The Facsimile project's goal is to develop and maintain a high-quality, 3D, discrete-event simulation library that can be used for industrial simulation projects in an engineering and/or manufacturing environment.

Facsimile simulations run on Microsoft Windows as well as on Linux, Mac OS X, BSD and Unix.

GNU Lesser General Public License v3 Logo
Facsimile is open-source/free software and is distributed under version 3 of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPLv3).

Novell-Microsoft Agreement

Hmmm. I'm sure, if you're at all interested in open source, that you'll be aware of Novell's and Microsoft's recent announcement. I will not attempt to summarize their agreement here, but I am a little concerned about one aspect of it in particular. There has been some speculation that the agreement signals an acknowledgment by Novell that they are in violation of one or more Microsoft patents. Rather than put up their dukes and defend their position, they have capitulated. Their decision, I guess, but one that is bound to alienate many of their SuSE Linux customers.

AutoMod Cell File Format

AutoMod is a simulation software system geared towards the modeling of material handling systems and is developed by Applied Materials, Inc. It employs a proprietary 3D scene graph and an accompanying file format, termed the "cell" file format. This file format encodes the AutoMod scene graph, supporting a number of graphics primitives, kinematic motion and linked or embedded graphics in other formats. The objective of this document is to describe the cell file format in detail, in order to support the development of cell file tools such as editors, parsers, converters, etc. It is not an objective of this document to describe how to organize the encoding of a 3D image into cell primitives.

Off Topic Rant #2: More Palm LifeDrive woes

In my earlier blog entry, I detailed the problems I was having getting support for my Palm LifeDrive device. It turned out the problem was that the device's 4GB hard disk had failed. (Why a hard disk, when flash memory cards are so much more reliable, and getting so cheap and small?) I duly sent the unit in for repair - mailed at my expense - and received a replacement unit within a couple of weeks. It seems to be Palm's policy to use reconditioned units as replacement devices. So imagine my disgust when I found that the unit I received back from them still had someone else's data on it (they had not performed a secure erase of its data). Not only that but the touchscreen didn't work very well either - more on that in a moment.

S1. What is "discrete-event simulation"?

A simulation is any dynamic model that changes with time and that is used to predict the behavior of a (usually) far more complex system. The discrete-event bit is discussed in more detail below...

Off Topic Rant #1: Palm LifeDrive & call center hold music...

I have a Palm LifeDrive that is, quite honestly, a useless brick. I've only had the thing a couple of months and it regularly resets (losing its entire memory). A couple of days ago, it failed to boot but repeatedly keeps trying until the battery dies - this will probably be familiar to the vast majority of Palm users. Anyhow, I tried to do a hard reset and all that happened was that the screen went dead.

Facsimile Home Page Available

The Facsimile project's SourceForge-hosted home page is now available at:

http://facsimile.sourceforge.net/

The site uses the Drupal content management system and is currently being configured. A separate announcement will be issued when the site is formally launched. In the meantime, please feel free to visit the site and pass on your comments using the Bugs & Enhancements tracker.

Facsimile Project Is Born!

Back in mid 2000, a project called "gpdes3d" - general purpose, discrete-event simulation in 3D (catchy, eh?) was founded on SourceForge. Whether it was the forgettable name, the lack of time available to the project manager (and chief architect/coder/dogsbody), or whatever, this project never quite got off the ground.

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