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ASWF & Linux Foundation Launch the Academy Software

August 13, 2018

Founding members include Animal Logic, Autodesk, Blue Sky Studios, Cisco, DNEG, DreamWorks Animation, Epic Games, Foundry, Google Cloud, Intel, SideFX, The Walt Disney Studios, and Weta Digital

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Linux Foundation today launched the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) to provide a neutral forum for open source software developers in the motion picture and broader media industries to share resources and collaborate on technologies for image creation, visual effects, animation and sound.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Linux Foundation for this vital initiative that fosters more innovation, more collaboration, more creativity among artists and engineers in our community,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “The Academy Software Foundation is core to the mission of our Academy: promoting the arts and sciences of motion pictures.”

“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,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of The Linux Foundation. “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.”

The ASWF is the result of a two-year investigation by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council into the use of Open Source Software (OSS) across the motion picture industry. The survey found that more than 80% of the industry uses open source software, particularly for animation and visual effects. However, this widespread use of OSS has also created challenges including siloed development, managing multiple versions of OSS libraries (“versionitis”) and varying governance and licensing models that need to be addressed in order to ensure a healthy open source ecosystem.

“Developers and engineers across the industry are constantly working to find new ways to bring images to life, and open source enables them to ​start with a solid foundation while focusing​ on solving ​unique​,​ creative challenges rather than reinventing the wheel,” said Rob Bredow, ​SVP, Executive Creative Director and Head of Industrial Light & Magic and Member of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council​,​ Open Source Investigation Committee. “We are very excited to launch the Academy Software Foundation and provide a home for open source developers to collaborate​,​ ​regardless of where they work, and​ share best practices ​which we believe will drive innovation across the industry.”

ASWF Mission: The mission of the ASWF is to increase the quality and quantity of open source contributions by developing a governance model, legal framework and community infrastructure that lowers the barrier to entry for developing and using open source software. Developers interested in learning more or contributing can sign up to join the mailing list at www.aswf.io/community.

The ASWF Goals are to:

Provide a neutral forum to coordinate cross-project efforts, establish best practices and share resources across the motion picture and broader media industries.

Develop an open continuous integration (CI) and build infrastructure to enable reference builds from the community and alleviate issues caused by siloed development.

Provide individuals and organizations with a clear path for participation and code contribution.
Streamline development for build and runtime environments through the sharing of open source build configurations, scripts and recipes.

Provide better, more consistent licensing through a shared licensing template.

“In the last 25 years, software engineers have played an increasing role in the most successful movies of our time,” said David Morin, Project Lead for the Academy Open Source Investigation. “The Academy Software Foundation is set to provide funding, structure and infrastructure for the open source community, so that engineers can continue to collaborate and accelerate software development for moviemaking and other media for the next 25 years.”

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