Project Pictor

As you may have heard, we have a project code-named Pictor. This project is derived from work done with Boeing to improve the responsiveness of OpenGL three dimensional drawing programs (CATIA). The Boeing/Citrix project (codenamed K2) was a large success and proved not only that it was possible to greatly improve the performance, it actually made sense to progress this software to a much wider audience.

I have my own history with what I would call graphics intensive applications. When I was first working as a systems engineer reseller in Brisbane in 1997, our little company was approached by a local engineering company. I believe they make custom car parts and it was very interesting how they went about it. They were a fairly big operation and very professional. Our salesman (as expected) over-promised what WinFrame could do. The thoughts were that it should be possible to remote CAD images over ICA. Somehow, I was supposed to get this working. It became pretty obvious that with no amount of tweaking would it be possible to run decent CAD across ICA.

So, that was the common conclusion of most people between 1995 and now that it just was not possible to do intensive graphics remoting. The exception being programs being designed this way from ground up (like 3D games).

Now, a group a Citrix has proven it possible to remote existing applications without change. It is not just a demo, it is a working system being used at Boeing. In this case, the hype actually understates the possible reality.

The reason I’m writing this is to drum up some interest in Pictor. First, I want you to know it exists. Second, I want you to tell everyone that you want it (if you want it). If you stay silent, there is a good chance that Citrix will focus on other items on the agenda.

If you prefer, leave me a comment and I’ll forward it to the relevant people.

If the project goes ahead in the near term, it will most likely be based out of Sydney, Australia. I know one of the core developers and I’m sure he’d love to hear what you have to say.

Free counters


Live near Brisbane, Australia. Software developer currently focused on iOS and Android. Avid Google Local Guide

Posted in Citrixclusive
20 comments on “Project Pictor
  1. Jeff

    I had heard about this project previously, but I don’t recall it being under the “Project Pictor” moniker.

    We work with many Oil & Gas companies and there are two reasons for wanting to deliver graphics intensive apps via Citrix; CAD/Engineering drawings as you say, but also maps and 3D geoscience apps where scientists are looking at 3D representations of oil and gas reservoirs

    I had already requested info on this project from my contact at Citrix in the UK so count me in!


    Russell Robertson
    Skibo Technologies

  2. Tord Bergset says:

    Hi Jeff.

    I have been waiting for the 3D/OpenGL/highGraphics client for some years now and I’m glad that Citrix is focusing on this client/solution now (hopefully…).

    I have previously done some testing with the High Graphics client (based on the ICA Client 8.x release). The test gave us a look into what to expect in “the near future” – but this was about 2 years ago…

    I am working as a consultant and a Terminal Server resp. at a big oil company in Norway and we do have a lot of users/customers that are “waiting” for a Terminal Server “true” 3D solution. We are talking about lots of 2D and 3D applications and the opportunity to work with large amount of ceismic data over Citrix servers. We are running MPS 4 and the ICA client 9.x today and see that some of these applications work OK by using the “out-of-the-box” solution. However, there is a great potential and lots of users waiting for us to move more oil-related apps to the Citrix Farm.

    An example of use would be that most oil companies are trying out/drilling new fields all over the world (Oil plants and ships) while the people analyzing the data is working in the central office(s). A typical scenario today is that while the ceismic data/images is generated and partly handled/diagnosted/investigated locally the enourmous amount of data has to be copied to a central location before the main geologists can start working with the data. Imagin how much money an oil company could save/gain by being able to share all data simultanously. In this business we are talking billions – not millions…

    Please keep up the good work – in the meantime I’ll be waiting for the new “killer” citrix client/solution that I’m sure will save my customer a lot of money…and give me a “star in the book” 🙂

  3. Craig Gibb says:

    Hi jeff glad to see that Pictor is in with a chance, i work for Tele communications/Brodcasting company and we see a increase in the need
    to give remote access to more and more graphical intensive applications, mainly for frequency planning. Its area with fantastic growth potential and these system are often at the core of most buinesses. I hope the project becomes a reality.

  4. Simon Bramfitt says:


    I saw the Pictor medical imaging demo earlier this week.

    I want it.

    Simon Bramfitt
    Service Architect
    Kaiser Permanente

  5. Urs Odermatt says:

    Hi Jeff

    I heard about the Project Pictor at iForum 06 in munich. I work for a insuracnce / health care company an we wait for Pictor for medical imaging reason.

    Urs Odermatt

  6. jeffreymuir says:

    I want to thank all of you for your wonderful feedback. I had no idea that the uses would be so diverse. I was especially surprized about the potential use for speeding the process of oil discovery. It would be hard to find more relevant examples of why Pictor should exist.

    At this point I would like to continue hearing about what Pictor could be used for and also how much interest there is in the field.

    Internally there is a bit of a discussion going on about when Pictor should happen and which group should do it. It might make things more immediate if Citrix knew fully how important this project is.

    Also, a question came up during the discussions. Is it better to sell Pictor as an option to Presentation Server or would it be better to sell it as a new product with a new infrastructure (basically a standalone product with its own management)? I suspect I know the answer but I would like to hear what you think.

  7. Peter Hodel says:

    Hi Jeff,
    we’re currently testing CPS 4.5 TechPreview with the CAD/CAM application CATIA. The CATIA database is located in Switzerland, the users spread over all continents.
    The test results with CPS 4.5 are not bad but there’s still plenty of room for improvements. So, when you need testers for Project Pictor – let me know!

    Concerning your question “Pictor as an option to PS or as a new product”:
    I hope that Pictor will be fully integrated in Presentation Server. From my point of view this integration (together with the integration of the Streaming server, EdgeSight, Desktop Broker, etc.) would be a unique selling point for Presentation Server.

