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Silicon Graphics

Alias|Wavefront to Support Linux 79

Steve Rojem writes "This press release at Yahoo details the porting of Maya et al to Linux." Very cool, and probably one of the first of many similar announcements we'll be seeing this week with LinuxWorld going on (though as an astute reader pointed out, this one was due to SIGGRAPH, which is also going on presently). Maya should show up in December, and it won't come cheap (US$3k).
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Alias|Wavefront to Support Linux

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  • I love /., but I'm so sick of reading about Linux,
    I could puke! Therefore, I have selected to
    exclude Linux articles from the index page ... but
    it doesn't work, because people keep posting Linux
    related articles under different topics. For
    example, just today there were three Linux
    articles showing up ... two under "Games" and one
    under "SGI."

    It's pretty simple: If the article is about Linux,
    it goes under the Linux topic. If the article is
    about a program or game being written or ported
    to Linux, it *STILL* goes under the Linux topic!

    Why? Because unless you use or like Linux, you
    don't care that Game "X" being ported to Linux. Or
    that SGI's Maya software is being written for

    If the people posting articles don't want to take
    the time to correctly categorize the articles,
    at least consider providing us more powerful ways
    to filter... e.g. regex's on the body of the
    article. Then I can allow all topics, and just do:


    Why are there so many Unix-using Star Trek fans?
    When was the last time Picard said, "Computer, bring
  • Microsoft and Intel may not have voting shares, but they carry considerable influence within Avid.... witness the attempted retreat by Avid to NT-only post NAB 99.

    Reflexive Mac-bashers hold your tongue please. The majority of non-linear video editing (read: Avid's customer base) is "still" Mac based.

    After the customer base revolted Avid has been falling head over heels - following a 30% stock drop! - to make up and reverse that decision somewhat.

    In my humble opinion SI is a piece of shit. I use the software quite often, and on NT even... :(

    Microsoft ditched SI because their customer base was switching to Maya anyhow. You see, as part of Microsoft's "war against open 3D stardards", they had to buy smart people to help develop their closed 3D API "DirectX". To do this they diverted considerable resources from the SGI flavor, and poured resources into the fledgeling NT port.

    Once all the SI customer base was screaming "I knew it [ms would hose them]" they had to get rid of the product or watch it wither. SI on NT was a tremendous HACK even as far as NT standards go. Microsoft never bought SI to make a direct profit off of... they just wanted to embrace and extend OpenGL and capture one of the leading IRIX applications (giving the customer base the shaft if they stayed on SGI).

    SGI was very smart when they brought down the price of Maya to within reach of SI, MAX, etc.. and one more thing you'll NEVER see MAX on Linux. It's way too tied to NT code-wise and uses a lot of licensed code too (maybe you'll see the MAX distributed render client...). Given SGI's healthy attitude towards Linux I think it's a matter of months before it's announced for Linux. This makes me very happy :)

  • The Maya renderer sucks all ass. Strangely, it's a lot worse than the older Alias renderer.

    The Animation and Modelling package is amazingly powerful, though.

  • The true cost of the environment is much higher.

    On the other hand, I used an early version of Wave front circa 1990, and it was way cool even then. Making an object run along a spline was pretty easy, having an large number of them doing this was also easy.

    I can only imagine it's much better now.

    You have seen the product of this package, unless you haven't seen TV in 20 Years.

    I have always hoped the Linux world would come out with something as easy to use for free or cheap.
  • A) Because they make me to.

    B) Because Photoshop on SGI stops at version 3.0

  • You have to use them to understand the difference. High-end packages such as Maya or Softimage are *lightyears* away from the $100 crowd.


  • Do you not have enough self-control to ignore articles you do not wish to see. Guess what, if I don't feel like reading an article on this site I don't. It's pretty easy to not click on that "Read More..." link. BTW, what did slashdot ever do against you?
  • Why is it stupid? I work with both Macs and Unix boxen, and after one or two hours on the Mac I just can't wait to get to a command line so I can actually be a bit productive.

    Sorry, but one-button mice and no multitasking has to *go*.

  • WTF are you talking about? I am offering a
    suggestion to improve the site. Unlike you...

    Why bother offering any options at all to get
    rid of articles that appear on slashdot? Obviously
    either Rob is bored, or slashdot readers are
    requesting this.

