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DreamWorks Switches to Linux 491

tal-home writes "Newsforge has a story about the decision Dreamworks made to port ALL of their front-end servers and workstations to Linux. Their new movie, called 'Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron' which will hit the theaters in late May, was created in a 100% Linux enviroment, unlike older movies like Shrek and Lord of the Rings that used IRIX servers as a rendering farm. It's a good time to mention that this move by DreamWorks also includes porting the artists workstations to Linux, in addition to the servers. Redhat and HP helped out in the switch." Word has it that Adobe may be pursuing unix versions of it's toolset as DreamWorks isn't the only shop switching.
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DreamWorks Switches to Linux

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  • Adobe! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by magicslax ( 532351 ) <frank_salim@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:13PM (#3405988)
    This is great news if it means having quality graphics software available under linux. The Gimp just doesn't provide a compelling alternative for serious professional shops. Adobe ports to linux would be a Good Thing and then some.
    • Re:Adobe! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:18PM (#3406015) Homepage
      This is backwards reasoning. What would really be a good thing would be if the open-source community could produce an app as good as Photoshop. Otherwise it's an admission of failure -- we have to depend forever on Adobe adobe to treat us graciously.

      If open source is going to succeed on the desktop, there have to be open-source apps. The average user couldn't care less about the OS, and may not even know what an OS is. The way to impress non-geeks with open source is to show them some applications.

      • SW-patents problem (Score:5, Insightful)

        by villoks ( 27306 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:31PM (#3406091) Homepage Journal
        Well.

        Unfortunately there's too many patents [levien.com] in the field. It is impossible to create a software which doesn't violate at least some of them. For example color management is highly protected area. From this background it's pretty simple why there isn't any commercially viable open source options available...

        Ville
        • Some of those patents will expire soon. Furthermore, it seems feasible to work around them. And as a last resort, you can leave out that small piece of functionality and allow people to plug in a small dynamically loadable library that they can license from some third party (with a simple default implementation).
        • by foobar104 ( 206452 ) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:30AM (#3406993) Journal
          From this background it's pretty simple why there isn't any commercially viable open source options available...

          I think you're not seeing the forest for the trees, here. The reason there's no sufficient open-source Photoshop-alike is the same reason there's no sufficient open-source ERP system. For that matter, it's the same reason there's no all-volunteer space program, or an all-volunteer hospital.

          Writing software that's a functional and of as high quality as Photoshop is hard. Unbelievably hard. As hard as open-heart surgery, or sending a person into orbit. Writing an image editor that's as complete and as good as Photoshop would require a tightly coordinated and managed team of hundreds working full-time on the project for years. That's something that the open-source community has simply been unable to provide. Compared to Photoshop, Apache (arguably one of the strongest open-source efforts out there, and some excellent software) is child's play, both in overall complexity and in the sheer number of function points.

          Gimp? Don't even talk to me about Gimp. I have Photoshop 3.0.1 on my iBook, which I run in Classic mode. I also have Gimp on my Windows 2000 system, because I don't have Photoshop for Windows. I use Gimp when I can't use Photoshop, which is moderately often. Across the board, without exception, I find Photoshop 3.0.1-- vintage 1991 software!-- running under Classic mode on my Mac to be superior to Gimp under Windows. Lots of time and effort went into making Photoshop a well-thought-out, high-quality piece of software, and it shows. Gimp is worked on by a loosely coupled group of part-timers, and that also shows.

          I don't mean to be insulting, but Gimp is kind of like the old saying about the dog that sings. It's not that the dog sings well, because it doesn't. It's impressive simply that the dog sings at all. That's fine for singing dogs and amateurs. Professional artists will hold us-- the community, I mean-- to a higher standard.
          • by marco_craveiro ( 551065 ) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @07:17AM (#3408017) Journal
            Writing software that's a functional and of as high quality as Photoshop is hard.

            huh, say foobar, do you reckon that writing Photoshop is harder than say writting an entire OS, including a kernel that is portable to almost any architecture known to man as well as a compiler that works along the same lines? man, if it is all hail adobe for the real hackers work for them.

            an image editor that's as complete and as good as Photoshop would require a tightly coordinated and managed team of hundreds working full-time on the project for years.

            mate, replace "an image editor" with "a kernel", "an IDE", "a desktop environment", etc. and you will be saying exactly the same thing people were saying until those components stabilized. i dont think there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the bazar development, or we would never have what we have today. it takes 2 things to make a good app: competent interested people and time. and remember, "UI bugs are first class bugs like any other bug" so eventually the UI will get there as well.

