Panther are here, NewTek has little excuse. An incredibly FERTILE platform has just landed in their laps. They should have been considering this the moment these initial discussions took place

Hi Ed,
:D I remember that conversation... I guess most points are still valid imho...
Unless NT revamps the complete renderer so that it really takes advantage of paralell rendering, there really is no need for anything but a decent network controller.
Why there isn't one for a Mac is beyond me... I'm still running Spider (have been for the past 4 years) and have happily rendered more than a million frames on our farm, without major hassle.

(sorry for the double post, I wrote this yesterday when the server was down and sent it today...)

07-15-2003, 02:07 AM
Originally posted by Ed M.
Lightwolf, I strongly encourage you to visit the two links I provided earlier. Seriously, read them completely through if you haven't.
If you've read them as well you should know that I was extremely active, especially in the second thread :)
Michael Wolf (lightwolf) :D

07-15-2003, 08:57 PM
Here's a couple of interesting links.

The O'reilly Network (always good for tech articles) compares Rendezvous/Zeroconf with Microsoft's proprietary Universal Plug & Play:

When Microsoft uses the term "Universal" we know that means "in Microsoft's universe."

The Zeroconf organization also has a website:
This page has other good links worth reading.

If anyone from Newtek is reading this, it maybe useful to check Apple's Rendezvous Developer Support Page:
...from which I quote:
"Rendezvous is a revolutionary networking technology that lets you create an instant network of computers and devices without any configuration, allows the services and capabilities such as file sharing and printing of each device to be registered on the network, and allows these services to be dynamically discoverable by other devices on the network. Rendezvous enables this seamless networking and service discovery over the standard and ubiquitous IP networking protocol."

Rendezvous would allow the Lightwave renderer to access other nodes on the local network using IP. The file sharing and services of one machine would be automatically known to the rest. Isn't that what we want in a network renderer for Lightwave?

Due to Rendezvous' use of Multicast IP (broadcasting packets of infomation rather than point-to-point like regular IP) I don't know if it would be of use if one of your render nodes is in a remote location. Remote rendering via IP could be the thing of the future. I think programs like iChat AV use a server to locate remote iChat clients with Rendezvous.

With today's broadband ADSL/cable links, transfer of object and image files is very quick, and much quicker than the time it usually takes to render one frame of an animation. When this network transfer time becomes shorter than the time to render one frame, then that is the point at which remote network rendering becomes viable.

Is there any reason why Rendezvous could not be deployed in a Lightwave network renderer across all the platforms... Mac/Windows/Linux that Lightwave currently renders on?

07-16-2003, 02:12 AM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
Is there any reason why Rendezvous could not be deployed in a Lightwave network renderer across all the platforms... Mac/Windows/Linux that Lightwave currently renders on?
No there isn't, I'm not opposing the idea, but:

Rendezvous enables this seamless networking and service discovery over the standard and ubiquitous IP networking protocol.

And that's all it does really.
File Sharing is an example of an application that could be developed on top of Rendezvous, put it is not a part of it.
This will solve a small amount of the current problems with screamernet (Basically, you wouldn't have tocreate a shared command directory and manually tell the nodes where to look for the command files).
However, Rendezvous per se wouldn't make the installation or configuration (plugins/content dir) of nodes any easier...

07-16-2003, 04:38 AM
Quote from BusinessWeek magazine:
"According to folks inside Apple's Rendezvous development program, a prominent maker of 3-D rendering software will release a new version of its product with Rendezvous compatibility."

Is this Newtek? If this is not Newtek, then Newtek should start looking at this issue seriously, as the competition already are.

The same BusinessWeek story gives other examples of Rendezvous usage: A laptop user with iTunes walks into a room and can instantly see the music files on everyone else's computers in the room.

If iTunes can display a list of all music files on someone elses computer, why can't Lightwave's renderer find the content files on other Rendezvous enabled render nodes?

If Lightwave's renderer could find the content files, how far could this concept be extended? Why would it not be able to find the plug-ins also? Surely there must be a way to bypass passwords and registration of these plug-ins so that a render node could start using them.

Look, if all that Rendezvous could ever do was eliminate the text files that tell Screamernet's nodes where everything is located, then that alone would be useful enough. It would ease some of the pain of configuring Screamernet.

I think that with some creative thought that the Rendezvous concept could be extended even further.

07-16-2003, 04:50 AM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
Look, if all that Rendezvous could ever do was eliminate the text files that tell Screamernet's nodes where everything is located, then that alone would be useful enough. It would ease some of the pain of configuring Screamernet.
This is what Zeroconf / Rendevouz actually does:

* Allocate addresses without a DHCP server.
* Translate between names and IP addresses without a DNS server.
* Find services, like printers, without a directory server.
* Allocate IP Multicast addresses without a MADCAP server.

No more, and no less. Which still means a complete rewrite of the current network rendering, something NT has shied away from for a long time (look at the threads on the old board...).
However, there are screamernet controllers out there that provide the same functionality, without Rendezvous.
Beam, what you want has nothing to do with Rendezvous, exept for the hype that Apple surrounds it with. You want simpler network rendering, and the issues you seem to have are at a different level.

Ed M.
07-29-2003, 06:56 PM
FormZ is already utilizing a network-render solution:

On the Macintosh side, the improvements appear even more dramatic when running native under OS X, which is supported in v. 4.0. It should also be noted that certain features previously supported by form·Z are temporarily disabled, when running under OS X. This is because certain 3rd party developers have not released yet their OS X versions of their products. These are Viewpoint export, Shockwave 3D export, and Microscribe digitizer support...

Version 4.0 reveals at least one reason for the delay: a complete reengineering of the software's underlying code has made the program OS X native and faster across the board. The improved speed is due in part to a new, timesaving network rendering system, which is included with the $500 RenderZone option. Perhaps more important, formZ's new architecture lets you disable features so you can conserve memory and reduce interface clutter. formZ also has new tools and features that can be added as plug-ins. ...

you can take advantage of the network renderer, new to this version of formZ. It uses a server application that runs on any machine in your network (PC or Mac); the client software is installed on other network computers via a TCP/IP-connected LAN or WAN. The user sends jobs to the server, which in turn farms out the project to the clients and reassembles the resulting renderings on the user's Mac. If you're producing large numbers of rendered images and you have idle Macs or PCs to conscript into service, this feature can dramatically boost productivity...

Network rendering uses a "farm" of computers to render parts of an image or animation by splitting the task among a number of available machines. form·Z creates the model and sets up a scene and its rendering parameters that are then sent to a rendering server, which in turn distributes the task to the machines in the farm. When the rendering is complete, form·Z retrieves it from the server and assembles the parts into a single image or animation. All this at a fraction of the time it would have taken if the task was executed on a single machine. Another rendering oriented speed enhancement is the new multi-processor support for Macintosh machines, as has been available for Windows...


07-30-2003, 02:11 AM
Ed M.
This is how a bunch of other renderers / apps behave (without the need for Rendezvous btw....)
Realsoft 3D (at least 2-3 years now)
mental ray (has been doing that for ages...)
final render (Max)

It would need a bit of a re-designed renderer in LW though...


07-30-2003, 03:24 AM
Beam, I guess it is Pixar who is utilizing Rendevouz. On the Apple Shake Users Event in San Diego a couple of days ago they announced they are bringing prMan to OSX (beta in August/September).

Also they announced that the company (Pixar) is migrating to the Mac platform..!

This could also be very good news in regards of network rendering. Hopefully they'll cook up some great stuff that hopefully also wil inspire and open up NewTek's eyes (though you guys have been trying to for quite a while now).