Geomview - interactive geometry viewer
geomview [-b r g b
] [-c commandfile
] [-noinit] [-nopanels] [-noopengl]
[-wpos xmin ymin xsize ysize
] [-M[cg][sp] pipename
...] --] [
Geomview is an interactive geometry viewer written at the Geometry Center. It
displays the objects in the files given on the command line and allows the
user to view and manipulate them interactively.
The present version (1.7) of geomview runs on Silicon Graphics Irises, and X
Window System workstations. We are very interested in hearing about any
problems you may have using it; see below for information on how to contact
In addition to providing interactive control over a world of objects via the
mouse and keyboard, geomview has an interpreted language of commands for
controlling almost every aspect of its display. It can execute files
containing statements in this language, and it can communicate with other
programs using the language. See geomview(5), e.g. the file
man/cat5/geomview.5 in the geomview distribution, for more details of the
This manual page serves only as a (very) terse reference manual for geomview.
For a gentler introduction to the program and the format of the data files it
can read, see "overview" and "oogltour" in the
"doc" directory of the geomview distribution, or better, see the
full manual: "geomview.tex" or "geomview.ps", also in the
"doc" directory. The source distribution also includes a tutorial
for how to write external modules in the "src/bin/example"
- Set the window background color to the given r g b
- Interpret the commands in commandfile, which may be ``-''
for standard input. The command language is described in geomview(5).
Commands may be supplied literally, as in ``-c "(ui-panel main
off)"''; since they include parentheses, they must be quoted.
- Causes geomview to initially display #windows camera
- Specifies the initial location and size of the first camera
window. With ``-'', you are prompted for window placement.
- -M objname
Display (possibly dynamically changing) geometry (or commands) sent via ``
togeomview -g objname [geomview-shell-command]'' or
`` geomstuff objname file ...''. The data
appears as a geomview object named objname.
Actually listens to the named pipe ``/tmp/geomview/ objname''; you
can achieve the same effect with the shell commands:
mknod /tmp/geomview/ objname p
(assuming the directory and named pipe don't already exist), then executing
the geomview command:
objname < /tmp/geomview/objname)
- -M[cg][ps[un|in|in6]] PIPENAME|TCPPORT
The -M option accepts modifiers: a 'g' suffix expects geometry
data (the default), while a ' c' suffix expects GCL commands. A '
p' implies the connection should use a named pipe (the default on
everything except on the NeXT), while ' s' implies using a
UNIX-domain socket (the default on the NeXT). Since version 1.9 of
Geomview internet domain sockets are also supported; use ' sin' to
make Geomview listen on the IPv4 port given by TCPPORT, or use
'sin6' to make Geomview listen on an IPv6 port (also as specified
by TCPPORT). 'sun' is a synonym for ' s', i.e. use
the Unix domain socket with the name PIPENAME. If PIPENAME
starts with a slash ('/'), then it is assumed to be an absolute pathname,
otherwise the named pipe or socket is created below
So -Mcs fred selects reading commands from the UNIX-domain socket
named /tmp/geomview/fred, -Mcsin 40000 selects reading
commands from the IPv4 port '40000'.
- Disable the use of OpenGL for (possibly) hardware
accelerated rendering, even if the Geomview binary has support for OpenGL
compiled in. This also disables the support for transparency and and
- Start up displaying no panels, only graphics windows.
Panels may be invoked later as usual with the "Px" keyboard
shortcuts or "(ui-panel ...)" command.
- Read no initialization files. By default, geomview reads
the system-wide ".geomview" file, followed by those in
$HOME/.geomview and ./.geomview.
- -e modulename
- Start an external module; modulename is the name
associated with the module, appearing in the main panel's Applications
browser, as defined by the emodule-define command (see geomview(5) for
- -start modulename arguments ... --
- Like -e but allows you to pass arguments to the external
module. "--" signals the end of the argument list; the
"--" may be omitted if it would be the last argument on the
geomview command line.
- -run shell-command arguments ...
- Like -start but takes the pathname of executable of the
external module instead of the module's name.
The format of the files read by geomview is described in oogl(5); type "man
5 oogl", or see the file man/cat5/oogl.5 in the geomview distribution,
Note to users of MinneView (the precursor to geomview): geomview can read
MinneView files, but MinneView cannot read all geomview files.
Immediately upon starting up geomview reads and executes the commands in the
system-wide .geomview file in the "data" subdirectory of the
geomview directory. Then, if there is a file named .geomview in the current
directory, it executes the commands in that file. If no in the user's home
directory, and executes it if found. The startup file of an individual user
overrides the systemwide defaults, since later commands take precedence over
Geomview has the ability to interact via its command language with other
programs, called "external modules". Many such modules have been
written and appear in the "Application" browser in the main geomview
panel. To invoke a module you click the mouse on the module's entry in this
browser. This starts the module and adds an additional entry to the browser,
beginning with a number in square brackets as in `` Crayola'', which
represents the running instance of that module. You can terminate the module
by clicking on the numbered entry. Modules are documented separately from
geomview. See the manual page for each module for details.
Geomview looks for external modules in a special directory for modules. In the
geomview distribution tree this is the "bin/$MACHTYPE" subdirectory.