            soup

            • huh, say foobar, do you reckon that writing Photoshop is harder than say writting an entire OS

              Yes, it is. Sitting down and writing an operating system based on Unix isn't, conceptually, that hard a job. Don't misunderstand me: it's a big job. Vast. Worthy of praise. But nobody has done any significant revolutionary work on the Linux kernel. It's just the writing down, all in one place, of well-established ideas. And it's not even that great; it doesn't handle large memory effectively, and it can't scale very well. But it's impressive that it works at all. (See my previous post.)

              Photoshop is different. It's fundamentally user productivity software. It's not sufficient that it should simply work. It must work in a good, consistent, user-friendly way. There is no such requirement for Apache, or the Linux kernel, or GCC. Nobody sits in front of the Linux kernel all day, except for the kernel developers themselves. But lots of people, including yours truly in a previous job, get paid to sit in front of Photoshop all day. So the standards for human-computer interaction in Photoshop are much higher.

              i dont think there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the bazar development, or we would never have what we have today.

              I don't disagree with that at all. Today we have some fantastic software that came from open-source efforts: the Linux kernel, Apache, PostgreSQL, PHP, Emacs, TeX (especially TeX!), X, and so on. But what the open-source community has provided isn't as revealing as what it hasn't. There is no adequate open-source desktop; as a long-time user of both Gnome and KDE I assert that neither one of them is worth much right now compared to the Windows desktop, or either the Mac OS "Classic" or the OS X desktops. There is no adequate open-source illustration program: we use Illustrator, or even FreeHand, instead. There is no adequate user-friendly open-source publishing software: we use FrameMaker or QPS instead. There is no adequate open-source CRM software: we use Siebel. No ERP software: we use SAP. No page layout software: QuarkXPress, or even InDesign. No spreadsheet software: Excel. No PIM software: Outlook. It goes on and on.

              Ultimately, you have to ask yourself the question, why hasn't the open-source community produced any of these things? I know my answer. What's yours?
  • what about OS X? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:14PM (#3405996)
    With Final Cut Pro, Maya, and the Adobe lineup now shipping, it seems like OS X would be a platform of choice...
  • by gdyas ( 240438 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:17PM (#3406010) Homepage

    Their new movie, called 'Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron'

    A bit O/T I guess, but I had to note that I've unfortunately seen the preview for this film a number of times, and when you're dying for thew preview to end, it doesn't exactly speak well of the film. Whatta piece of wasteful pop pablum.

    We're talking completely empty prepackaged Britney Spears - style crap here.

    • >Whatta piece of wasteful pop pablum.

      Woo hoo! We've arrived! Linux is only successful when it's used for generic crap, and not just high-end cutting edge stuff.

      Seriously. I forget which feminist icon mentioned that women were only equal when a woman schmo had the same chance of promotion as a man schmo. Same principal here.
  • Got any links to back up that Adobe rumor, Chris?
  • by Karpe ( 1147 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:23PM (#3406041) Homepage
    and Linux becomes illegal (you can't have efective copy prevention with source code), what will the movie studios (the same who pushed the SSSCA in the first place) use then?
    • and Linux becomes illegal (you can't have efective copy prevention with source code), what will the movie studios (the same who pushed the SSSCA in the first place) use then?


      Well, that assumes that the sound-cards themselves don't hold keys like DVD players and thus the audio format of the furture isn't encrypted with audio cards exclusively being able to decrypt them.

      But, I like how you think. :)

      -Michael
    • I believe part of the SSSCA stated that any software used, would be "OpenSource". (Ironic, isn't it?)

      So, it would seem the bill wiould require more of a hardware type solution - the software would probably be available for Linux, etc... Perhaps that clause was put in since so many studios are switching to Linux?

      It wouldn't be a GOOD Thing for Linux, but I don't see it killing it. This is an optimistic way of looking at a post SSSCA world.

      I believe most software solutions would be rather ineffective compared to a hardware solution.

