"You have a hundred thousand programmers constantly working on
improvements," notes Kevin Braun, manager of Pacific Title Digital.
"If we need to tweak something, we can because the code is open
source. This saves money and time. Deadlines are getting shorter
and shorter in postproduction, and I think that every house that
wants to keep reacting to these deadlines will have to explore the
option of running a free operating system on cheap, readily
"Many in the industry agree. At a meeting of technical experts
hosted late last year by the Visual Effects Society, Linux was
front-and-center. According to Industrial Light + Magic's network
systems director Andy Henderickson, people from companies like PDI,
Pixar, Manex, and Digital Domain all sat down to talk about where
operating systems are going. "It's in our best interest to
standardize on the same platform," states Henderickson. "Since we
use all the same packages, it doesn't make sense for the
Alias|Wavefronts of the world to port their software left and right
to different platforms. Within a couple of hours, two dozen
companies agreed the answer was Linux."
"Henderickson reports that ILM has been moving toward Linux.
"We've been primarily running IRIX, which is SGI's variant of
UNIX," he says. "But Linux looks like it has a big future for us
because it's UNIX without the expensive boxes. Today's commodity
boxes-meaning basically Intel PCs with hot graphics cards in
them-perform quite well." ILM's future desktops, he expects, would
be based largely on Linux, with some Mac OSX machines (Mac OSX
being a UNIX variant). He cautions, however, that Linux is by no
means "fully baked."
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