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Chapter 1

Software Available for Unix Workstations

As mentioned previously there are several products available for the main Unix workstation platforms as shown in the following table. The table is intended only to give a quick overview and overall comparison of the products on offer. The most well-known public domain items are also included for comparison.
Product         Platform      Whiteboard   Shared App   Standards/Encodings

Communique Unix Yes Yes CellB, JPEG,Indeo DECSpin DEC Ultrix No No JPEG, G711 InPerson SGI Irix Yes No HDCC, G711 IVS Unix wb No H261, PCM... (Public Domain) LBL (nv,vat,sd) Unix wb No (Public Domain) Picture SUN Yes Yes Window PSVC SUN, HP Yes Yes Motion-JPEG (Paradise) ShowMe SUN, Other? Yes Yes CellB, G711
Source: WWW pages on MICE server ("Desktop Videoconferencing Products")

The table includes an indication of which of the videoconferencing components described previously are present. As can be seen most of the commercially available products include whiteboard and shared application facilities. The public domain package IVS supports video and audio communications and can be used with wb, a public domain whiteboard facility. LBL is also a public domain offering. It includes video, audio, and whiteboard support (via wb). Neither of these public domain items have a shared application component. Note that at the time of writing there is no product available from IBM for AIX. IBM have indicated that a product will be available in future.

The last column gives an indication of the video (and possibly audio) compression standards used by the various products. It can be seen that most use proprietary standards at present but some components of H320 are being used. The above table should clearly be read with caution since it will become out of date rapidly.

In the present project we used Showme and therefore can comment on it in some detail. We also obtained copies of IVS and the LBL group and were able to assess them in use to some extent. We were able to carry out a paper evaluation of InPerson from a full set of documentation. We also obtained two copies of Proshare for the PC during the lifetime of the project and were able to assess this relative to the other Unix-based software.

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