  • by Ryu2 ( 89645 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:24PM (#3406046) Homepage Journal
    The article summary is wrong. IRIX was used for frontend modelling. But Shrek WAS rendered finally on Linux -- indeed Shrek was distinctive as it was the first major full-length film to be totally rendered on Linux.
  • by idonotexist ( 450877 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:26PM (#3406058)
    After the Dmitry and DMCA flop by Adobe, I will never purchase an Adobe product and I swear to gawd I will save my friends and co-workers from thinking about purchasing an Adobe product. So, if Adobe is finally convinced it can make a few more bucks by porting its apps to Linux, perhaps Adobe needs to correct its public relations fiasco and not with a mere press release, but something more sublime; maybe a contribution to EFF? Until such an event, no way, no how, Adobe --- not on this Linux box. I will not just forget Adobe's mistake and I hope others will not.
    • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:51PM (#3406223) Homepage Journal
      "fter the Dmitry and DMCA flop by Adobe, I will never purchase an Adobe product and I swear to gawd I will save my friends and co-workers from thinking about purchasing an Adobe product..."

      I sympathize with your view, but the reason that Adobe is so popular is because it makes a totally kick as series of products. If I lose Photoshop or After Effects, I don't have a whole lot of good choices to replace them with, especially for the money. You wouldn't be 'saving me' from Adobe, you'd be hurting me if you convinced me to switch.

      I really don't like what they did with Dmitry, but I need a solution to express my disgruntlement with them that doesn't involve crippling my productivity.

      I have the same issue with Blizzard. I've been asked to boycott Blizzard over using the DMCA to shut down BnetD. The problem I have with that is a healthy game industry = better job market for me. Blizzard consistently makes kick ass games. Not buying Blizzard 3 would do more to work against me than help prevent them from further DMCA abuse. On top of that, I think Warcarft III will be lots of fun, and I'd hate to miss out on that too.

      So what do we do? I'm open to suggestions as to how to let these companies know what they're doing is unacceptable without creating ripples in the good work that they're doing. One idea is to make their email address available so people can write in their complaints. Another would be to have Slashdot carry a banner encouraging people to read about what happened and, again, give them an email address they can send complaints to.

      Personally, I think this would be far more effective than saying "I won't buy your product even tho I need it."

      • If you boycott something you need, it makes a greater statement. People don't go on hunger strikes to improve their figure, you know. By choosing not to use adobe, you say "This issue is important enough to me that I am willing to sacrifice for it". Otherwise, we might as well all go boycott Rolls Royce cars or something.

        Of course, your idea of letter writing is valid as well, at least by snail mail. In email form, it probably wouldn't even get opened before its marked for deletion.
        • "People don't go on hunger strikes to improve their figure, you know..."

          People who go on hunger strikes make that very public. Adobe will never know that I stopped using Photoshop. Adobe products are something you buy one or two of a year. Boycotting them would have 0 influence on them.

          A hunger strike against Adobe, though, would raise some eyebrows.

          See the difference?

      • > I really don't like what they did with Dmitry, but I need a solution to express my disgruntlement with them that doesn't involve crippling my productivity.

        Those who wouldn't give up their productivity to preserve their freedoms deserve neither freedom nor productivity.
        Or something like that.

        • "Those who wouldn't give up their productivity to preserve their freedoms deserve neither freedom nor productivity."

          That's a fair statement, except it doesn't get you anywhere. If I gave up using Adobe Products, how would Adobe know? I already paid for it. They wouldn't notice until an upgrade or two later that they're not selling as well. Even then, how would they connect that my not buying their product to something they did?

          That's why I said "I need a better solution than boycotting." (I should have clarified that some more, I apologize.)

          Now, if somebody said "Everybody who uses Adobe Products but hates what they did with Dimitry, take a day off of work and attend a protest.", then I think we'd get our message across. I'd be willing to drop Adobe for a day to make a huge vocal stink.

          See what I'm saying now?
        • Kinda like "Those who wouldn't give up their privacy for security deserve neither privacy nor security"?

          The original quote made sense, neither of these do not.
      • by testadicazzo ( 567430 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:23PM (#3406739) Homepage
        I agree with you on a number of points. Primarily I think boycotts are poorly organized, and only effective when they are vastly accepted. I have a suggestion (which is admittedly of limited relevance in this case) on how to make them more efffective.


        I currently boycott Nike because of their labor policies. As an active sports enthusiast, I wish I could in good concience buy nike products, as often they have the best or most available products. But I find alternatives. Then I save the receipts, and mail them to nike with a letter explaining why I bought the competitors products.


