Originally Published: Sunday, 9 April 2000 Author: Jim Kutter
Published to: enhance_articles_multimedia/Images Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Linux as a Content Creation Platform

Linux has really come of age. It already serves millions of web pages, hosts filesystems, and recently has started to migrate onto desktop systems. However, my main interest for this adolescent OS is one market that is currently out of it's reach: the content creation workstation.

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Linux has really come of age. It already serves millions of web pages, hosts filesystems, and recently has started to migrate onto desktop systems. However, my main interest for this adolescent OS is one market that is currently out of it's reach: the content creation workstation.

For years IRIX was the king. Developed by SGI, it reigned supreme as the content creation OS of choice. Every serious artist and content developer used it. All professional applications were developed for it. Companies like Adobe, SoftIMAGE, Alias|Wavefront, and NewTek produced their applications for it. It epitomized the golden days for SGI. Apple had a large stake in this market as well. Almost every desktop publishing application was written for MacOS. Apple and SGI were the kings of the content creation market. Then everything changed.

The Apple and SGI hardware was too expensive. Typical systems cost in the upward region of ten thousand dollars or more. Add to that software that cost hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars and you had a significant cost just for the setup. Then a new entry joined the fray. It was called Windows NT, and it was cheap. It ran on systems that cost less than five thousand dollars. The content creation software was still expensive, but that didn't matter. The initial cost of the software was distributed over the cost of the systems and discounted upgrade prices.

Eventually the market shifted, and now many content houses produce on NT systems. Why? Because it was cheaper. Well, enter Linux. It's the cheapest around being virtually free. But after more than a year of public limelight, it still has yet to sweep the content market off it's feet. Why is that? The answer lies in the fact that Linux lacks the same quality of applications. Linux users have Blender for 3d graphics, Gimp for 2d, and Broadcast 2000 for video editing, just to name a few. The problem is that those are the only quality free tools available. There are others (like Houdini by SideFX) that are not free, but those are few and far in between. The Linux community has come to expect free software that is up to par with commercial software. The Gimp delivers, but that is an exception. Blender delivers, but it's technically not free. In short, the Linux community still lacks high quality, free content creation software. Sure, there are many software packages that do one thing or another, but often they lack the finesse of their professional counterparts.

In order for Linux to really take over the content creation market, it needs high quality tools to draw attention to it, and draw users from other OS's. It needs more applications like the Gimp, high quality applications to compete with their non-free counterparts. These applications would prove that Linux can not only compete with other content OS's, but surpass them.

For more information, please follow these links. Gimp Homepage http://www.gimp.org Blender Homepage http://www.blender.nl SideFX software http://www.sidefx.com Adobe http://www.adobe.com Alias|Wavefront http://www.aliaswavefront.com SoftIMAGE http://www.softimage.com NewTek http://www.newtek.com SGI http://www.sgi.com Apple http://www.apple.com





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