Hollywood Loves Linux

Linux used to create blockbuster movies!

Disney/Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Sony, ILM and other movie production studios from Hollywood are using Linux to produce their movies. I bet not many of you knew this (I didn't until today) but practically every blockbuster movie you see in theaters today was created with Linux. Hollywood prefers to use Linux instead of other operating systems, like Windows or Macintosh, for three simple reasons: it's better, faster and cheaper.

In Hollywood, Linux is considered the state-of-the-art, and 95% of the desktops and servers used at those big budget movie production studios, like Sony and Disney/Pixar, to create special visual effects and animation, are Linux based operating systems. Yes, I know that many of you will say now, "it's not true", "it can't be right" or "I heard they use Mac OS X software", but it is true and Linux is used to render those CGI Blockbusters you probably saw on theaters, faster than any other operating system.

The movie Scooby Doo, for example, was created at the Rhythm and Hues studio and the whole movie was rendered and touched up with the help of custom made software which ran on Linux systems. Other blockbuster movies like The Matrix, Titanic, Gladiator, Superman Returns, What Dreams May Come, Cats and Dogs, Shrek, The Perfect Storm, Prince of Egypt,

The Road to El Dorado, Antz, Chicken Run, Deep Blue Sea, Star Trek: Insurrection, Fantasia 2000, Men in Black, Hollow Man and many many more, were created with Linux software such as RAYZ, Maya or Shake. Now, don't think all the software used in movie production is free, because most of the applications cost somewhere between $8,000 and $15,000 or even more, but hey, it's Hollywood!

Another example is the very popular Shrek movie made at the DreamWorks studios, and the renderfarm used has a 1,000+ processors, 80% Linux and 20% IRIX. DreamWorks created a render tower made up of dual 1GHz P3 2GB RAM computers housed in a 1RU (1.75") package stacked 41 units high, which can replace computers consuming 40-50 feet of data center rack space. Also, DreamWorks uses both internally developed programs tailored to the needs of their animation production and commercially available animation software, and because most of their internal developed software was originally created for the SGI IRIX operating system, it's much easier to port the applications to a Linux system, which is much more similar to IRIX than Windows or Mac OS X.

On the left you can see the Linux render tower (renderfarm) from DreamWorks studios.


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