libraries - Coin use of 3rd party libraries. Coin may use a wide
variety of 3rd party libraries, directly and indirectly, depending on
how the Coin build was configured. This document tries to summarize the
situation. Some of the libraries that are a standard part of an
operating system are ignored here.
This document expects that the reader is familiar with library build
processes and has knowledge of various concepts such as ’configure-
time’, ’linktime’, and ’runtime’ related to library builds and
First of all, Coin requires OpenGL. Depending on the OpenGL version,
features in Coin are turned on and off. If a feature Coin is supposed
to suport does not seem to produce any result, make sure to check that
the underlying OpenGL version does support that feature. OpenGL is
linked into Coin both at linktime and runtime. Features added to OpenGL
later than the oldest version of OpenGL we support in Coin are always
tried linked up at runtime, and failure to do so will disable features
in Coin or cause alternate implementations of features to be used
OpenGL is accompanied with a set of auxiliary libraries we also use.
These are libraries like GLext, GLU (for NURBS tessellation and texture
mipmaping amongst others), CgGL (for shaders that use Cg (we recommend
using GLSL instead BTW)). Of these libraries, CgGL is loaded at runtime
if needed, while the others are linked with Coin at linktime.
Some platforms have GLU libraries that don’t behave properly in certain
respects, and some Coin users have particular needs wrt Coin’s use of
GLU. For these users, we (at Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies) have
created a fork og GLU that we have named SuperGLU that we have tweaked
in certain ways. This library can be checked out into the Coin source
code directory, which will be detected at configure-time and linked
statically into Coin and used instead of the GLU libraries on the host
In addition to these libraries, Coin will use AGL on Mac OS X, WGL on
MS Windows, and GLX on X Windows Systems for offscreen rendering
We now move on to libraries that are not related to OpenGL.
Coin uses libz (aka zlib) and libbzip2 to read and/or write files
compressed with either of those compression techniques. Both libraries
can ble linked with Coin at linktime or loaded at runtime, and this is
controlled at configure-time. They can also be disabled if compressed
file input/output is not wanted. The libz library is likely to be
pulled in as a dependency from other libraries as well, especially
For font support, Coin uses Fontconfig or FreeType in addition to
native platform APIs for font reading. Freetype can be loaded at
runtime instead of linked at linktime if desired, but FreeType is only
used if Fontconfig is not found at configure-time anyway, unless the
library builder overrides this behaviour.
can also be loaded at runtime instead of linked at linktime.
For sound support in VRML97, Coin uses OpenAL. OpenAL is loaded at
runtime or linked at linktime. BTW, some versions of the OpenAL library
delivered with installers from Creative on MS Windows have been known
to crash/freeze Coin-applications when loaded, so if you experience
something like that, that’s one thing to investigate.
For threading support, Coin uses POSIX threads (pthread library) or the
native Win32 API on MS Windows. You can use pthread on MS Windows as
well instead of the native threads by setting this at configure-time.
We now come to a special class of libraries that has been directly
integrated into the Coin source code, thereby not requiring the
libraries to be installed on the system beforehand for Coin to build or
Coin makes use of certain utilities like smart-pointers from Boost. The
boost headers can be found under include/ in the Coin source code
directory. No boost types are exposed in the Coin API, nor will they
ever be. They are completely hidden, viewed from the outside of Coin.
All boost types used in Coin are completely inlined in the boost
headers and therefore do not require a link library to pull their
implementation from at runtime.
For XML reading, Coin uses the expat library, which has also been
integrated directly into Coin, so also here there are no extra linktime
or runtime dependencies to other libraries. The expat API is not
exposed in the Coin API, it is hidden, but Coin provides its own XML
DOM API that is a wrapper over the expat engine.
The last thing to mention here is hardly a library, but we mention it
anyway. Coin uses flex and bison to generate some parsers (one for the
STL 3D model file format, and another one for parsing the calculator
language in the SoCalculator engine). This is code that has been
generated by 3rd party parser generators and integrated into Coin. The
generated code is distributed with the source code, so neither flex nor
bison is needed to build Coin.
And last but definitely not least, Coin uses simage...
The simage library
Coin uses a library called simage, which is a 1st part library since we
have written it ourselves. Simage is a thin wrapper library over a huge
set of graphics and audio libraries, to provide Coin with a unified API
for loading images (textures), audio, and animations, regardless of
which image file format it is stored as. The simage library can in
other words pull in another set of 3rd party libraries. All 3rd party
libraries to simage are optional. Simage is loaded at runtime or (if
specified) linked at linktime with Coin.
Simage can use QImage from Qt to add support for the file formats Qt
Simage can use GDI+ (gdiplus) under MS Windows to add support for the
file formats supported by GDI+.
Simage can use QuickTime under Mac OS X to add support for the file
formats QuickTime supports.
Simage can use libungif or giflib for GIF file support.
Simage can use libjpeg for JPEG file support.
Simage can use libpng for PNG file support. This will also require that
zlib is used.
Simage can use libtiff for TIFF file support.
Simage can use JASPER support for JPEG 2000 file support.
Simage can use mpeg2enc for MPEG2 encoding.
Simage can use vfw (Video for Windows) for AVI video encoding.
Simage can use libogg, libvorbis and libvorbisfile for Ogg Vorbis
support. This is for VRML97 sound support in Coin.
Simage can use libsndfile for VRML97 sound support in Coin.
Simage can use libguile for a Guile (Scheme) binding for the Simage