    Obviously I don't have to read the entire article,
    but most of the time the entire article appears on
    the front page anyway. 3 out of the 7 or so
    articles on the main page were about Linux and
    thus un-interesting. I'd rather have only the
    articles that appeal to me show up on that page...
    which is why the "exclude" feature was created in
    the first place.

    So unless you have something meaninful to add...
    go away.


    Why are there so many Unix-using Star Trek fans?
    When was the last time Picard said, "Computer, bring
  • you are wrong... all of todays articles were in their proper subject range...

    we had some game announcements that had some linux info and we had some new sgi software announcements... its was labeled sgi properly... some of us are interested in sgi announcements...

    you are incorrect...

    now reboot again...
  • Whoever said Maya render "sucks ass", is missinformed... We have used Alias PowerAnimator since version 5 and then moved on to Maya... The renderer is pretty good, you just have to realize that alot of the defaults are setup for lowest quality*speed)... but it is very very nice... raytracing, raycasting, MEL(which right there blows the 3 year delayed softimage prod away..), IPR, harware rendering, particles(no other sofwares' particle systems come even close), full tessalation control on any object, built in post effects, includes developer API, etc...

    its is not open source, but ALL or nearly ALL of the software is in MEL... you can just open up and text files and read them... much can be done with this software... (the gui, object/surf manips, all of it)

    I use it on old indy/indigo sgi's and the new NT 540... it is stupid fast on the 540...

    MentalRay is less and less talked about nowadays... lost of ground has been lost due to delays in their "next generation" product...

    And it doesnt really matter... if you really are going to do any "real" rendering, you are using Renderman... and if that is the case, you export RIBS in maya...
  • by Erich ( 151 )
    This further supports theories that SGI will be moving to Linux ... People buy SGI workstations because they run Maya and company, and run them well. Linux provides not only an efficient, stable environment to work in, but it will run pretty much the same way under a Mips 10k as it will an x86. That's a huge advantage over Irix.

    Now if only they give us some of the nice kernel multithreading that Irix has, and that 4dwm-zooming-filemanager...

  • What is the difference ?

    I am not familiar with this application. If they only porting backend then it make sense. There is really not that much support for accelerated GL on the front end ( Vodoo and maybe one more ... that's it )
  • why does graphics software made by large companies always cost an arm and a leg? 3ds Max, Maya, Softimage, etc, all cost more than most hardware when equally excellent graphics packages such as blender [] are freely available with advanced features available at rates under $100 US.
  • Alias|Wavefront provides artists with open workflow solutions for creative advantage
    Snigger. What the hell does that mean?

    Sneers aside, this looks like a Good Thing, particularly with SMP. I've read a few pieces that say Linux is ideal for multimedia, but I've seen little evidence in the software.
    And $3,000 for a renderererer? Truly Linux has come of age.
  • They sold it to Avid (at least part of it, anyway)... Mental Ray is a better renderer than Maya's (so my artist friends tell me)
  • Its nice to see that they are porting rendering software. But it will be really nice if they ever manage to get useful modelling et al. tools ... renderers are a nice step ... its a pity theres no real software to run on those Visual Workstataions under windows and what-not. Too bad microsoft owns Softimage ... Thats something I'd really like to see Please don't reply saying anything including "BMRT, Povray, Blender, Midnight Modeller" or any of that open-source nonsense. These tools have nothing compared to Maya's modeller, SoftImage or even 3DSMAX
  • I am glad that this was finaly announced. I couldn't wait for them to go public with the information because I wanted to brag to all my friends about my new linux render farm.
    My work has had a tight relationship with A|W and
    we kept pushing for the Maya port. Now it has happened. The way I see it, porting the renderer is a big deal. Having the modeler to use under linux would be nice, but it is not needed. With current hardware support for 3D still comming arround, a high powered modeler for linux might still be a bit slow.
    Having the renderer for linux allows people to put togeather cheap render farms. Knowing that maya renders about as fast, or faster on dual proc NT machines as it does on O2 or Octane boxes, a cheap, fast linux solution is awesome. We are looking at beefing up our render farm, also migrating some from the SGI platform to the Intel, but we were waiting for the port to be official.
  • The renderer is already just a commandline application, so this port wasn't really a big commitment to linux on their part (I bet it was an engineer bored one afternoon)

    You'll still need an NT or SGI box to actually model anything, so don't plan on converting your shop over anytime soon. The only people this really matters for are people who have big render farms - and at the price per copy of Maya, there aren't a whole lot of people who do.

