I've installed BRLCAD on AMD64 ubuntu and it runs. When I tell it to open a batabase and point it at a file such as sphflake.g, it seems to be happy to open it (no complaints), but there is nothing visible in the graphics window.
I have been able to create objects and I can see them in the graphics window.
Try this in the MGED Command Window:
While this is sometimes harmless, in general, running "draw *" or "e *" is a rather 'bad thing' to do. It'll usually result in displaying EVERY object in the geometry database file several times over causing slow load times and overlaps during ray-tracing to say the least. More effective is to run "tops", and then just draw the specific objects you want that were listed by tops.
Remember that it's a tree and the * binds to ALL levels of the tree, displaying things multiple times. Usually you'll want that globbing operator for different purposes like draw *.r if you were using a common suffix for regions, for example.
Think of it like buying a car, and then buying the wheels (again), and then buying the wheel tubes (again) and bolts (again), and doing that for everything in the vehicle, etc. You already bought the car, so buying wheels means you have two sets now. Then buying the tubes means you have three sets of tubs. That's what you do when you do something like "draw *". It's displaying everything lots of times depending on the organization of the geometry hierarchy. Hope that helps.
BRL-CAD geometry files frequently contain more than a single "part" or "assembly" or model. Additionally, the model(s) that are contained are often quite massive and intensive to load. As such, MGED doesn't load a model by default (not that it'd know which to show you), so you have to ask it what the top level objects are.
When you open a .g file, you can either use the Geometry Browser on the Tools menu or run "tops" on the command line. The "tops" command will give you a list of the top-level geometry in the file, which you can then e or draw (e.g. "e scene.r" for sphflake.g).
Hope that explains it.
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