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WYSIWYG/Vivien and the New M1 Macs

Discussion in 'wysiwyg' started by Dany, Feb 13, 2021.

  1. Dany

    Dany Administrator
    Staff Member

    Jan 16, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Hello everyone,

    The new Apple M1-based MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac Mini became available in November 2020, and some of you have written to us asking if WYSIWYG/Vivien will run on these systems. The short answer at this time is no, they do not – but they were also never intended to. The solution to run WYSIWYG/Vivien on a Mac was always dependent on an Intel processor and as such, the software cannot be supported on M1 Macs (again, at this time).

    The longer answer involves explaining (exploring) some of the many unknowns we are currently facing regarding this new technology. Should you be interested in these details, please read on…

    First and foremost, the company that manufactures our dongles does not offer a driver for Windows running on non-Intel processors. As such, it is currently impossible for WYSIWYG to start in such an environment, as it is unable to access the dongle. The dongle manufacturer does not have a solution at this time, but they are researching how to support M1 chipsets; they are currently unable to commit to a solution or a timeline for it, but our ticket with them remains open, and we will be notified of any updates as soon as they become available.

    Speaking of the Windows environment, with BootCamp not available on M1 Macs, the only option will be to run WYSIWYG within the Parallels virtualizer. CAST Software officially supports this environment on Intel-based Macs, but we only recommend it for working in CAD, DATA and PRES modes: due to lack of proper support of OpenGL within Parallels, the Shaded View is only able to display Enhanced Beams, which use our legacy beam technology and are much less accurate than Volumetric Beams. As such, while some DESIGN mode work may be acceptable, this is not something we endorse (or ever have). The same applies to LIVE mode – even more, in fact, since networking is required in order to connect to consoles, and such connections are inconsistent at best.

    Along the same lines, with Apple having deprecated support for OpenGL starting in 2018, it is not known at this time whether OpenGL is available on the M1 processor (and if so, what version); there are speculations aplenty, but our current understanding is that only Metal is supported. This is important because WYSIWYG’s Shaded View is coded in OpenGL, and therefore, if the GPU integrated into the M1 chip does not support this platform, it will not be possible to access the Shaded View.

    Last but not least, and back to Parallels, even if OpenGL is supported by the hardware, it remains to be seen how well it will be supported by Parallels. You may remember the recent issue related to this, so we can only hope that if OpenGL ends up being supported, Parallel’s implementation will be at least as robust as the current one (current limitations aside).

    All this considered, it is impossible for us to know, at this time, if WYSIWYG will run on M1-based Macs, how (well) it will do so, or when this might become possible. With that in mind though, we commit to the following:

    1. We will continue to monitor for any and all information related to the above.

    2. We will acquire an M1-based Mac for testing once it makes sense for us to do so (i.e. if/when a compatible dongle driver becomes available, if/when official information about OpenGL support is released by Apple, etc.).

    3. We will provide updates here, as they become available.

    Should you wish to keep up-to-date on this matter, please subscribe to this thread, so you can be notified of updates as they are posted.

    Thank you,


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