  • I was gettin pretty excited when I read the headline. I thought "Alias|Wavefront moving to linux? I may not be able to afford it, but this sounds great!" Then I checked out the web site, and, alas, it's only the network render client.

    Maybe I shouldent be griping, if my favorite modeler/renderer/animation package, Hash's [] Animation:Master released a render client/server for linux, I'd be one happy puppy, cause the less time I spend in MacOS and the more I spend in linux, the better.
  • but this is just the _Renderer_. The real product that I want to see is Studio(9+). I saw no mention of a Studio port in the press release (it's a US$30K product, rather than a US$3K product).

    We're a product deign firm who would love a couple more seats of Studio. Linux is the obvious choice in OS (nt - ha!), particullarly with SGI supporting it. But if we still need SGI MIPS hardware and IRIX, I don't see us adding any more.

    Now if Parametric Technologies would port ProEngineer to Linux.....

  • It is just the render engines. Pixar has a port of Renderman for Linux too (and they are working on the Alpha Linux port as we speak). And, of course, the Blue Moon Render Tools have existed on Linux for years. BMRT implements a subset of Renderman - I've messed around with exporting the geometries out of Alias on Irix and rendering on BMRT on Linux but didn't have enough management support to get beyond the initial test.

    Alias released the renderer for NT about 3-4 months before the full Maya toolset. It was worth the wait. Of course, I'm more interested in seeing the good bits of Irix move to Linux. The release of SGI Linux 1.0 was more significant to me. If SGI put 1/10th the effort into Linux that they did Irix, NT would die quickly.

  • Because unlike things like Word processors this stuff is only used by a a few thousand users and takes years of development to create.

    It's simple economics. If it takes two programmers 1 year at $50,000 per programer per year the cost of production is: $100,000 If the product is only going to be bought by 1000 people it would have to cost $100 a copy just to break even. If it was bought by a 100,000 people.. well it would still propably cost 100 bucks.. but it would make a heafty profit.

    The point is if the cost of production is high and the number of prospective buyers is low then the purchase price will have to be high.

  • Actually I have seen rumblings from them about precisely this. They are evidently thinking about porting ProE. I certainly hope so. Maybe I would finally be able to persuade my company to get some Linux boxes in here. We have 5 or 6 different flavours of unix in house already so I don't know why they're so unhip to it. Ohhh yeah, it's because our unix admin left and all we have left is our NT guy (he's a good NT guy, he just doesn't like unix, sigh).
  • And if/when I see a good 16bit/floating point, paint capabable version of the GIMP, then I'll get really excited. -- stuck at work while everyone else is at SIGGRAPH

    People are working on enhancing the Gimp for film work - including 16 bit per component support. This work is coming directly out of the LA effects community. I think information is at ;

    but I can't connect at the moment ...

  • Hey lazy ass, ever think of heading over to google and typing "maya softimage" (two things that have come up in this thread) into that friendly text box?
  • I Love the Idea of using alias under linux but no student can even come close to useing a $3,000 doller program, hell anything over $300 is herting full time students. but it would be nice wouldent it.
  • What do you mean if the gave us some kernel multithreading? Linux does offer kernel (ie system) level threads.

  • I don't mean to flame you, your points about the unlikelihood of Maya being open sourced are valid but:

    Just because an artist uses a broken warez copy of a piece of software on a Celeron means that he/she can't create cool artwork.

    Hell, if i got paid to do this stuff, then i would have no problem buying a loaded SGI box running IRIX + Maya etc.

    but check it:

    but as it is, i'm stuck with a warez copy of LW and an overclocked Celeron. The warez copy of Lightwave works perfectly, and my Celeron performs identically to a P2 of the same clock speed.

    Of course, there are a lot of people who warez the software, and never actually *use* it.

    But creating good artwork with this type of software comes from hard work and talent. Nothing else. Warez never is, was or will be a substitute for the above, and just because i 'borrowed' my tools, doesn't mean i don't know how to use them.

    How do you think anybody actually learns to do this stuff?

    Magically loaded workstations just fall out of the sky into the laps of 'those that are worthy'?

