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SGI sets standard with Moving Worlds

Silicon Graphics Incorporated will tomorrow announce that its proposal for the next version of VRML has been ratified by the VRML Architecture Group, beating out Microsoft and other major competitors.

Silicon Graphics Incorporated today announced that its proposal for the next version of VRML has been ratified by the VRML Architecture Group, beating out Microsoft's ActiveVRML proposal for a standard that should free up developers to create more 3D applications for the Web.

SGI is expected to announce that its Moving Worlds has become the "working document" standard for VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) 2.0, a language that allows 3D content to be viewed on the Web. The group is composed of eight members of the VRML technical community, including the language's creator Mark Pesce.

Moving Worlds beat out rival proposals from Apple Computer, Sun Microsystems, and Microsoft.

Despite the defeat, Apple has officially endorsed Moving Worlds and is working with SGI to develop compression tools for faster delivery of 3D commands over the Internet, according to SGI marketing manager John McCrea. Sun on the other hand is working with SGI to provide 3D capabilities for its Java programming language but has not actually endorsed Moving Worlds. And Microsoft is staying clear of Moving Worlds altogether.

"Right now, [we feel] that it's too early for definition of standards on the Internet. Moving Worlds is an important standard, but there are other important ones out there," said a company spokesperson.

Some 56 companies, including Netscape Communications, announced support for Moving Worlds when it was proposed in February. Nonetheless, Microsoft's ActiveVRML proposal was expected by many to become the industry standard.

The VRML Architecture Group actually made its decision on March 27 after a long, deliberative process thrown open to Internet newsgroups. The specifications are available on SGI's Web site.

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