Discussion:
I'm looking for samples of ReGIS and Sixel graphics.
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Grant Taylor
2018-01-14 23:53:45 UTC
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Does anyone have any samples of ReGIS or Sixel graphics?

I've found a few samples of ReGIS graphics and a handful of sample Sixel
graphic online.

I'm experimenting with Xterm's ability to display graphics and would be
very interested in any real world samples that people might have and
willing to share.
--
Grant. . . .
unix || die
a***@gmail.com
2018-01-17 20:18:04 UTC
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Hello!
And me!
I get back my Professional-350 with RT-11XM, it has REGIS
I cant find anywhere how REGIS can be used
Stephen Hoffman
2018-01-17 21:57:27 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
I cant find anywhere how REGIS can be used
What did you search for, and what search keywords did you attempt to use?


From the first hits on a DDG search for: ReGIS graphics:

http://ilkerf.tripod.com/cdoc/decregis.html
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7776112
https://vt100.net/docs/vt3xx-gp/chapter1.html
https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/187267/terminal-with-image-support
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7776511
http://41j.com/hterm/


Similar DDG search for: Sixel Graphics

http://web.archive.org/web/20140521194225/https://pypi.python.org/pypi/PySixel/0.1.5

https://github.com/saitoha/libsixel
https://github.com/mintty/mintty/issues/572
https://gist.github.com/saitoha/8539548
http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/wily/man1/img2sixel.1.html
https://vt100.net/docs/vt3xx-gp/chapter14.html
https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Sixel&item_type=topic
http://www.digiater.nl/openvms/decus/vax90b1/krypton-nasa/all-about-sixels.text


Yeah, there's some unrelated stuff, but resources and references do
seem to be available.


There's a pile of VT terminal documentation and tools referenced at the
following site:

http://vt100.net


ReGIS and SIXEL support is primarily creature of the display terminal
or terminal emulator involved; various models of DEC VT terminal offer
support. Emulator support is lacking, but see some of the above links.
Which is why you'll want to read the manuals for the more "recent" VT
series terminals, and partcularly the programming-related manuals for
these terminals. As for emulators, donno which emulators support what
graphics. Some of the commercial emulators definitely do have support
though, based on what else showed up in the above two DDG searches.

I'm sure there are previous discussions of SIXEL and ReGIS in the
comp.os.vms newsgroup archives, as well. Feel free to do a little
searching based on these and other search terms and resources, too.

DDG: https://duckduckgo.com
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
Grant Taylor
2018-01-19 05:22:34 UTC
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Post by Stephen Hoffman
What did you search for, and what search keywords did you attempt to use?
I've searched for many different things over the last few years.

I was hoping that people may have had old Sixel or ReGIS graphics in
their various archives that they might be willing to share.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
http://ilkerf.tripod.com/cdoc/decregis.html
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7776112
https://vt100.net/docs/vt3xx-gp/chapter1.html
https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/187267/terminal-with-image-support
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7776511
http://41j.com/hterm/
Similar DDG search for: Sixel Graphics
http://web.archive.org/web/20140521194225/https://pypi.python.org/pypi/PySixel/0.1.5
https://github.com/saitoha/libsixel
https://github.com/mintty/mintty/issues/572
https://gist.github.com/saitoha/8539548
http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/wily/man1/img2sixel.1.html
https://vt100.net/docs/vt3xx-gp/chapter14.html
https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Sixel&item_type=topic
http://www.digiater.nl/openvms/decus/vax90b1/krypton-nasa/all-about-sixels.text
Thank you for the links. I think I've seen > 90% of those pages in the
last few years. I've extracted a number of things from them too.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
Yeah, there's some unrelated stuff, but resources and references do seem
to be available.
Agreed.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
There's a pile of VT terminal documentation and tools referenced at the
http://vt100.net
Yep.

I'm aware of and have looked at some of the documentation from a 100
foot view. I'm trying to keep from falling in too far, yet.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
ReGIS and SIXEL support is primarily creature of the display terminal or
terminal emulator involved; various models of DEC VT terminal offer
support.  Emulator support is lacking, but see some of the above links.
 Which is why you'll want to read the manuals for the more "recent" VT
series terminals, and partcularly the programming-related manuals for
these terminals.   As for emulators, donno which emulators support what
graphics.   Some of the commercial emulators definitely do have support
though, based on what else showed up in the above two DDG searches.
All of my testing has been done via XTerm. I've had my decTerminalID
set to vt340 (in ~/.Xdefaults) for ~18 months to test various things.

I've gotten 256 color Sixel support working quite well in XTerm. I can
even watch animated .gif files by running them through img2sixe. :-)
Post by Stephen Hoffman
I'm sure there are previous discussions of SIXEL and ReGIS in the
comp.os.vms newsgroup archives, as well.  Feel free to do a little
searching based on these and other search terms and resources, too.
I need to get access to a good Usenet archive of this newsgroup. My
news servers (that I run) only have history going back to when I stood
them up about three months ago.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
DDG: https://duckduckgo.com
I need to use DDG more. Google routinely has me cussing at for one
reason or another.

