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odiwxe

Best linux distro for Houdini

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What is the best Linux distro for Houdini to fully function?(Audio,Video drivers,etc, I want it to be stable and doesn't make a mess in the middle of my work) I'm thinking about distros Side FX suggests, Which one do you think is the best and why?

 

Ubuntu

Debian

Open Suse

CentOS

Arch Linux

Fedora

Mint

 

Thank you.

Edited by odiwxe

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i don't like RPM distros , but in a professional context CentOS would be my first choice.

My personnal fav is CrunchBang , debian is also a solid choice so :

 

1 centOS

2 CrunchBang

3 Debian

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thank you Potkonny and sebkaine, why CentOS? whats about it that so many people are using it in professional contexts?

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Because Centos is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for which there exist countless options for support, managed hosting, consulting, etc. The only difference with RHEL (which Centos calls its upstream provider) is that Centos is free.

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+1 for CentOS also especially if you are on Maya and Nuke also as a freelancer. But CentOS will be more pain to setup. I use Ubuntu/Mate , gives me an easy to use Linux and a good old nice interface with Mate.

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I've really enjoyed CrunchBang as well - straightforward to customize, and it's fast and nimble. I'm still shocked at how easy it's been setup for first-time users. Because it's based on Debian Stable (currently Wheezy), you shouldn't worry about things breaking after an update. I did have to change some keyboard/mouse settings, and update Glibc (which applies to Debian Wheezy as well), so here are the notes:  http://wiki.cerebero.com/houdini:crunchbang_houdinihttp://wiki.cerebero.com/linux:crunchbang_z1#glibc, and https://www.sidefx.com/index.php?option=com_forum&Itemid=172&page=viewtopic&p=143326#143326  It's been running fine for quite a while, no problems.

 

Having said all that, I think the easiest to use/maintain overall is probably Ubuntu LTS - and if you don't like Unity, there's always Gnome, Xfce, KDE, and LXDE variants (or any other DE you want). That's one thing I miss, all the useful PPAs folks put together for things like Inkscape, Krita, screen recorders, etc... to easily use the latest version of different software, but keep the core os stable and solid. And the driver compatibility is really convenient - it's especially simple to install Nvidia's drivers.

Edited by goldleaf

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I'd go with Centos, just because its maintained and updated by the group who brought us RedHat, in fact is almost identical to redhat without the branding and logos of course. And a lot of big software developers work and test natively and build on Centos.

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Centos 7

It work right out of the box. Yes it take time to setup some hardware, but most of the time it work. It was rock solid. You could try those super minimal linux, but just my two cent, too minimalists or lite Linux make thing even more complicated. Say you want some package installed or config something. For Centos, there were large support from community, and redhat method also apply to Centos.

If you were worried about desktop environment, Centos 7 can take MATE or Cinnamon.

I'm working on a dual xeon 24 cores, 48g ram, quadro 6000, and Dell perc raid card. Centos work like jet engine, the OpenGL was phenomenon. I have win 7 on same machine and OpenGL on Centos work like 150% Performance compare to win. The memory management was super efficient. For example, with filled up ram, I quitted Houdini. Centos take like 2 sec to quit Houdini and clear memory. Win take 10+ sec or never clear memory.

I would also add that "hrender" command work natively in Linux. No need for Cygwin like windows.

Centos 7 never crashed even once (so far) in my project. Cinnamon crash once or twice, but I can restart just cinnamon without killing Houdini or restart Centos. Imagine, in windows, if your desktop crash, you need to restart windows. That mean stoping the simulation. But in Centos, the beast keep running like steel train, never stop calculating.

Edited by poppy
  • Like 1

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In a studio environment CentOS/Redhat does matter as most server side applications are probably maintained under RH, so by keeping workstations redhatish, you are staying consistent (and avoid potential mismatch problems with services, libraries, shell scripts etc). For personal use, anything that works, works well with Houdini, albeit Ubuntu are much easier to maintain for developers these days, since most open sourced packages exist as *.debs (not so many rpms anymore)... CentOS is much much harder to crash on the other hand.

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Hi odiwxe,

I have been switching in UBuntu and centos 7 recently and finally I decided to work with centos7.

I did that beause Ubuntu is kind of less unstable comparing with centos7. I started to work with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, after a couple month later I did a upgrade on it, and my opengl was killed for unknown reasons, centos does not have those kinds of problem after I updated my centos from 6.2 to 7.

