UPDATED 14:34 EDT / AUGUST 10 2018


Hollywood taps the Linux Foundation to create a home for its open-source projects

Hollywood is joining the open-source movement.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, best known as the organizer of the Oscars, today announced that it has teamed up with the Linux Foundation to create a home for the entertainment industry’s open-source projects.

To this end, they’ve established a new organization called the Academy Software Foundation. It has the stated goal of providing a “neutral forum” where developers from the industry can collaborate.

In the launch announcement, the Academy and the Linux Foundation said that the move follows a two-year study of how open-source software is used throughout Hollywood. The research found that over 80 percent of the industry uses open-source software, mainly for animation and visual effects. It also found that developers have built upon some projects by creating their custom versions.

By fostering an open environment for collaboration, the creators of the Academy Software Foundation hope to encourage companies to share their software with the broader the industry. The foundation will provide resources to support such work courtesy of its deep-pocketed backers.

Some 13 companies are listed as founding members alongside the Academy, including The Walt Disney Co., video game giant Epic Games Inc. and DreamWorks Animation LLC. A sizable portion of the foundation’s remaining backers hail from the tech industry. Among them are Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Google LLC’s cloud division.

The participation of the search giant is unsurprising. Google has lately stepped up its efforts to court the entertainment industry, most recently opening a new cloud region in Los Angeles to give local companies low-latency access to infrastructure and services. It paired the launch with the introduction of a new storage service geared toward large items such as computer-generated imagery files.

Other players in the cloud market, notably Amazon Web Services Inc., have set their eyes on the entertainment industry as well. AWS last year acquired a company called Thinkbox Software Inc. that developed tools for managing the large server clusters used by studios to render visual effects.

There’s a chance the cloud giant will eventually join the Academy Software Foundation as well to match Google. As part of its activities, the foundation will create a legal and governance framework for managing open-source projects. There are also plans to set up code sharing infrastructure based on the speed-oriented continuous integration methodology to let developers easily contribute to projects.

“Open Source Software has enabled developers and engineers to create the amazing visual effects and animation that we see every day in the movies, on television and in video games,” Jim Zemlin, the Executive Director of The Linux Foundation, said in a prepared statement. “With the Academy Software Foundation, we are providing a home for this community of open source developers to collaborate and drive the next wave of innovation across the motion picture and broader media industries.”

Photo: Unsplash

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