[Beowulf] noob understanding

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Sat May 20 08:24:30 PDT 2006

At 07:15 AM 5/20/2006, Robert G. Brown wrote:
>On Fri, 19 May 2006, philip wrote:
>>I may call respower and see how far into their brains they'll let me "pick"
>>to see if the nodes are linux.  What do you guys think?
>since this is the only way this has ever been done for
>serious movies from the beginning.

At least since Toy Story, if not before.

>This may cause you to completely change your toplevel software from max
>to something else -- it usually isn't worth your time to graft two
>fundamentally different or incompatible packages or approaches together
>unless there is already a community working on it (often there is), or
>you are a programming god and can start your own community, or you enjoy
>pain.  (Hey, there are clearly people that DO enjoy pain or Windows
>wouldn't even exist, right?:-)

Perhaps they get paid to tolerate the pain?
And, in some environments, it's easier to use Windows than anything 
else.  Certainly, if I had to develop a bunch of form based applications 
using back end webservices which I'd also have to develop, the Windows 
platform makes things fairly easy, mostly because the development 
environment hides all the icky-ness of the API.

>Some of what you might end up with will cost you money for software or
>software support -- this is a "professional grade" application and the
>free software just may not hold its own with the closed source software
>available.  However, don't write off free -- there are old, mature
>projects out there in the specific area of rendering (see e.g.
>   http://www.povray.org/
>that have numerous film credits to their name and that are already
>ported to run using MPI and/or PVM and/or frame distribution tools.
>I've used it to make graphics for papers and presentations myself --
>very cool.

But.. if you want state of the art "production quality" things like 
flapping capes on Superman, natural looking hair on Sully, etc., you're 
probably going to use whatever platform supports the modeling tools you 
need.  It IS true that a lot of the underlying algorithms get initially 
developed in a *nix world, but by the time they get integrated into a 
production suite, the choice is more driven by whatever the users are 
currently familiar with, and if that's windows, that's what it will get 
ported to.

>I'd love it if you'd publish a review of what you learn and what you end
>up selecting back to the list to help others that might be asking these
>questions in the future (and to enlighten those of us on list who don't
>know exactly how this all works except in very general terms).
>    rgb

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