Bryan VanDeVen bryanv at
Sun Jan 30 20:57:36 EST 2000

On Sun, 30 Jan 2000, The Casteels wrote:

> I've downloaded vtk, and in searching for how to use it, I've found
> Tcl/Tk.....
> Now it appears that I need a C++ compiler even with Tcl.
> Is this true?

Certainly, if you want to build VTK from scratch from the source code, you
will need a C++ compiler.  What platform are you on?  Perhaps someone has
pre-built versions you could use.

> It seems strange that I need to learn C++ to be able to use these tools,
> that's what I was trying to avoid.

You don't need to _know_ C++ to build VTK from the source, but that does
not mean you won't need a compiler at all.  You can't compile source
without a compiler; this is fairly standard. :) But once the libraries
(and tcl/tk bindings!) are built you need never worry about C++ if you
don't want to.

> Does vtk offer nothing more than what GLUT would give me?

I couldn't say, I have only a passing experience with GLUT.  I would be
very suprised if GLUT has any comparable functionality for visualizing
actual data tho.  I think all GLUT provides is very rudimentary GUI stuff,
an event loop, and a simpler API for OpenGL.

> Even if C++ is a prerequisite, why don't tools like this come with a
> compiler?

Thousands of packages are available as source code distributions.  Not
only would it be incredibly redundant and wasteful for tham all to include
a (very large) C++ compiler, it is also completely impractical - they
would have to include not only a compiler for _your_ platfrom, but for
every other possible platform as well.  This is impossible.  Getting the 
right compilers is your responsibility. (or your sysadmin's)  Otherwise
hopefully someone has a prebuilt version you can use.


Bryan Van de Ven
Applied Research Labs
University of Texas, Austin

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