Thank you fro the very detailed response Stephen. I do appreciate it.
--
Grant. . . .
unix || die
Stephen Hoffman
2018-01-19 15:49:35 UTC
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Post by Grant Taylor
I was hoping that people may have had old Sixel or ReGIS graphics in
their various archives that they might be willing to share.
The main archives are at digiater.nl and decuslib.com; the freeware and
DECUS SIG tapes are there.

Most folks using ReGIS and SIXEL and VT terminals weren't using
separate images, they were generating output and graphs from their
business apps. Or generating SIXEL as part of printing some other
format to a SIXEL printer.

I don't recall seeing many ReGIS or SIXEL files ever getting passed
around, even back then. Yes, there were some Christmas Tree
"proto-memes" and other such VT-based ephemera files passed around via
MAIL-11 back in the early days of VAX/VMS, but those files weren't
using ReGIS or SIXEL. The X formats (XBM, et al) and BMP and PNG (and
GIF, particularly once the patents expired) other formats became far
more common than the DEC-specific stuff, then JPG and the rest took
over.

SIXEL was rare enough it hasn't yet made the Wikipedia article on image
file formats, and I don't recall seeing ReGIS files around. ReGIS
sequences embedded in apps yes, but not separate files.
Post by Grant Taylor
Post by Stephen Hoffman
There's a pile of VT terminal documentation and tools referenced at the
http://vt100.net
...I'm aware of and have looked at some of the documentation from a 100
foot view. I'm trying to keep from falling in too far, yet.
Please read the docs. That's how the software from era that you're
interested here was used; how things really worked. Then consider
converting some images using libsixel or such; some of the newer tools
that work with these formats.
Post by Grant Taylor
Post by Stephen Hoffman
I'm sure there are previous discussions of SIXEL and ReGIS in the
comp.os.vms newsgroup archives, as well.  Feel free to do a little
searching based on these and other search terms and resources, too.
I need to get access to a good Usenet archive of this newsgroup. My
news servers (that I run) only have history going back to when I stood
them up about three months ago.
Google Groups. Google acquired the contents of Deja News and from
other folks, and now has (the only?) archives of usenet. Maybe
Archive.org has some archives?

ReGIS and SIXEL displays weren't used and weren't implemented like HTML
is. Not by most folks using VAX/VMS, at least. Folks wrote apps that
used those as output, via GKS or otherwise. Though it does look like
DECwindows screen captures can be generated in SIXEL format.

Closest generic predecessors to how HTML is used and works are probably
the DEC VTX product and the French Minitel implementations, and there
are likely a few others.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
Andy Burns
2018-01-20 13:53:31 UTC
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Post by Stephen Hoffman
Most folks using ReGIS and SIXEL and VT terminals weren't using
separate images, they were generating output and graphs from their
business apps. Or generating SIXEL as part of printing some other
format to a SIXEL printer.
Our application could view received faxes on a VT520 (or a PC using WRQ
Reflection emulator) but I don't think many users made use of it,
display was quite slow even at high baud rates, we printed to PCL or
Postscript instead.

The O/P could convert some images to sixel format

<https://github.com/saitoha/PySixel>
Grant Taylor
2018-01-20 22:12:53 UTC
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Post by Andy Burns
The O/P could convert some images to sixel format
I have been converting a number of things to Sixel.

I was specifically wondering about what, if anything, people might have
had in their archives.

IMHO part of learning a technology is learning what it was used for
originally, not just how I can use it now.
--
Grant. . . .
unix || die
Galen
2018-01-18 02:11:27 UTC
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One way to use ReGIS on a terminal or other device that supports it, would be from a program using VAX/DEC/HP GKS, a 2D graphics library available for VMS since way back (1980’s).

Complex or filled ReGIS graphics on serial terminals (e.g. VT340) will render very slowly, proportional to baud rate and limited by the terminal’s graphics processor (VT240 at 9600 being terribly slow as I recall.)

HP GKS can work with some Integrity VMS graphics hardware, most VMS Alpha graphics hardware, and X servers. (I don’t recall if it worked with VWS/UIS on, e.g., early pre-X VAXStations.)
o***@gmail.com
2018-01-19 20:41:00 UTC
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I think my only exposure to Regis and Sixel were when tweaking the DI-3000 drivers that generated it. Regis was one of those highly-architected DEC protrocols that didn't have performance on the designer's checklist. Encoding the graphics commands was very inefficient bitwise compared to the equivalent encoding for Tektronix terminals. The driver for the LN03 laser printer output Sixel, IIRC.
r***@gmail.com
2018-03-16 22:12:23 UTC
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Sorry for the late reply, but I've been looking for this too.

The old manuals have a lot of ReGIS examples, but nothing really pushing the envelope of what's possible and there's a lot of potential interactions which aren't explained. I found a number of old Sixel images with Kermit and other places, but it isn't clear when those were made or precisely how they should render.

