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Frequently Asked Questions



What is the history of MINOS ?

In 1988 i wondered if it was possible to create a full 3D solid CAD system by using a PC under MSDOS. Since I had just bought a new PC (286 10 mhz) I tried to create my own system. I called it MINOS IV. I started to write MINOS with Microsoft® C 5.1 compiler.

In 1990, all the interactive system was created and MINOS was able to create lines by constraint. It worked under MSDOS by using my own graphic drivers (Hercules and EGA/VGA).

I added solids, topology and hidden line in 1991.

In 1993, MINOS had almost the same functions as today. But I was blocked by the memory space. Even if I was using EMS, XMS and swapping on disk, MINOS was too big. I had to find a solution...

That's what I did in 1994 when I decided to port MINOS on GCC compiler. Because the code was very portable it was not difficult to move to GCC. I called this version MINOS 32 because it worked in 32 bits. But there were a problem that I did not see. The debugger under GCC was not symbolic, but worked on assembly code. There were some bugs that I was unable to fix because I was unable to find them.

The solution came in 1995.... with Microsoft® Windows 95™. Then I ported MINOS back to the Microsoft® environnement by using Visual C++™ 4.0. I called this new version MINOS for Windows 2.0.

MINOS 2.0 was shipped in february 1997, MINOS 2.1 in september 1997.

Is it based on constructive solid geometry ?

Yes MINOS is a CSG based, but uses B.Rep also..

On what version of Windows does it work ?

Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP and later.

What are supported languages ?

English and French.

Is it possible to recover external datas ?

Yes an IGES interface is included.

I sometimes obtain "RESULT IS NOT CORRECT" when I do topological functions.

This can happen when facets are coplanar from one object to another. The best workaround is to move (a little) an object before using the function.

Does it have a text function ?


I sometimes obtain "BRANCH NOT FOUND" when I use some functions.

This is because I have written the interactive part of the function, but I was too lazy to write the code or did not have time enough. I did this to be sure that I would write the code soon (I hoped).

Is it possible to create applications based on MINOS ?

Yes, Minos is based on a library that I call "ICARE". ICARE has never been documented for the moment.

Were you alone to write MINOS ?


Tell us some technical informations about MINOS ?

MINOS is written in C language only.
There are 95000 lines of source including comments.
MINOS 32 had 5000 lines in assembly language.
MINOS 2.x don't have assembly sources.
I use Microsoft™ Visual C++ 5.0 and Microsoft™ Visual SourceSafe.
I don't use MFC's.

Is there a MINOS 2.3 version ?

Yes, but in my "lab" only. MINOS 2.2 has been shipped in 1998, and has never received a new version. 2.3 is a pre-version, but I think that I'll never ship it. It's too heavy for me.
MINOS 2.3 uses Microsoft™ Visual Studio 2008.

Has MINOS 2.3 new capabilities ?

Yes, it has the "fillet on lines" function and some debugs.

Will you port it on LINUX ?

I have not planned for the moment and I think that I'll never do this.

How can you do a true hidden line so fast ?

There is no specific secret. Normally a hidden line algorithm is a N * N complexity algorithm (two embedded loops). But if you add rejections and sorts you can drop down to N * sqrt (N) and lower N * ln (N) . Then add good geometric rejections and you have a fast algorithm. But the major secret is to work on a very slow computer. Do not forget that MINOS was born on a 286 10 MHz PC !

Copyright © Régis Le Boité 1997-2011