Open source may have been the thematic star of "AntiTrust," but
in the movie "Shrek," opening tomorrow, it's what's driving the
special effects. According to this article, Dreamworks chose Linux
over Microsoft and Silicon Graphics to provide the digital
animation, and it's part of a larger trend.
The ornery, mud-loving creature morphs into a romantic
hero through some of the richest digital animation yet created.
Producer DreamWorks SKG gives considerable credit for the
performance to another transformation -- animators' use of the free
Linux operating system instead of software from the likes of
Microsoft Corp. and Silicon Graphics Inc.
...Hewlett-Packard, a longtime competitor to both SGI and Sun,
is promoting Linux in the digital-content market as part of a
broader campaign to market the software. The Palo Alto, Calif.,
company says that its workstations and servers running Linux played
a key role in "Shrek," bringing a 10-fold speed boost to
DreamWorks' rendering chores. That speed, aided by the use of
multiple-processing units, allowed animators to squeeze more frames
per second through the rendering process, says Martin Fink, head of
Linux operations at H-P.