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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/front_frameset/front_bannerad.php

I foudn this article (And a few others) saying that Pixar has switched and is now using Intel processors to run their Linux boxes for rendering.
Um Steve, your heading Apple here!!! Get yourself some Xserves, or is it not a viable solution over Intel processors, like you say it is???
 

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Pixar has been using Linux on x86 for a few years now. Pixar uses proprietary software to render film (RenderMan on Linux) and around about the time Apple was licensing clones Pixar dropped the Mac Renderman port (there was no Windows version).

They build custom (Pixar-spec) x86 hardware to populate the render farms.

At the time, it doesn't strike me as strange that Jobs (who wasn't working for Apple at the time and probably wasn't all that enthralled with Scully, et al) would have concluded that Apple was going the wrong way. I don't think many people would argue that things haven't changed considerably from those dark days of mismanagement.

I would expect that sometime in the future Pixar will upgrade hardware and may even port RenderMan to OSX, but they are in business to make money and don't just buy new gear 'cuz it's cool, so time will tell.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Apple under Jobs has begun to agressively challenge x86 rackmounts with the Xserve.

Pixar also uses Sun and Apple hardware, but not for rendering. Prior to the Linux port, Renderman ran on SGI hardware.

Note: I wrote the above before I could find the article (your link only gives me a banner ad) but did find it by the old "cut the tail off the url trick" here:
PCPro
... then going to the story at right:
Pixar Picks Linux

I am a bit puzzled about the information in the story, this is not new; it appears the story is based on stuff I read years ago. For example:
Pixar drops SGI for renderfarm

Note from the story that 2 million lines of code ported at an average 2,000 lines per day. This means the decision to go Linux on x86 was made at least 1000 days prior to SE 2001 (assuming coding began the same day the decision was made).
 

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MacDaddy wrote:
I foudn this article (And a few others) saying that Pixar has switched and is now using Intel processors to run their Linux boxes for rendering.

The link you provided just leads to a banner ad; here's the article from Slashdot if anyone's interested.

Um Steve, your heading Apple here!!! Get yourself some Xserves, or is it not a viable solution over Intel processors, like you say it is???

While the XServes are nifty, I don't think they're the best tool for the job in this case. I'd argue in a situation like this you're going to want the most bang for your buck, and as has been discussed here before, the high-end Intel x86 chips are currently faster than the high-end Motorola PowerPC chips.

Plus, since they're using Blade servers, they can pack a lot more processors into less space (84 PowerPC processors per rack as opposed to 248 processors per rack).
 

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jf is on the money here, rendering a fully animated movie is a big "supercomputer" type operation. Even if Pixar wanted to move to OSX PPC I wouldn't expect the transition to take less than a few years, and they may as well wear out a few of the relatively new x86 blades while they're at it.

By the way, there is a company that is developing blade-format OSX/PPC servers, more info available here:
Hemeris
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
jf, thanks for fixing tha tlink, very strange though, i copied from the Location bar
 

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If you think that this is bad, I guess that means you didn't know that there is a Dell on Steve Jobs desk at Pixar (running Linux, but still).

(I tried to find the relevant link but couldn't)

--PB
 

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"Use the best tool for the job."

Although we often accuse Windows users of acting as if there was only 1 OS on the planet, it's important that we realise that no single platform/OS is the be-all of computing. Pixar does what they do because they felt, at the time, that it was the way to do the job most efficently with the resources they had at their disposal. In other words, Mac users shouldn't fall into the trap of believing that there are only 2 OS's on the planet.

Although it would be nice if Pixar used Job's favorite destop/server OS, usually when you place restrictive conditions on a hardware purchasing decision, the resulting decision is a bad one. Just look at the average government contract, especially military contracts, in any nation.

A lot of the time Mac users complain that so-and-so is using Wintel when Apple stuff would work better at that specific job. You can't have it both ways.

There are a vast number of OS's you can use to do a given task. A non-comprehensive list appears here:
OS Info
Note that it isn't current; neither OSX nor Windows XP has made the list yet.
The only thing I can't figure out, is why Pixar isn't using Plan9 by Bell Labs/Lucent ;)
 
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