    Peter Hodel
    T-Systems Switzerland

  8. Simon Bramfitt says:

    I’m with Peter,

    It should be considered just another feature in the same way that all other ICA performance enhancements have been in the past.

  9. I concur with everyone on the list, to keep the gap between terminal services and Provision big enough, any Pictor technology should be a new feature for version 5.0 (hopefully!) of PS.

  10. […] In case you haven’t heard, Presentation Server (by itself) cannot support 3D drawing programs remotely.  It is now 10 years later and the only hope of success is with the Pictor project.  Obviously, there is little chance that a reseller would have been able to pull this off in 1997. […]

  11. Hi Jeff!

    I´m an IT-Administrator of an aircraft manufactor in austria. Not the size of boing, but we´re also use catia and solid edge for doing our drawings.

    We´ve also sites in china and canada. For those staff there project pictor will be an greet invention, cause the can do there work remotely via an terminal at our mainsite in austria.

    I´ve seen Project Pictor for the first time at citrix forum munich ´06. I hope these greet produce will be avaible soon.

    Markus Schuster
    Diamond Aircraft Industries, Austria

  12. Deborah Fox says:

    To all,

    I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Debbie Fox, and I am a the Product Manager for Pictor and graphics for CPS. If anyone is interested in contacting me, please feel free: Deborah(dot)Fox(at)citrix(dot)com  {Replace the (dot) and (at) with matching symbols}
    I really like hearing all the different use cases at your companies as well as the feedback on your experiences with CPS 4.5.


    Debbie Fox
    Sr Product Manager
    Advanced Systems Group – Citrix Systems

  13. Tom Gauggel says:


    I was at IForum in 2006 and talked to you about Pictor.

    I work for a large multi-national oil and gas company and we have various graphics intensive applications that would benefit from this product. Currently some of these apps are on PS for Unix but this does not do the trick and moving it to Windows based PS is not going to help until much until Pictor (we have PS 4.0).

    I had talked to you about what the “speciallly configured” server was from HP that you used during your pilot and you told me to check on HP’s web site. I can not find any information on HP web site with regards to this server they designed for graphics intensive apps and the local HP reps have no idea what I am taling about.

    Is there any way you could provide me with the information with regards to the specifications of the HP server you use for Pictor?


    I will send this info directly to your e-mail address also….just thought some of these other people might want to know about this server.


  14. Debbie Fox says:

    To all –

    I’d like to solicit some input from you regarding a potential targeted platform for Project Pictor –

    What are your thoughts if Pictor was only to be available on a 64 bit platform?

  15. Rickey Whitworth says:

    We run a line of business application from On-Center called On Screen Takeoff. This application allows our estimators to work with digital images of drawings. This app is pretty much the only company providing this capability to contractors, and it does not perform well over citrix. We can’t leave the product, and we don’t want to go back to desktops, so please get this project into a Citrix Product soon.

  16. David says:

    Like many others, I work for an oil and gas company using applications which have intensive graphics. I would love to know more about this project and anything else that others are currently doing to tweak these types of applications in Citrix environments.

    Thank you,

  17. Tord Bergset says:

    Hi Debbie.

    One of the problems with Pictor on 64bit only is that not all applications run well on that platform. We have already postponed our 64bit project due to certain important apps that do not run on x64.
    Remember that lot of companies (including ours) are creating programs or add-ons internally for many of the oil-related apps. These are the apps that are most likely to NOT like the x64 configs like “program files (x86)” etc.

    Also – ThinAnywhere already supports x32 and will be working on the new HP “Graphics” servers too…

    I really don’t understand why Citrix did not by the company behind ThinAnywhere 😦 Now it’s too late as they where bought by Schlumberger a couple of months ago 😮

    In short – I think it is essential that 3D graphic is supported on both x32 and x64 for it to be a real alternative to other products.

    Debbie: Feel free to contact me for details 🙂

  18. Enio says:


    Does someone knows the current status of the Pictor Project ??


  19. Hi Enio,

    I just spotted your post, so on behalf of Debbie and myself, sorry about the tardy reply. We completed beta testing of the Pictor technology for OpenGL acceleration a few months ago. The beta trials gave us lots of valuable feedback which we have been busy incorporating into the design of our next generation 3D graphics technology which handles not only OpenGL but also DirectX. This new Apollo 3D accelerated bitmap remoting technology is currently available for evaluation. The application form is at Since several important high-end professional graphics applications (including Dassault CATIA) are not yet fully compatible with Microsoft Terminal Services, we’ve switched the initial focus for this technology to our XenDesktop platform. As GPU virtualization technology becomes available from the graphics and hypervisor vendors, we anticipate that this platform will evolve beyond the 1:1 (one concurrent user per host) configuration of the current Tech Preview release to N:1. As you saw with the Pictor beta, we have been working with NVIDIA in particular to pioneer the use of GPU appliances like the QuadroPlex S4 which connects to the server via PCIe to provide a pool of GPUs that can be shared across multiple users. Meanwhile, the initial 1:1 configuration is very well suited to graphics professionals who demand top notch performance. Various leading IHVs (e.g. Dell, HP, IBM) offer host or blade workstations with powerful NVIDIA Quadro FX series graphics hardware. You can read some of the comments we’ve been getting from early evaluators of the Apollo 3D accelerated bitmap remoting technology on my blog (see

    Derek Thorslund
    Product Strategist, Multimedia Virtualization

  20. […] in 2005-2006, NVIDIA worked with Citrix on Project Pictor. Pictor is something that many of we are substantially informed with. It was a special chronicle of […]

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