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Pixar moves to Linux and Intel

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Bad blow for Sun: Pixar, considered one of the most innovative American production houses, known worldwide for its digital masterpieces, Toy Story and the recent Monsters & Co., Passes to Intel.

The company, of which CEO Steve Jobs, has in fact begun to dismantle its network of Sun-Solaris workstations to make way for eight new Rackspace Blade servers that altogether have 1024 Intel Xeon processors, each of which at 2.8 GHz.

The choice of Pixar will not fail to make people discuss for a long time and to raise new questions about Sun's ability to maintain the dominance, until recently uncontested, in the field of video production, digital and special effects and graphic rendering.

The company of Jobs on the other hand only the last, although more sensational (given the relevance of the use of computers in its productions), epigono of a trend that seems unstoppable and that sees Intel and AMD x86 processors with systems Linux take the place of Sun and SGI with OS Unix. Before Pixar they had chosen this road Dreamworks by Spielberg and Industrial Light and Magic, by Lucas, the latter even after being linked for years by an iron and image pact) with SGI.

The reasons for this migration are soon explained in two factors: the much lower cost of systems equipped with Intel and AMD processors with Linux compared to Sun or SGI machines with Unix, and the performance, now in fact very similar.

Pixar, which will use Linux itself, is already working with the new Rackspace servers to produce its new digital film "The Incredibles" which will be in theaters in 2004. For this purpose it has created a port for Linux of its acclaimed digital rendering software Renderman.

The decision to move from Sun to Intel comes at the height of a process of relaxation of relations between Apple, of which Jobs CEO, and the Santa Clara house.

During the last Macworld, Paul Otellini, president of Intel, was a guest of Cupertino and sat in the front row of the keynote. He then visited the Expo together with Jobs himself.

In turn, Jobs, who has long been friends with Otellini, gave a short keynote at a conference that Intel held for its vendors in Las Vegas.