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8.3 VRML II Browsers

See also section 1.1.5 on [*] for more conceptual issues! [maybe I should move this section there]. Products mentionned in this section can be found from our VRML page (

Currently (Jan 98) the browser situation is very good if you own a Win95 machine. It's not great if you are the proud owner of a SGI workstation or a Mac and it's downright bad if you happen to own a Sun or Linux or whatever else box. Here are a few tips. Note that information on where to find browsers is on our VRML pointers page.

8.3.1 Win95

In March 97 I preferred the Cosmo Player. Note that text nodes don't are not implemented. Use Sony's Community Place for that. In order to switch between plugins, get Sony's plug-in chooser. Those two browsers will certainly rapidly try to match the full VRML 2 standard, but other contenders may appear too.

Since April 97 I am using Worldview Beta4. It's the faster browser around and seems to implement most everything. Colors may not be as pretty, but I don't care right now.

Since Jan 98 we are back to Cosmo for general work and use Sony's and Blaxxun's browsers for multi-user things.

8.3.2 VRML on old SUNs

If you have an old SUN (like a standard Sparc5, 10 or 20) they all come with a simple 256 color card. No full VRML 2 browsers will currently (March 97) work with those, except VrWave which certainly sometimes in 98 will become a truly VRML 97 compliant browser.

Consider buying a PC. It's cheaper than getting a decent graphics card for your old Sun and for just viewing VRML, Win95 will do.

8.3.3 PowerMac

Currently (Jan 98), the best VRML 2 browser I could find is WorldView (but it lacks Java support).

In order to look at standard VRML 2 worlds you must give your browser more memory ! (before you run Netscape: ``Get Info'' in the Finder's ``File'' menu).

8.3.4 SGI/Irix

As of Jan 98 the news is that SGI decided not to favor development for its own hardware, so you are stuck with last year's Cosmo Player. It will lack support of Java scripting, and won't recognize Javascript if you don't call it VrmlScript. Send them angry mails and decide to learn the EAI which is a kewl interface for doing many interesting things. Use a PC for scripting Script nodes in the meantime (though nobody can tell if we EVER will get Cosmo 2 on Irix).

Here is a clue about Java Problems found at

To troubleshoot your Java applets in UNIX environment,
you can start Communicator with the "-java" switch.
 #netscape -java
 Usage: -java [-options] class
 where options include:
     -help             print out this message
     -version          print out the build version
     -v -verbose       turn on verbose mode
     -debug            enable remote JAVA debugging
     -noasyncgc        don't allow asynchronous garbage collection
     -verbosegc        print a message when garbage collection occurs
     -noclassgc        disable class garbage collection
     -cs -checksource  check if source is newer when loading classes
     -ss<number>       set the maximum native stack size for any thread
     -oss<number>      set the maximum Java stack size for any thread
     -ms<number>       set the initial Java heap size
     -mx<number>       set the maximum Java heap size
     -D<name>=<value>  set a system property
     -classpath <directories separated by ':'>
                       list directories in which to look for classes
     -prof[:<file>]    output profiling data to ./ or ./<file>
     -verify           verify all classes when read in
     -verifyremote     verify classes read in over the network [default]
     -noverify         do not verify any class

next up previous contents index
Next: 8.4 Field and Event Up: 8. Appendix Previous: 8.2 VRML Tools
D.K.S. - 1998-03-18