 

Ubuntu has its advantage on software/driver support. You dont need spend too much time to find a software source, it did all for you and you can also easily find out some great software in its software center and install it just by having a click. Installing software such as a vlc player is a pain for a starter in Linux just like me. But if you are starter and wish to learn something in linux, centos is better for you.

BTW, centos require you to install a graphic card driver by your self. I have a tutorial for installing dirver from youtube, this guy did the amazing tutorial for it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap4nyLMTX0A&list=PLYf4Vz9V1ESq7BxYhWDGHWZvT7CfoPDns&index=8

hope my idea does help for you.

 

Cheers,

GU

Edited by GrayHare

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For the original poster, if you ask 100 people you'll probably get 99 different answers. If your only application will be Houdini then I'd recommend Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (or Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS) because it's very easy to setup and is a long term support release. For example Ubuntu has some non-free software in their repositories like proprietary video card drivers for AMD and Nvidia cards (which you'll want for Houdini). Other distributions like CentOS and Debian come with only free software which is a good thing for the free software purist but if you just want to use Houdini then setting up the graphics drivers requires a lot of extra steps (adding third party repositories or creating your own packages with the driver install utilities).

 

If you plan to use other software like Maya then go with CentOS since it's officially supported on that, specifically CentOS 6.2 for Maya 2015. While software distributed as RPM can be installed on Ubuntu and other Debian based systems it's a pain in the butt and not worth doing in most cases. Shameless self plug, I authored some videos on Linux in a visual effects and computer graphics role. If you're new to Linux it will give you a good head start.

 

https://cmivfx.com/store/480-Linux+For+VFX+And+CG+Production+Environments

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I'm personally huge fan of linux. It's best for large scale simulations. It utilises RAM very well. I used Ubuntu, Mint and CentOS. I personally liked Mint's look and ease of use. But I found things break a lot there (xserver crashed, cinnamon crashed blah blah...). After update you reboot your machine and it doesn't work, things get break and you have to spent your full day to fix it. Even Ubuntu have a same update issue (for me). biggest headache in Mint is to install nvidia drivers which is very easy in Ubuntu.

Here comes CentOS very stable but harder to setup. CentOS causes trouble in Krita due to KDE libs and also have problems with the ALSA-mixer because there's a kernel issue.

I don't think that there is any "BEST" Linux for Houdini!
Currently in production I'm using CentOS. For home use I'll recommend Mint and for work CentOS which need tech support. 
Edited by Pradeep Barua

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sorry double post. I'm Having some post issue, doesn't refresh.

Edited by Pradeep Barua

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After update you reboot your machine and it doesn't work, things get break and you have to spent your full day to fix it. Even Ubuntu have a same update issue (for me).

 

When updates break things it's typically from the kernel being updated which in turn breaks any drivers that have kernel modules compiled for a specific kernel version (like graphics drivers, RAID drivers, Wi-Fi drivers). It doesn't have to be like this though. There's DKMS (dynamic kernel module support) which is a framework that enables kernel modules to be rebuilt automatically when the kernel gets updated. This is how the graphics drivers in the Ubuntu repositories are setup so kernel updates don't kill drivers.

 

If graphics drivers (or any other drivers) are installed using the install utilities found on the AMD or Nvidia website they don't use DKMS and will break when the kernel gets updated (followed by angry tweets and forum posts about how shitty and unreliable Linux is). This is a common stumbling block for users new to Linux, they're accustomed to just downloading things from a website and installing them with a double click. You almost never have to do this with Linux and usually it's a bad idea to do so.

 

If you want to get into the nitty gritty of it you can configure DKMS yourself and grab and compile drivers from anywhere and have them work automagically when the kernel gets updated. Though if you just want it to work right and not have to dick around then install things from the repositories for that distribution where they will likely already have DKMS configured for the driver (like Ubuntu). RPM Fusion does this for Fedora and CentOS.

 

http://rpmfusion.org/RPMFusionSwitcher

 

Debian has an unsupported and optional repository with graphics drivers configured with DKMS.

 

https://wiki.debian.org/ATIProprietary

https://wiki.debian.org/NvidiaGraphicsDrivers

 

Last but not least if you want to configure DMKS yourself here are some resources for it. Though I wouldn't recommend doing this unless absolutely necessary.

 

https://wiki.debian.org/KernelDKMS

http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/BuildingKernelModules#head-d313bd351f90d4f25a2143b7bbcff73f927731f0

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DKMS

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