        So my suggestion for an active partial boycott is this: Buy alternatives whenever possible. Send the receipt and notification of why you did this to the company. If they get enough they'll realize their bottom line is being affected far more quickly and immediately than through a normal boycott.


        I have to get off my arse and make a web page propounding this idea.

        • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:27PM (#3406753) Homepage Journal
          "I currently boycott Nike because of their labor policies. As an active sports enthusiast, I wish I could in good concience buy nike products, as often they have the best or most available products. But I find alternatives. Then I save the receipts, and mail them to nike with a letter explaining why I bought the competitors products."

          Nike once offered a web service where you could have shoes made with words printed on them. Somebody wanted the words 'child labor', or something like that. Heh NIke wouldn't let him do it, but I sure liked his idea.

          That goes a hell of a lot farther than not buying their products.

          I do like your suggestion of sending the reciepts.
      • What you are effectively saying here is:

        "I will gladly stand tall against the companies that do wrong, just so long as it doesn't inconvienence me". And hey, thats fine. Nobody's making you take a stand. If you want to use adobe and blizzard products, then go ahead. Nobody will frown on you for doing so.

        Or if you choose, give them up completely and take a stand against those companies. If necessary, change your line of work if those products are required for your specific profession. Put some of your efforts into developing free competing solutions that meet your criteria for a "convienent" professional life.

        But don't whine because you can't have it both ways. Nobody can expect to stand strong against the giant and not make a few sacrifices. This might not be your fight. But if it is, remember, Adobe, Blizzard, Microsoft, they will survive without you. They will survive without all of us. That is not the ultimate goal here. We're not trying to deprive them of a paying customer, so much that we put the money we WOULD have spent on them into a company or a dontation bin of a project we feel is more in tune with our cause.

        Meaning, we spend our resources, be it money, time, or sweat equity on those that we WANT to succeed so there WILL be alternatives in the future. That way, the next time some corportation does something dishonorable, the spineless among us will have somewhere else they can go. In fact, the very existance of viable sufficent competition might prevent them from doing extremely stupid things, which will be equally beneficial for all.

        I like blizzard games. I spent many hours playing starcraft. And from all I've heard, war3 is a great game, and I'm sure I would have enjoyed it. But I'm not going to play it. MY money is better spent elsewhere.

        -Restil
        • "What you are effectively saying here is: 'I will gladly stand tall against the companies that do wrong, just so long as it doesn't inconvienence me'"

          No, that is NOT what I'm effectively saying. Not even close. What I'm saying is that boycotting, in those two cases, does more harm than good. Even the subject of my post is pretty clear: "I want a better solution." Reread my post. I suggested more useful ways of getting my message across.
  • Weta Digital (Score:2, Informative)

    by burger007 ( 572895 )
    Weta digital used a bunch of linux boxes as well as irix (and some other OSs too I believe) in producing the cgi stuff for LoTR (Weta Digital is Peter Jacksons digital effects company). check here [wetadigital.com] for their website
  • Photoshop (Score:4, Funny)

    by skroz ( 7870 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:35PM (#3406116) Homepage
    I'd sell my soul for photoshop in linux. OK, well maybe not my soul. My conscience, maybe.

    GIMP is great, but it's no photoshop.
    • by DA-MAN ( 17442 )
      > I'd sell my soul for photoshop in linux. OK, well maybe not my soul. My conscience, maybe

      Hey, I'm just curious....but what is the bluebook for a soul these days? It's probably not nearly as much as the licensing fee for photoshop. Soul's can't be that expensive these days, just look at all the morons in congress!
  • by don_carnage ( 145494 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:36PM (#3406126) Homepage

    From this article [cio.com] at CIO.com:

    "At the film company DreamWorks, Ed Leonard has ported the entire graphics animation department to Linux; Shrek was created on a "renderfarm" (a powerful, refrigerator-size rack of servers) that had 800 processors running Linux. Leonard took the money he saved by not having maintenance contracts and used it to buy far more inexpensive Linux PCs. He says the money he has saved will allow DreamWorks to replace desktops and the renderfarm every two years instead of every five."

    Am I missing something here?

  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:38PM (#3406133)
    This is great news and shows the curtain is really starting to close on Redmond.

    I just read that Doug Miller is now in charge of a UNIX migration hit-team at Microsoft. They don't mention alternative OS's unless they absolutely HAVE to. Hehe. :)

    It's a ZiffDavis story no less....

    http://www.eweek.com/article/0,3658,s=1884&a=259 32 , 0.asp

    LoB
    • by psamuels ( 64397 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @10:39PM (#3406554) Homepage
      This is great news and shows the curtain is really starting to close on Redmond.

