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Unsupported VRPN, No License Fees
The Virtual Reality Peripheral Network (VRPN) is public-domain software originally released by the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its development was initially supported by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Research Resources program and then by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. In 2015, principal maintenance for VRPN moved to Sensics as it was adopted for use in OSVR.
Current documentation available about VRPN is found on the VRPN web page (a copy of which is included with each release; the latest version can be found at http://www.vrpn.org). A paper describing VRPN was presented at the VRST 2001 conference. A reprint of the paper can be found here. A copy of the Powerpoint presentation can be found here. A Powerpoint presentation on the vrpn_Imager can be found here.
There is a VRPN Github project that you can register for to add bug/feature requests for VRPN.
VRPN Support by Developers and Users
The developers of VRPN are continually improving the system and adding features to support their own research and development. These improvements are added into the public-domain version as new releases. Outside users of VRPN often add new features and devices, and are encouraged to feed these improvements back to Github so that they can be included in future releases. This has two benefits: the group feeding back the techniques benefits because the changes are automatically carried to future releases and the entire community benefits from the addition of the new features.
If you are wondering whether a feature you want is coming soon, looking at the Github issues is a good way to find out. If you're hoping for a new feature, adding a Github issue is a way to let the community know that it is of interest.
Paid VRPN Support
For those wanting more reliable support, email to firstname.lastname@example.org provides fee-for-services support for VRPN. The intent is to widen the usefulness of VRPN while recovering the costs of supporting projects other than OSVR. This support has taken several forms, including:
- writing new device drivers for VRPN
- on-site installation of VRPN
- porting VRPN to new computing platforms
- providing documentation improvements
- user training and answering questions about VRPN not answered on the VRPN mailing list
This support is normally provided on an hourly, fees-for-services basis. Free estimates of the cost for particular enhancements and bug fixes are available. Fixed-rate, fixed-duration support contracts are also available if these are more appropriate for your needs (yearly or semester-long support contracts, for example).
The paid enhancements have been wrapped immediately back into the public-domain versions and released for general use. The feature enhancements in versions 4.07-5.00 and 05.02 of VRPN were enabled in whole or large part by industrial support from the Walt Disney VR Studios. Versions 05.01-05.02 were supported by Schlumberger Cambridge Research. Versions 07.32 nd 07.33 were supported by Sensics and YEI. This policy allows the entire community to benefit from the support, while still allowing the client to get features they need in a timely manner. VRPN is happy to list the names of supporting individuals or groups, but in order to preserve privacy we will not do so unless you request it.