The old DECUS library has a few ReGIS applications written in Fortran. I ported the sorting visualization, font editor, and paint program to g77 on Linux. That wasn't easy given they were in old Fortran with a lot of DEC extensions and used VMS libraries (I haven't had access to any VMS systems in almost 20 years). I don't know if I'm allowed to redistribute modified stuff from DECUS, otherwise I'd share them.

There's a bunch of other Sixel and ReGIS stuff in DECUS, but most of it looks like converters (ReGIS to Postscript, GIF to Sixel, etc.).

There are some modern sixel applications (tons of stuff including video players, X servers, web browsers -- mostly using libsixel). Gnuplot supports both ReGIS and Sixel (I have a patch to drastically improve the ReGIS driver, but have been sitting on it because I want to test it on a real VT340 before I send it out). Some other things like the GNU font utilities support ReGIS, but not in any kind of interesting way. I think Ghostscript supports Sixel, probably because some printers used it also.

I have found a number of references to commercial ReGIS software. It's generally in three categories:

1) DEC software. They had DECslide (presentation program), DECgraph (charting -- I've also seen mention of DECchart and DECalc but have no info on them), and some kind of diagram editor. I don't know if these are available anywhere anymore. There's a YouTube video with DECgraph, but it doesn't show much. There's a scan of a DECslide advertisement out there (http://www.1000bit.it/ad/bro/digital/DEC-VAX-DECslides.pdf), but that's all I've found.

2) Very specialized scientific, medical, and engineering applications. Most of this support seems to be left over and is unlikely in use today. These things look like they are super expensive to license and often require other hardware (like a telescope or mass spectrometer).

3) Special software written as part of a control system or security dashboard. This stuff isn't publicly available and is probably rapidly disappearing.

I've seen passing mentions of games using ReGIS or Sixel, but I've never found any software, screendumps, or details really.
Bee Nine
2021-09-09 06:36:57 UTC
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Post by r***@gmail.com
Sorry for the late reply, but I've been looking for this too.
It's called the "Long Tail" of the Internet and it's a good thing.
Post by r***@gmail.com
The old DECUS library has a few ReGIS applications written in Fortran. I ported the sorting visualization, font editor, and paint program to g77 on Linux. That wasn't easy given they were in old Fortran with a lot of DEC extensions and used VMS libraries (I haven't had access to any VMS systems in almost 20 years). I don't know if I'm allowed to redistribute modified stuff from DECUS, otherwise I'd share them.
Please do share them. Or at least share the techniques you used. I also haven't touched Fortran on a VMS system in decades and I'm having a devil of a time trying to compile an interactive ReGIS drawing program: https://www.digiater.nl/openvms/decus/lt89a/mdraw .
Post by r***@gmail.com
Gnuplot supports both ReGIS and Sixel (I have a patch to drastically improve the ReGIS driver, but have been sitting on it because I want to test it on a real VT340 before I send it out).
I have a real VT340. Shoot me some code at https://github.com/hackerb9/vt340test/ and I'll let you know the results.
Post by r***@gmail.com
Some other things like the GNU font utilities support ReGIS, but not in any kind of interesting way. I think Ghostscript supports Sixel, probably because some printers used it also.
You can try Phylip, the Phylogeny Inference Package, which has ReGIS output and uses it with the Hershey vector font to draw text. (apt install phylip, on Debian GNU/Linux).

I believe there was supposed to be a Sixel enhanced version of WordPerfect for VMS. I presume that simply means that when you do a Print Preview it'd take a couple minutes to slowly dump an image to your screen.
Post by r***@gmail.com
I've seen passing mentions of games using ReGIS or Sixel, but I've never found any software, screendumps, or details really.
I don't think ReGIS and sixel were fast enough until recently to be used interactively. Just sending the data at 9600bps takes a long time. I could imagine someone drawing static parts of the screen using ReGIS or sixel, but I don't think they'd be useful in actual game play. I think the best you could hope for would be to define a soft character set using sixels and then use the 96 characters you can define as tiles to make your ncurses based video game look better.

--hackerb9
Andy Burns
2021-09-09 07:33:44 UTC
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Post by Bee Nine
I don't think ReGIS and sixel were fast enough until recently to be used interactively. Just sending the data at 9600bps takes a long time.
We used to provide a fax viewer for sixel terminals, you wouldn't want
to do it at 9k6 even 19k2 or 38k4 were slow, bearable on a PC with
pathworks to provide LAT and suitable terminal emulator.
William
2021-09-12 17:21:06 UTC
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If you know how to build ghostscript from source, I have sixel and tek drivers at https://github.com/william8000/gs-contrib
I used them with kermit many years ago.
With the drivers, you can rasterize any postscript or PDF into sixel or tek.
Post by Grant Taylor
Does anyone have any samples of ReGIS or Sixel graphics?
I've found a few samples of ReGIS graphics and a handful of sample Sixel
graphic online.
I'm experimenting with Xterm's ability to display graphics and would be
very interested in any real world samples that people might have and
willing to share.
--
Grant. . . .
unix || die
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