      This is much worse news for SGI than it is for Microsoft.

      SGI used to own the Hollywood effects houses - anything not Mac was IRIX. Over the past few years everyone has started realising that while SGI sells the biggest and baddest NUMA, some things like 3D rendering are naturally parallelisable to such an extent that clusters make a lot more sense than NUMA. Clusters often mean Linux, for reasons I don't need to get into here. Which is, I'm convinced, the main reason SGI got into Linux in a big way a few years ago - they figured that was the way to keep their current big-spending customers. Remember that SGI "got religion" long before IBM or HP made serious noises about Linux. HP is a comparative johnny-come-lately both to Linux and to serious 3D graphics.

      So losing this contract to HP and Red Hat had to hurt SGI. Bad. This was their turf, and we just saw a major failure for SGI's Linux play. Nail in the SGI coffin?

      (PS: I just thought of this: it's not a total loss for SGI - they still own Alias|Wavefront, whose Maya software was used.)

  • So.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by realdpk ( 116490 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:40PM (#3406140) Homepage Journal
    We're pro-MPAA today? I thought that was Tuesdays.
    • Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, we hate the MPAA/RIAA/DCMA/$INSERT_CORP_INTEREST. Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday we review and buy their products. On Sundays, we hate them, unless they come out with a new sparkly thing, then we love them.

      The exception is Microsoft. We ALWAYS hate those guys.
    • This joke was funny the first time it was made. However, at this point it seems just a little bit unoriginal. Why don't you find some other joke to run into the ground?
      • Imagine... (Score:2, Funny)

        by realdpk ( 116490 )
        A beowulf cluster of Dreamworks rendering farms!

        how's that. Old or not, it's still pretty amusing watching /. go back and forth.
  • ... as evidenced by one of my colleague's recent thesis. In it, he compares the performance of a high end 24-processor SGI system with the performance of a few (2-4) cheap Linux PCs running the same application. We aren't even talking about a clustered system here - just a few boxes sync'd with a little networking.

    It's fan-freaking-tastic.

    [Check out the paper here] [iastate.edu]

  • by TellarHK ( 159748 ) <tellarhk.hotmail@com> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:46PM (#3406193) Homepage Journal
    The entire push to make Linux a corporate desktop system is still too fragmented and too much like a battle of wills. On one side, people lament that there's no Photoshop or Premiere or MS Office, or insert-needed-app-here. On the other, people complain that the open source equivalents are good enough and just use those and stop whining.

    You're both right, now shut the hell up and do what you can to make it all come together. Until people -feel- that open source equivalents to the commercial software are better, they won't settle for them unless they're forced to by ideology or economy. What will it take to make people feel the open source projects are better or even equal? I can't answer that, but watch the press. When the pundits start changing tune, then you'll be on the right track. For now, encourage and embrace the commercial applications. They'll do nothing but increase open source market and mind shares in the long run.

    If you can code, do what you can for the project of your choice. If not, and there are some of us out here that can't, just keep an open mind and take the long view. Be patient, and maybe give the can-do's a kick in the pants once in a while.

    *kick*
    • There is not much of a reason people don't take a look at Linux anymore. DemoLinux [demolinux.org] is a bootable CDROM which boots Linux without installing anything on your hard disk. It loads sound and networking support along with having both KDE and Gnome desktops. Tons of software is right there on the CDROM including StarOffice, Gimp, gPhoto, Netscape, etc.

      There just isn't much of a reason for people to not see what Linux is. My techie friends still are amazed when they see my Linux system and for some reason keep thinking it's a clunky system.

      LoB

  • by MagikSlinger ( 259969 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:51PM (#3406227) Homepage Journal

    P-p-p-p-lease listen to me before moding me down! Gives readers the Roger Rabbit pouty look

    It was interesting to note they had a problem with it for desktop use (including problems with XFree86). This has been one of the issues plaguing Linux now and hurting its foray into the desktop or workstation market: there are polishing features that need to be done.

    Now, the good news is XFree86 did fix things up. Did the XFree86 team even know Dreamworks were having problems it? I mean, when there's a big opportunity for Linux, we really need to get the teams involved. It makes skitish users feel better, and more importantly, it gets the "hacker" culture a better idea of what the user culture needs. No contempt or animosity. Just people helping people.

