Subject: Titanic
From: Bernard Lang <Bernard.Lang@inria.fr>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 21:33:31 +0100 (MET)


From computergram:

+  HOLLYWOOD USED ALPHA SYSTEMS FOR TITANIC, BUT NOT FROM DEC 

Digital Equipment Corp is boasting that Hollywood special 
effects studio Digital Domain Inc used Alpha-based computer 
systems for "virtually every frame" of the blockbuster film 
Titantic, pitching the move as a significant win against 
Silicon Graphics Inc. But what DEC doesn't say is that the 
Venice, California- based studios rejected DEC's own hardware 
and operating systems software, going instead to Alpha 
clonemaker Carrera Computers Inc and choosing the Linux 
operating system over Digital Unix. DEC is boasting about the 
Alpha win from advertisements posted on its widely used Alta 
Vista web search engine site, saying that 200 Alpha CPUs were 
set onto the task of compositing the film's special effects 
after Digital Domain discovered that it could process images 
three and a half times faster than on their Silicon Graphics 
systems. But Digital Domain chose not to use Digital Unix on 
grounds of "cost and lack of flexibility" according to a report 
in the Linux Journal. Other deciding factors included 
difficulties communicating with NT servers, a lack of support 
for unusual peripherals, and the ability to allow a large 
number of uses on a single system. It chose instead to run Rad 
Hat Software Inc's commercial implementation of the Linux 
Unix-alike operating system on 105 of the machines in a 160 
machine "render ranch" of Carrera hardware, with the other 55 
systems running Windows NT. Carrera, a Newport, California 
Beach- based company, has specialized in high-performance Alpha 
systems for graphics intensive applications. The systems were 
connected to each other and to the rest of the facility with 
100Mbps Ethernet. Digital Domain hasn't turned its back on 
Silicon Graphics, and still has 350 workstations, which were 
also used on the project. The company said it did have some 
hardware compatibility problems with Linux, and found the Alpha 
version of Linux to have been less-tested than the equivalent 
Intel port, due to the relatively small Alpha Linux community. 
But overall, it says, the cost benefit of using Linux "was 
overwhelmingly positive."

 -----
 has the document available on the altavista site been changed
since the first version.
  It is now explicit about Linux


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