Is Linux right for me?

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ericlalicata

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Is Linux right for me?

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 2:11 am

I'm a long time Mac User who was just about ready to build a Windows system, but now there's Linux. I have zero experience with Linux, but would be willing to learn if the benefits outweigh the hassle. We grade a lot of RED and ARRI footage with a good amount of h.264 that we usually transcode to ProRes. I know the ProRes encode is not available on the Windows or Linux Studio versions. I have plenty of Macs that I could use as a transcode station or we would just pick a different mezzanine codec.

I would want to have a few GPUs in the computer. I have two Titan X gpus but would probably pick up a couple GTX 1080s for a new build. I've read that Window and Linux can be installed as dual boot or on separate hard drives in the same machine. So no bios setup issues? Also have a 10Gbit video network that the workstation would have to connect to. Currently using AFP, but could change that to SMB. Any issues there with a Linux system? What are the pros and cons of Linux vs Windows 10 for a Davinci system in a mostly Mac facilty?

Any advice or pointers to resources would be greatly appreciated.

I hope you don't mind the most basic of discussions here.

Thanks in advance.
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Chip.Murphy

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 5:53 am

Linux is tricky.

I'm on an x79 system and have it triple booting all three OS's no problem.

Don't write off Windows just yet. Microsoft did a good job with 10 and it's pretty easy to administer. Want to install VLC or any other programs on CentOS, have fun. Windows is my OS of choice due to ease of use, snappiness of Windows Explorer and it's wide support for hardware (no Pascal on MacOS).

Cineform 10 bit is fantastic on Windows as a mezzanine codec. No gamma shifts on Mac/Windows and anyone with Premiere CC can read it. Lack of Prores sucks, but you get used to it.

You can dual boot, but give Windows a (fair) shot first. It's quite solid and third party software support makes a difference.
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Martin Schitter

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 7:49 am

if you are actually able to install and maintain a mac or windows system yourself, linux will not not look much more challenging to you. most common distributions (debian/ubuntu/mint) are indeed very well documented and became quite user friendly in the meanwhile.

but i wouldn't recommend to use resolve on linux right now! this may change soon, if BMD will improve it. but in its actual state it isn't a very user friendly and equivalent replacement. i would see it more as a first public pre-release/beta test version, which presupposes a number of workarounds and linux experience.

Want to install VLC or any other programs on CentOS, have fun.


well -- people have to get used to different philosophies and maintenance approaches of all these operating systems.
you usually do not download any additional software from unknown sources and install it somehow, but use the package management of your distribution for this kind of tasks. this is very useful, because it's a very save solution, which also keeps your machine up to date and automatically solves complicated dependency relations and conflicts between software packages. most common free software is available in this manner (and in fact you usually don't need much more!).
you don't have to search the net for downloads etc. -- just type e.g.: "aptitude install vlc" and the application and all required libraries and other dependencies will be installed!
only commercial software, which isn't available in ready made packages for your specific linux distribution, may cause a lot more headaches. the necessary adaptations for this kind of stuff are often very tricky and troublesome.

graphic cards and other more specialized hardware has also be taken into account. usually they are quite well supported and easy to use in simples cases. but if you need support for different graphic drivers / alternative OpenCL support at the same time etc., it can became quite challenging. and even if the drivers for a specific device may be supported in most common cases, they can block the whole update procedure of your system, if some changes in more actual kernel code happens or the drivers aren't officially supported anymore after some time. well -- you have to fight very similar troubles on other operating systems just the same, but it's worth mentioning, that you should expect miracles. it's just the same sad story on linux.
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Noel Sterrett

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 12:15 pm

Chip.Murphy wrote:Linux is tricky.

Want to install VLC or any other programs on CentOS, have fun.
Yes, Linux is tricky, and there's a steep learning curve, but I had no problems installing a wealth of programs, including VLC, ffmpeg, dcraw, and Image Magick.

Here's a decent guide: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/centos-7-perfect-desktop.html

The problem with Linux is that you can easily get hooked, and start looking at other OS's with dread and contempt.

Cheers.
Noel Sterrett
Admit One Pictures
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alexmitchellmus

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 12:28 pm

+1

Really want to get a Linux post workstation setup, but may have to wait until Blackmagic resolves most of the issues. :-)

Hopefully DR will be transitioned from a dedicated Workstation system (with custom Linux distro) to something that is simple to install and maintain. I am guessing thats the plan?
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ericlalicata

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostMon Mar 20, 2017 9:05 pm

Thank you very much for your replies. The information provided is very helpful. A few more questions if I may?

Other than the OS differences, does Linux offer more computing power/options on the hardware side? I thought I remembered something about distributed processing, but not sure if that is needed with the current state of processors.

Staying with the Windows migration plan is probably what I am going to do. However, if I'm gonna sink $8k-$10k into new hardware, I want to leave my options open for a Linux install in the future, once BMD gets this version stable, if there are benefits to doing so. Since these workstations will be primarily used with Resolve, I'm not overly concerned with the OS GUI differences. If Linux is more of a hassle for the average user/colorist then maybe it's not a good fit for us. We do use Adobe products as well. Seems that there are not linux versions of the CC suite. This may be the deciding factor. But again, if Resolve on Linux can offer more computational power now or in the future for Davinci, I may still consider a dual installation of separate drives.