    Another thing is the polish. Fixing those annoying little bugs, or getting that useful feature in that no one has time to do. IBM and their billion dollars could help here, but there does need to be more support for the Open Source polishers out there (like the Linux janitors). Have you submitted a patch lately? :-)

    So, hopefully, Linus and his informal team can clear up the bottleneck for patches and we can make Linux ready for primetime. Right now, I consider the current releases of Linux on the desktop to be about the same quality as Windows 3.1, and that took over the world! So let's report those annoying features! Let's leave the cool feature aside for a day and fix an annoying, but persistent bug. Then we go back to even cooler features!

    Currently, the biggest challenge for Linux is making the installation painless. The problem is not that Linux developers don't want to--its just as I'm sure they can tell you, getting the hardware and drivers they need is really difficult. I'm not sure how we, as a community, can help that. Maybe mass-buy a new graphics card if the company produces a Linux driver off the bat?

    Just some, hopefully, constructive and positive thoughts.

    • Currently, the biggest challenge for Linux is making the installation painless
      Currently, the biggest challenge for Linux is getting computers on the market with Linux preinstalled.

      It doesn't matter how hard the kernel hackers work; installing an OS on a computer is never going to be a job that your average luser can hope to do. At least, not on a very loosely defined hardware hardware platform like the x86 PC, where everything is a moving target.

      But you are right that the difficulty of installation is a major issue. And congrats on getting modded up to 4 on Slashdot with a comment that's critical of Linux! I guess sales of earmuffs in Hell must be brisk today.


    • , I consider the current releases of Linux on the desktop to be about the same quality as Windows 3.1,

      Wow...You must have had a special version of win 3.1 You can't tell me having 4 virtual desktops under KDE3: 1.Galeon or Moz 2.Gimp 3.xmms 4.xterms galore is barely enough to rival the mighty Win 3.1.....errrr
    • Currently, the biggest challenge for Linux is making the installation painless. The problem is not that Linux developers don't want to--its just as I'm sure they can tell you, getting the hardware and drivers they need is really difficult. I'm not sure how we, as a community, can help that. Maybe mass-buy a new graphics card if the company produces a Linux driver off the bat?

      On certain hardware configurations the installation could be quite painless if the installers weren't so damned buggy. :)

      Look at Mandrake, for instance, which clearly has one of the best installers, DrakX.

      If everything goes right, and you have supported hardware, the installation will be painless. DrakX has a nice graphical interface and installation is mostly automatic, including driver detection, if you accept the defaults. Unfortunately, DrakX has some nasty bugs.

      For instance, if an installation CD has a smudge on it, it is highly probable that after cleaning it, you'll have to start the install all over, because DrakX will get confused and lose its list of files to be installed. This is true in Mandrake 8.1 and earlier, I have NOT tested this on 8.2.

      In some cases, even though it was selected, the 8.0 installer didn't install the kernel sources for some reason. (Actually, I don't think you can elect to have the installer NOT install the kernel sources).

      Nasty little bugs like this are the ones that the Linux Janitors, as you say, need to fix.

      But I don't think that the installation is nearly as awful as it once was. Most people who think installation is painful either have A) the latest and greatest hardware (least likely to get a driver for) or B) run Slackware. :-P

  • by r_j_prahad ( 309298 ) <r_j_prahad AT hotmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:57PM (#3406259)
    Six months ago, Adobe was evil incarnate here on Slashdot. Today there's an unsubstantiated rumor that they might port their proprietary DMCA-protected crap to Linux and suddenly they're an Angelic mom-and-pop operation that can do no wrong.

    When this lame movie comes out on DVDCCA region-encoded SSSCA copy-protected discs you'll all be like kids in a toy store, and the hell with Dmitry Sklyarov or Ed Felten or Eric Corley and what they suffered through because of companies like Adobe.

    You people are the best supporters Eisner and Hollings could ever ask for.
    • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @10:27PM (#3406466)
      Simply put Linux is hurting for apps. Maybe not in the server department, but certainly in other areas. Not so long ago open source types were busy condemning Netscape to hell until they released NS for linux. Suddenly going against standards was A-OK.