A module consists of two files: the executable program, and a "module
init file", which is a whose name is ".geomview-" followed by
the module name. The module init file tells geomview how to run that program.
Be sure to always keep these two files together; geomview needs both of them
in order to run the module. To install a new module, simply put the module's
executable file and its init file in your geomview's module directory. The
next time you run geomview, it will know about that module.
Geomview can actually looks for modules in a list of directories; by default
only the "bin/$MACHTYPE" directory is on this list. See the
set-emodule-path command in geomview(5) for details.
There is a tutorial for how to write external modules in the
An external module init file is the file that tells geomview how to run that
module. Its name must be ".geomview-" followed by the name of the
module, e.g. ".geomview-foo". It should contain geomview commands;
typically it will contain a single emodule-define command which enters the
module into geomview's application browser:
(emodule-define "Foo" "foo")
The first string is the name that appears in the browser. The second string is
the command to invoke the module. It may contain arguments; in fact it can be
an arbitrary shell command.
Many geomview operations are available from the keyboard. Hitting the
"?" button on the main panel, or typing "?" with the
cursor in any window, causes geomview to print a message on standard output
listing all the keyboard shortcuts.
Keyboard commands apply while cursor is in any graphics window and most
control panels. Most commands allow one of the following selection prefixes
(if none is provided the command applies to the current object):
g world geom g# #'th geom g* All geoms
c current camera c# #'th camera c* All cameras
Many allow a numeric prefix: if none they toggle or reset current value.
Draw: Shading: Other:
af Faces 0as Constant av eVert normals: always face viewer
ae Edges 1as Flat #aw Line Width (pixels)
an Normals 2as Smooth #ac edges Closer than faces(try 5-100)
ab Bounding Boxes 3as Smooth, non-lighted al Shade lines
aV Vectors aT allow transparency at Texture-mapping
Color: aC allow concave polygons
Cf Ce Cn Cb CB face/edge/normal/bbox/backgnd
r rotate [ Leftmouse=X-Y plane, 0vp Orthographic view
t translate Middle=Z axis, 1vp Perspective view
z zoom FOV Shift=slow motion, vd Draw other views' cameras
f fly in r/t modes. ] #vv field of View
o orbit [Left=steer, Middle=speed ] #vn near clip distance
s scale #vf far clip distance
w/W recenter/all v+ add new camera
h/H halt/halt all vx cursor on/off
@ select center of motion (e.g. g3@) vb backfacing poly cull on/off
#vl focal length
L Look At object v~ Software shading on/off
show Panel: Pm Pa Pl Po main/appearance/lighting/obscure
Pt Pc PC Pf tools/cameras/Commands/file-browser
Ps P- saving/read commands from tty
Lights: ls le Show lights / Edit Lights
Metric: me mh ms Euclidean Hyperbolic Spherical
Model: mv mp mc Virtual Projective Conformal
N normalization < Pf load geom/command file
0N none > Ps save something to file ui motion has inertia
1N each TV NTSC mode toggle uc constrained (X/Y) motion
2N all uo motion in Own coord system
Rightmouse-doubleclick pick as current target object
Shift-Rightmouse pick interest (center) point
RR send RIB output to <fileprefix>NNN.rib (default fileprefix == "geom")
RC Emulate lines using cylinders (default)
RP Emulate lines using polygons
Ra choose ASCII RIB format (default)
Rb choose BINARY RIB format
Rt choose Display token to specify .tiff file (default)
Rf choose Display token to specify framebuffer
Rs Simulate background color with Polygon (default)
Rx No background simulation - fully transparent (alpha) background
The "geomview" command is actually a shell script that sets various
environment variables which tell geomview about your local setup, and then
invokes the geomview executable program "gvx" (or
"gvx.OGL"). Do not run "gvx" by itself; always invoke
geomview with the "geomview" shell script.
oogl(5) - OOGL geometric file formats and conventions
geomview(5) - geomview command language reference
data/.geomview - default initialization file in geomview command language
data/geom - sample data files
The ``geomview'' shell script sets these internally by default; if you set them
before invoking geomview, the values you set will be used instead of the
GEOMVIEW_GVX - geomview executable
GEOMVIEW_DATA_DIR - default directory for data files
GEOMVIEW_LOAD_PATH - colon-separated search path for data files
GEOMVIEW_EMODULE_DIR - default directory for external emodules
GEOMVIEW_EMODULE_PATH - colon-separated search path for external modules
GEOMVIEW_SYSTEM_INITFILE - system-wide GCL initialization script
GEOMDATA - top directory of the default data tree, used by some modules
GEOMVIEW_DOC_DIR - path to the user manual
WEBBROWSER - executable for viewing the HTML version of the manual when invoking
the `Manual (HTML)' menu item
PDFVIEWER - executable for viewing the PDF version of the manual when invoking
the `Manual (PDF)' menu item
Stuart Levy Tamara Munzner Mark Phillips
Celeste Fowler Nathaniel Thurston
Daniel Krech Scott Wisdom
Daeron Meyer Timothy Rowley
The National Science and Technology Research Center for
Computation and Visualization of Geometric Structures
(The Geometry Center)
University of Minnesota
Sometimes core dumps on bad input files.
Zoom and scale have no inertia.
Virtual spherical mode doesn't work on VGXes.