31 July 2009

Hell Goes Sub-Zero, Sony Does Open Source

For me, Sony has always been the antithesis of open source. So this comes as something of a shock:

Sony Pictures Imageworks, the award-winning visual effects and digital character animation unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, is launching an open source development program, it was announced today by Imageworks' chief technology officer, Rob Bredow. Five technologies will be released initially:

* OSL, a programmable shading language for rendering
* Field3d, a voxel data storage library
* Maya Reticule, a Maya Plug-in for camera masking
* Scala Migration, a database migration tool
* Pystring, python-like string handling in C++

Imageworks' production environment, which is known for its photo-real visual effects, digital character performances, and innovative technologies to facilitate their creation, has incorporated open source solutions, most notably the Linux operating system, for many years. Now the company is contributing back to the open source community by making these technologies available. The software can be used freely around the world by both large and small studios. Each project has a team of passionate individuals supporting it who are interested in seeing the code widely used. The intention of the open source release is to build larger communities to adopt and further refine the code.

OK, so it's only a tiny, non-mainstream bit of Sony, but it's surely a sign of the times....

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Anonymous said...

This actually isn't the first time Sony has done anything with Open Source, they invented the Collada 3D format which was open sourced, provide tools to install Linux on PS2s and PS3s, run the PlayStation Network atop XMPP/Jabber and the PS3 dev kit runs on Linux.

Glyn Moody said...

I knew about the PS work, but not the Collada 3D stuff - thanks for that.