Issue: Volume: 24 Issue: 10 (October 2001)

The Importance of Operating Systems

We all know how great the dynamics of change are in the computer industry. For example, your review author probably wrote that comparative benchmark piece at least a month before the March 2001 issue was released, and he used a system running Mac OS 9.04 for the tests. A month after he wrote the review, OS X was shipping. And even if he had been able to run OS X, there were not as yet many 3D CAD programs optimized for OS X. There will most likely be more by the time this letter is published!

Mac OS X.1 is scheduled to ship this fall. Likewise, Apple is already shipping dual 800mhz G4 workstations. When that combination is available, I think a similar benchmark test-using a 3D CAD application such as formZ, because it runs so similarly on both platforms-would be appropriate.

The cost/performance ratio that your author cites in his response to David (pg. 8, July 2001), concerning Macs vs PCs is indeed narrowing. My guess is that the gap will probably close before the end of this year as additional 3D applications are ported to OS X.

My main point is that a lot of changes are coming, Therefore, I suggest that your magazine continue with Mac vs. PC tests.

Dan Shear
DRS Product Design
Reisterstown, Maryland

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Instead of being uncommitted to Linux, as stated in the article "Linux Invades Hollywood" on pg. 38 of the September 2001 issue, the company Softimage is preparing to offer broad Linux support, a fact uncovered after the Sep tember issue went to press. Be ginning in October, both Soft image 3D and Softimage XSI pro ducts will be offered for the Linux platform. XSI is an enhanced version of the SoftImage 3D program used for character animation and movie special effects. The company notes that XSI Version 2.0 was developed for Linux from the start, not as a port.

SoftImage business development manager Alan Waxenberg comments, "We see Linux as a competitive advantage." Another source at SoftImage says that a request from a major customer was an important factor in the decision to offer Linux-based products.
Image courtesy of Softimage Co. and Avid Technology Inc.

SoftImage parent company Avid, a manufacturer of editing systems, has made no commitment with regard to Linux but is reportedly considering the OS. The SoftImage DS video editing system, taken over by Avid and now sold as Avid DS, does not currently have a Linux version.