  • Actually Maya's rendering, while not crappy, is not as good as rendermans... ILM for example will model in Maya (for polygonal stuff they'll use Lightwave), animate in SoftImage and render in a renderman.
  • Actually, the Maya modeling studio runs under NT... I played with a Beta version of it, and it's pretty slick, even running on NT... Seemed fast enough for modeling, but the rendering was a little slower even than the old SGIs I had used previously... if you could model in NT (for now, until they get the modeling software to Linux) and render to a linux rendering farm, that would be pretty sweet...
  • If it's 'just' the renderer, does that mean it's
    ONLY good for renderfarms? Or is this the whole
    Maya 2 Complete package, meaning you don't need anything else? I'm suspicious because of the price - Maya 2 normally goes for around $7500, doesn't it, with other versions going up around $16k...
  • 3D modeler + animation + dynamics + renderer package, integrated slickly and with loads o' plugins. High-end - i.e. makes 3DSMax look toylike - *nice* graph-based architecture (more than just a DAG), real UI, snappy and *big*. I'm tempted to reply to the earlier troll about "open sourcing it", but won't. And yes, I used to work for A|W, so I'm biased. I wish I had the hardware (and money) to have my own copy of Maya... sigh. Writing plugins for Maya is kind of dreamy.
  • I would say that it is more than a start. It is what is needed to get linux into some of the industries that it is currently not in. I am excited, the IRIX guys at work are worried about another paltform to support, and the NT guys just don't understand, but I can't wait.
    About the Mental Ray being better than Maya's render engine. I don't know how much of a difference there is. My studio chose Maya based on two things, the modeler and MEL, the Maya scripting language. I think that both put out very good images, getting to that stage is the important part. Plus, Maya can export to renderman, with a small amount of work.
  • as ussual, alias is behind side effects. side effects was the first high end 3D product (used for stuff like: titanic, apollo 13, vocano, independence day, etc.) to be ported to linux. and they announced their houdini to linux port back in march. they're showing a linux version of houdini 4.0 at siggraph this week. houdini is about a year ahead of maya in power. it's procedural from the ground up in both geometry (sops), channels (chops), and lots of low-level unix scripting support. check out:

  • If you don't like how things are done on Slashdot,then get lost. No one's asking you to stay.

    This post of yours has to be one of the most idiotic things I've come across. *You* sir are in no postintion to dictate to *ANYBODY* how they should go about posting any sort of message. If you don't like seeing this message too fucking bad (for *YOU* that is)
  • While I agree Maya's engine is pretty good, I'll play devils advocate a bit just to say that I like radiance's rendering engine better.. ;) When we see the Maya modelling environment though, we will *really* have something to be happy about. Especially in that radiance can import from AW/Maya.. >:) So now we just need to implement photon mapping into radiance, have a Maya-like opensource modeller, and when I finish writing me ecosystem/landscape generator, oh boy oh boy! ;)
  • Ahhhh let me guess... a Linux zealot.



    Why are there so many Unix-using Star Trek fans?
    When was the last time Picard said, "Computer, bring
  • P.S. It's in the best interest of slashdot to
    please as many people as possible... more eyeballs
    == more ad revenue. This includes people that are
    not interested in Linux (believe it or not).

    Why are there so many Unix-using Star Trek fans?
    When was the last time Picard said, "Computer, bring
  • Here's [] a little animation (The Maya example shipped with A/W is in the middle of the page) of what it can do.
  • wrong logo
  • The "Maya" product, as a whole, consists of multiple packages. The renderer is only one of them. In order to make a complete development package, the user needs to have "Studio aka. Power Modeler", StudioPaint, and several plugins. F/X comes standard, but plugins like Live, Cloth, and Artisan are usually added (at extra cost).

    The "real" cost of Maya is somewhere in the $40,000 - $50,000 range.

    The A|W offering above only has the renderer, which allows Linux to assist/control a render farm, but doesn't support the animation development environment.

    Using Maya as an example of Linux's multimedia capabilities is premature. Certainly, this can be used as an example of Linux's ability to handle computationally complex tasks, but that ability has been proven already.


  • Take a look at Bingo the Clown - an animated short made just to showcase Maya's (Alias|Wavefront's modeller) new features. Quite a deranged little short, but well worth the bandwidth and time to watch it - especially for the lens reflections!

    I wish I had the URL... if anyone knows it, post it! The last place I saw it, it was on Alias|Wavefront's site...

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.