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asmartkid

CentOS for Linux newcomer?

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Hi everyone,

I've been thinking about migrating Houdini from Win10 to Linux for a long time (because in some sense I think is more of its natural environment and of course because of performance reasons) and I think I'll finally do it next days.

I'm also learning Resolve / Fusion and Renderman, so the safe bet seems to be CentOS 7, as it's directly supported by these three sets of applications.

BUT i have read terror stories about CentOS regarding nvidia/amd drivers installation hell, old software, not so user-friendly as Mint, bad desktop experiencie because it is server oriented, etc.

I have to say I had Linux on my main machine for a couple of years a decade ago I finally removed it because I really didn't enjoy losing time fixing things after each update (I'm not implying is always like that or anymore, lots of years have passed since then). Also, I think is worth saying this machine is meant to be used only for 3D.

What do you think? Any of you working with Houdini on CentOS?

Thanks! 

 

Edited by asmartkid

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2 hours ago, asmartkid said:

Any of you working with Houdini on CentOS? 

Probably most professionals here. 

1) It's not as bad as it used to be in terms of usability (although there was a major degradation of usability with Gnome 3).

2) There are definitely more user friendly distros out there. 

3) Graphics drivers are the easiest problem to solve (typically solved once and done. Somewhat complicated part is removing default driver for good, making dkms to work, then installing nvidia driver is a breeze). 

4) Bigger problem is oldish compiler and so the libs and tools if you're going fancy with installed tools (basically you have to compile a lot of things by yourself).

5) Yes, CentOS is super stable, but this doesn't have to be main point of interest. Any other distro with stable releases might work for you as well. People here work on number of Debian / Ubuntu based distros just fine. You just have to be careful with updates (basically avoid them). 

6) I would go CentOS, knowing that initially will have to play few hours extra, but it's just a preference of being compatible with my studios' environment. 

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4 hours ago, asmartkid said:

I've been thinking about migrating Houdini from Win10 to Linux for a long time (because in some sense I think is more of its natural environment and of course because of performance reasons) and I think I'll finally do it next days.

The performance will not change. The viewport performance might get worse. Linux is much more manageable, controllable, and it can be easily automated which is the key. Especially if you have many machines on a render farm. I'm not saying you shouldn't move to Linux, just saying that if you're expecting performance gains then you'll be disappointed.

4 hours ago, asmartkid said:

I'm also learning Resolve / Fusion and Renderman, so the safe bet seems to be CentOS 7, as it's directly supported by these three sets of applications.

The only reason I'd use CentOS or RHEL is if an application requires it. Otherwise it's a pretty terrible option. Especially for someone new to Linux.

4 hours ago, asmartkid said:

BUT i have read terror stories about CentOS regarding nvidia/amd drivers installation hell, old software, not so user-friendly as Mint, bad desktop experiencie because it is server oriented, etc.

Install the video drivers through a repository like EL Repo. The drivers from there have DKMS support already configured so when the kernel changes (like from an update) it won't break the system.

http://elrepo.org/tiki/tiki-index.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_Kernel_Module_Support

People new to Linux think they can download stuff from a website and just install it (like you can on Windows). On Linux this is usually a shit plan. If it exists in a repository then install it from there instead.

5 hours ago, asmartkid said:

I have to say I had Linux on my main machine for a couple of years a decade ago I finally removed it because I really didn't enjoy losing time fixing things after each update (I'm not implying is always like that or anymore, lots of years have passed since then). Also, I think is worth saying this machine is meant to be used only for 3D.

Sounds like you were doing it wrong. Sounds like you should use driver packages with DKMS. When done properly Linux is extraordinarily reliable.

5 hours ago, asmartkid said:

What do you think? Any of you working with Houdini on CentOS?

Unfortunately, yes, I'm using Houdini on CentOS but only because I need Autodesk products and Autodesk foolishly supports only CentOS and RHEL. If I didn't need Autodesk products I'd be using Ubuntu, specifically an LTS release like Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

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2 hours ago, symek said:

3) Graphics drivers are the easiest problem to solve (typically solved once and done. Somewhat complicated part is removing default driver for good, making dkms to work, then installing nvidia driver is a breeze).

Good point, the current Nvidia drivers have an option to support DKMS if the system is configured correctly. Some years ago they didn't support DKMS at all which is where my preference to use drivers from repositories came from.

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On 7.3.2019 at 4:36 PM, lukeiamyourfather said:

The performance will not change. The viewport performance might get worse. Linux is much more manageable, controllable, and it can be easily automated which is the key. Especially if you have many machines on a render farm. I'm not saying you shouldn't move to Linux, just saying that if you're expecting performance gains then you'll be disappointed.

The performance does change. Linux has a better memory management and sim times are lower too, as a bunch of benchmarks have shown.

The viewport performance from my experience doesn't change much. I've handled crazy scenes at work under CentOS and apart from the general Houdini viewport hiccups it works just fine. 

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Centos is used in most VFX studoios. It's very stable because it uses stable versions of libraries. That often means - "old" libraries. So things like Nuke/Houdini will run stable as expected.

BUT

as most of those libraries are "old" many new, small apps won't work that easily, some of them even impossible to get working. I've tried Centos myself for 2 years for workstation and laptop and got frustrated that i was not able to install some new apps (like new  version 'darktable' for RAW camera photo editing) - I would have to recompile half of OS for that and would probably break it doing so after.

SO

I've switched to Fedora, which is another branch of Redhat, so same family. Fedora is totally opposite - It's get updated all the time! which is also not that great as you are loosing stability (comparing to Centos). But as that was my home computer and not a corporation that requires to be stable during delivery, I am fine with it and very happy that i did that switch.

Edited by tmdag

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