      I'm not going to simple-mindedly yell hypocrites from the highest mountain, but there is a criticism to be had. Until Linux is in a better position software-wise this will continue to happen. In fact this may never change, if a company can end honest criticism by releasing a version of its software for Linux, well why not? In the windows world many people use software from companies they don't like. The same will be true if Linux invades the desktop market. Microsoft could easily clean some of its image by releasing office/IE for Linux. Users and software companies make for odd bedfellows.
    • Believe it or not there are some people on here who like Windows even.

      /. has how many readers? I don't remember when I signed up reading that I had to believe in the company line about everything.

      It's been said over and over - some people believe in this cause, some don't.

      I'm not boycotting Adobe - I wouldn't buy any of their products anyway :) I use windows for a desktop cause I think that KDE and GNOME are both not quite there yet. I can't stand most of the independant bands that people preach I should listen to. I think RMS is a smart guy, but an ass and that the government is barking up the wrong tree with the MS case.

      And I probably represent a less vocal population of /.
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @10:05PM (#3406294) Homepage Journal
    I'm a little surprised they also switched the workstations to Linux as well. In the short term I can imagine that being a real headache, but in the long term...I dunno.. that could be a really good thing.

    When you do 3D animation (or digital art of any kind, really...) you don't just have one or two programs that do all the work. You have to constantly come up with new and creative solutions to animation problems. When this happens, the artists really get close to their machines. I'll give you an example: I'm a Lightwave animator running on Windows 2000. Lightwave's scene files are text based, which means I can modify a scene without necessarily having to do it through Lightwave itself.

    I had a problem once where I wanted to animate realistic eye movement. Doing it by hand would be incredibly time consuming (Not to mention repetitive...) So I came up with an inventive solution. I parented the camera in Lightwave to the 'neck' of the person, and rendered a wide-angle avi from that person's perspective. Then I wrote a quick VB-App that used MS's Media Player ActiveX control to play back the .AVI, and then track my mouse movements over the movie. While it played back, I moved the mouse around the items of interest and saved that information into a text file. Then I converted the text file into a Lightwave motion file and loaded it into the eyes.

    The effect was surprising! Within 6 hours or so of programming, I had written a primitive mo-cap (Mouse capture?) program that would be useful for a lot of things, not just eye movement. All this was possible because I understood VB, Windows 2000, and Lightwave. This happened to be so valuable that I bought a Windows 2000 laptop so I could experiment more with this technique in my free time.

    The reason I'm surprised at the workstations switch (I should say 'initially surprised...') is that familiarity with your computer/OS is key to coming up with inventive solutions to problems. Since Linux is fairly new to the animation scene (on the creation side, not the rendering side...), it's hard to imagine those entering the animators job market would already be experienced with that OS. They'd have to re-learn how to use their computers. That may or may not be a problem, but it's a concern I have.

    My point of view on this topic is starting to change after I started to write this post. It is starting to make more sense now. It is a lot easier to get my hands on a personal copy of Linux than it is to get Windows 2000 or OSX. At that point, the brand of processor becomes the least of my concerns, just the speed of it. It'll take some getting used to, but when all the dust settles, I think Dream Works will be in for a nice boost in productivity.

    What I did with VB sounds like it'd be far easier on Linux. I can imagine 3D Animators eventually having more and more programming/scripting capabilities at their disposal. With these skills comes a more robust solution for any problems that arise. Hmm... maybe I should build a Linux box now.
  • Money saved (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MicroBerto ( 91055 )
    So how much money did they save by switching to an all Linux-based solution? That is the kind of info that Linux advocates need to be spreading if they want it to get out to a corporate level.
  • Not to quibble or anything, but Shrek was rendered on a Linux farm, a Red Hat Linux farm. The success and quality of that movie is the reason that large firms like Kodak have started looking into porting thier now SGI image and digital film apps to Linux.

    About all the Adobe links here, GIMP!!! Manipulate your images with Gnu Image Manipulation Program. I've switched several formerly psychoticly addicted Photoshop people over to it and they are exceedingly happy. Given, it doesn't have ALL the features of Photoshop, but it's really close and most of the graphic artists that I've worked with use the features that are available in both GIMP and Photo, Photo only features; not so much.

    -Runz
    • psychotically addicted? Hmph, as anyone who's ever spoken to REAL graphics artists will know, the GIMP is a piece of trash. As a graphics artist I find its feature set sorely lacking. Addicted as they may have been they probably only used photoshop in a limited capacity if they found switching so easy.

