Advantages of Linux in VFX Pipeline

Posted: February 19, 2013 in FX Pipeline, Linux

Advantages of Linux in VFX Pipeline
Low cost: You don’t need to spend time and money to obtain licenses since Linux and much of its software come with the GNU General Public License. You can
start to work immediately without worrying that your software may stop working anytime because the free trial version expires. Additionally, there are large repositories from which you can freely download high quality software for almost any task you can think of.
The most obvious advantage of using Linux is the fact that it is free to obtain, while Microsoft products are available for a hefty and sometimes recurring fee. Microsoft licenses typically are only allowed to be installed on a single computer, whereas a Linux distribution can be installed on any number of computers, without paying a single dime.
Stability: Linux doesn’t need to be rebooted periodically to maintain performance levels. It doesn’t freeze up or slow down over time due to memory leaks and such. Continuous up-times of hundreds of days (up to a year or more) are not uncommon.

Performance: Linux provides persistent high performance on workstations and on networks. It can handle unusually large numbers of users simultaneously, and can make old computers sufficiently responsive to be useful again.
Linux is perfect for those old computers with barely any processing power or memory you have sitting in your garage or basement collecting dust. Install Linux and use it as a firewall, a file server, or a backup server. There are endless possibilities. Old 386 or 486 computers with barely any RAM run Linux without any issue

Network friendliness: Linux was developed by a group of programmers over the Internet and has therefore strong support for network functionality; client and server systems can be easily set up on any computer running Linux. It can perform tasks such as network backups faster and more reliably than alternative systems.

Flexibility: Linux can be used for high performance server applications, desktop applications, and embedded systems. You can save disk space by only installing the components needed for a particular use. You can restrict the use of specific computers by installing for example only selected office applications instead of the whole suite.

Compatibility: It runs all common Unix software packages and can process all common file formats.

Choice: The large number of Linux distributions gives you a choice. Each distribution is developed and supported by a different organization. You can pick the one you like best; the core functionalities are the same; most software runs on most distributions.

Fast and easy installation: Most Linux distributions come with user-friendly installation and setup programs. Popular Linux distributions come with tools that make installation of additional software very user friendly as well.

Full use of hard disk: Linux continues work well even when the hard disk is almost full.

Multitasking: Linux is designed to do many things at the same time; e.g., a large printing job in the background won’t slow down your other work.

Security: Linux is one of the most secure operating systems. “Walls” and flexible file access permission systems prevent access by unwanted visitors or viruses. Linux users have to option to select and safely download software, free of charge, from online repositories containing thousands of high quality packages. No purchase transactions requiring credit card numbers or other sensitive personal information are necessary.
In line with the costs, the security aspect of Linux is much stronger than that of Windows. Why should you have to spend extra money for virus protection software? The Linux operating system has been around since the early nineties and has managed to stay secure in the realm of widespread viruses, spyware and adware for all these years. Sure, the argument of the Linux desktop not being as widely used is a factor as to why there are no viruses. My rebuttle is that the Linux operating system is open source and if there were a widespread Linux virus released today, there would be hundreds of patches released tomorrow, either by ordinary people that use the operating system or by the distribution maintainers. We wouldn’t need to wait for a patch from a single company like we do with Windows.

Open Source: If you develop software that requires knowledge or modification of the operating system code, Linux’s source code is at your fingertips. Most Linux applications are Open Source as well.

Today the combination of inexpensive computers and free high-quality Linux operating systems and software provide incredibly low-cost solutions for both basic home office use and high-performance business and science applications. The available choices of Linux distributions and Linux software may be overwhelming at first, but if you know where to look, it shouldn’t take long for you to find good online guidance.
Disadvantages of Linux
Learning curve

I won’t lie to you; Linux is going to take some time to learn. I know that our society likes to be instantly gratified. Learning Linux is definitely worth your time, but to really master it, you will need to spend some good time in front of your machine tinkering with things. Don’t expect to be an expert after reading something like “Linux for Dummies”. If you are contemplating this for your company, you will need to budget some money for training and learning time.

More technical ability needed

You will want to make sure that you train someone in Linux really well. Alternately, you could hire someone who has experience with Linux. A good Linux administrator needs to be on hand as you start to migrate your systems over. This is a disadvantage financially, at least in the beginning. You may find over time, however, that you only need a temporary administrator to handle the routine tasks.

Not all hardware compatible

Some of the latest and greatest hardware that is being produced is not compatible with Linux. At least, not yet. The people that contribute program code and drivers to the Linux kernel are great at including support fairly quickly. Until that time, not everything you buy for hardware in your system may work. I’ve had to rely on third-party drivers and other means to make hardware like a new Ethernet card work. Eventually, the support will be built in. One thing you can do is before your purchase, ask if the hardware vendor has support for Linux. Some manufacturers do write their own Linux drivers and distribute them with your purchase, making it very easy to integrate with your existing system.

 

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