Sadly, our time with Macintosh products is ending. At least for the video department. Regardless of what the next trash can offers.

Thanks again for your comments.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostMon Mar 20, 2017 9:14 pm

I would definitely not advice to go Linux for someone who used Mac and is not a tech guy.
You may manage it at the end, but it won't be frustration free for sure.

Question is- why would like like to use Linux, not Windows? Surely it's not just OS license cost.
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ericlalicata

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostMon Mar 20, 2017 11:26 pm

Exactly, Andrew. Not worried about OS license cost. Was just curious if there were any benefits of Linux over Windows performance wise. GPUs, distributed processing etc? I've read in other threads that it "runs faster", but with no real evidence cited. I consider myself a tech, but I have no linux experience and would love to avoid unneeded frustration.

Thanks.
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Chip.Murphy

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostMon Mar 20, 2017 11:49 pm

Avoid Linux.

Since you're working with the Adobe suite, take advantage of Cineform.

Throw two GTX 1080ti's in an Asus X99 Deluxe 2 mobo with an i7-6850 and you'll be set (along with your decklink card, Resolve Studio dongle and control surface of choice of course).
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostTue Mar 21, 2017 12:00 am

ericlalicata wrote:Exactly, Andrew. Not worried about OS license cost. Was just curious if there were any benefits of Linux over Windows performance wise. GPUs, distributed processing etc? I've read in other threads that it "runs faster", but with no real evidence cited. I consider myself a tech, but I have no linux experience and would love to avoid unneeded frustration.

Thanks.


I would also see this evidence for performance difference. Even if there is one, it may not really translate well into overall workflow gains.
Also as pointed- if you use Resolve as part of bigger workflow (with Adobe etc) then yet again what is Linux going to bring into it? (nothing except complications).
In many (maybe most cases) Linux is run at big places mainly due to administrative reasons. It's way easier to support remotely and I think this its main benefit (well- for big company licensing costs may also add up).
I worked for company where main workflow was based around Linux with custom made environment for projects setup etc. This was working well, but most tools were Linux based. Also it was huge company with 100s machines and operators, were biggest issue was maintenance and administration. For them Linux was big time and money saver.
As I already said in other posts- try to use correct tools for given job and don't over do things- simplicity is the good thing, not bad.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostTue Mar 21, 2017 12:11 am

Chip.Murphy wrote:Avoid Linux.

Since you're working with the Adobe suite, take advantage of Cineform.

Throw two GTX 1080ti's in an Asus X99 Deluxe 2 mobo with an i7-6850 and you'll be set (along with your decklink card, Resolve Studio dongle and control surface of choice of course).


Or 6950X overclocked which should work well. I would test such a solution first before jumping into dual Xeon machines. If you find that it's not enough for your source material then you have not much choice, but you maybe surprised. If it works for you, 2 such a machines will be way more productive (and generating profits) than 1 dual Xeon one. Maybe they are not that cheap, but not as expensive as dual CPU either.
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Martin Schitter

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostTue Mar 21, 2017 2:40 am

there are many people out there, which would be overchallenged by maintaining windows pc or apple computers themselves just the same!

sure -- switching over to linux wouldn't make their live much easier, but most of them are usually able to adapt their simple practical needs to another desktop environment, as long as their preferred applications or suitable alternatives are available on this system. that's the real crucial point!

therefore it's not so much the question, which system is better per se, but the freedom to choose between different operating systems without relinquishing the possibility to use similar software and share our work in teams with varying needs and personal preferences.

most commonly used operating systems became quite similar these days. the learned a lot from each other. linux distributions became much more end user friendly, just as typical desktop and personal computers absorbed a lot of capabilities from former big iron.

if you really need cutting edge performance or creative solutions for problems, where no off the shelf software is available, etc., unix systems are still very efficient tools. but in this case you usually work in teams with technicians, developers and maintenance experts. it's a quite different business, than just consuming ready made products for the masses. under this circumstances it will definitely make a difference, if you can build on the qualities of more advanced operating systems -- all their storage/networking/cluster/development/stability advantages. but for personal use, it usually doesn't matter. it's more the personal background, which determines the choice in this case.
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Seth Goldin

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostTue Mar 21, 2017 6:46 pm

If you want to get a head start on Linux, I'd recommend taking The Linux Foundation's free course.

https://www.edx.org/course/introduction ... -lfs101x-1

Given the shared UNIX pedigree, Linux is more like macOS than it is like Windows. However, many things you'd take for granted in either macOS or Windows might require some tinkering, and that can be surprising and confusing if you're not ready for it.

Good luck!
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ericlalicata

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Re: Is Linux right for me?

PostWed Mar 22, 2017 12:18 am

Thank you everyone for your advice and suggestions. I really appreciate your time. I think I will stick with the Windows build for now. I will follow those links provided regarding Linux. It is something I have always wanted to learn, just never seem to have enough time in the day.

Thanks again.

Eric

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