      You seem to think that photoshop only has a few features which the gimp does not. Photoshop has so many more features that its rediculous to even compare them in the same category.

      Can GIMP do ant-aliasing as well? NO
      Can GIMP handle Vector shapes? NO
      Can GIMP handle the new advanced brush textures in PS7? NO
      Can GIMP handle print graphics (CMYK)? NO
      Can GIMP smoothly interoperate with other powerfull graphics apps? NO
      Can GIMP automagically generate SANE reading HTML for quick web prototyping (don't diss the WYSIWYG in photoshop till you see it, it's not even close to front page)? NO

      The list goes on and on. The GIMP is good at what it was meant to do, be a simple tool for editing RGB images, but to compare it to photoshop is incorrect. Even the GIMP (who have done a great job) acknoledges that.
  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @10:50PM (#3406623)
    Here's an interesting question: does anyone know what kind of computer hardware is Disney using at their feature animation department in Burbank, CA nowadays? I believe that Disney's Computer Aided Production System (CAPS) for compositing digital and hand-drawn animation elements into a single film is based on SGI hardware, though I think if Disney could port the CAPS tools to Linux and run them on x86-based Athlon XP or Pentium 4 machines with one to two gigabytes of RAM per machine on a rendering farm level could save Disney a boatload of money.
    • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:48PM (#3406848)
      Personally I hope Disney continue to piss their money away buying the most overpriced and useless machine SGI sells. I also hope the movies produced thereby fail horribly at the box office. Finally, I hope Disney then goes out of business.

      What is it about slashdot, where disease corporations like Disney and other MPAA members are alternately booed and cheered?

  • by rogerbo ( 74443 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @10:55PM (#3406644)
    Clearly this guy didn't do his research, as others have pointed out Shrek was rendered on Linux, and Weta used a render farm of SGI 1200 Intel Linux boxes for "Lord of the Rings".

    See here:
    http://www.nwfusion.com/newsletters/linux/2 001/011 56783.html

    Weta used mostly SGI Octanes for 3D and compositing workstations so whats new about dreamworks is that they are switching all the artists workstations to Linux because already for several years now most big VFX houses have been using SGI and NT workstations and Linux render farms.
  • Photoshop on Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stubear ( 130454 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:32PM (#3406777)
    This is a quote from one of the Adobe Photoshop programmers concerning Photoshop on Linux:

    "Adobe is keeping an open mind. And we're keeping an eye on Linux.

    But right now, most Linux users aren't willing to pay for commercial software.

    And the lack of a viable window manager (X-Windows does NOT count), printing solution, font solution, color management solution, etc. make Linux a WHOLE lot less attractive.

    OSX and Linux only have command line utilities and a few concepts in the kernel in common. That's less than 1% of what's needed for application compatibility."


    I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for Photoshop on Linux because not a lot has happened in the UI front since this comment was written.
  • by lcarstensen ( 130248 ) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:44AM (#3407051)

    The author clearly doesn't understand the relationship between Dreamworks Animation and Dreamworks/PDI.

    Dreamworks Animation has thus far released "tradigital" (digitized traditional) animated movies "Prince of Egypt" and "Road to El Dorado", both of which used IRIX as the focus of their pipelines, and who will be releasing "Sprit: Stallion of the Cimmaron" Memorial Day weekend, which was split between IRIX and Linux. Two key workstation applications were developed for use on Spirit, and rendering mostly stayed on IRIX.

    PDI/Dreamworks is a full CG production house which has been in the special effects and commerical spots business for years (Seen those alien Intel ads recently? That was PDI.), and has recently made "ANTZ" and "Shrek". ANTZ was all IRIX, Shrek was split between IRIX and Linux, with IRIX still the most popular on the workstation and Linux was used heavily for rendering.

    HP provided lots of assistance with OpenGL workstation compliance on Linux - which undoubtedly contributed to them getting the 3-year deal mentioned in the article. Dreamworks also presently has a support contract with RedHat (as RedHat cited recently in their quarterly report). Dreamworks Animation and PDI/Dreamworks have been requesting Linux versions of various graphics applications and tools since Linux was decided upon several years back.

    These statements are my own and not those of my employer.

  • ... people would learn how to distinguish between "porting" and "migrating", so that they do not appear as complete fools when posting a topic.

    You migrate a (physical) server or workstation. Applications get ported. It appears as if this article is talking about both; this isn't apparently obvious upon first reading the introduction.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN

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