Hollywood is suiting up for its latest role in Silicon Valley: open source software. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Linux Foundation opened up the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) for open source software developers in the film industry to work on a "neural forum” for collaboration, according to an announcement Friday. It took two years of investigation into the use of open source software until the ASWF came into fruition.
The ASWF was designed to propel "the arts and sciences of motion pictures," according to the announcement. Open source software has enabled the modernization and progress of visual effects and animation in visual media like movies, television and video games. About 80% of the industry already uses open source software for those reasons.
The foundation has to work to break down siloed development, "versionitis," or many versions of the same software, open source software libraries and governing/licensing models formed as a result of prior mass use of open source, according to the announcement. One of the goals of the ASWF is to organize the building and runtime environments "through the sharing of open source build configurations, scripts and recipes."
The launch of the ASWF is almost like creating a GitHub for the developers behind motion pictures, but open source is nothing new to the film industry. It dates back about 20 years, Andy Maltz, managing director of the Science and Technology Council at the Academy, told CIO Dive.
Film "is the only art form that has a fundamental reliance on technology," he said. The film industry's use of tech dates back to photochemical technologies and proceeds to today's digital image capture.
When GitHub announced its Microsoft acquisition, it was met with skeptical developers. Developers fear corporate influence on code, which is understandable among creative minds. However, there hasn't been so much pushback to the ASWF as there has been barriers, explained Maltz.
Barriers stem from the many varieties of software in use and the number of build platforms that span across projects, he said. But the point of the ASWF is to cultivate "a common software build infrastructure, a common licensing framework and a safe place for all developers to meet and advance the state of the art," according to Maltz. Ultimately, the ASWF will work to break down barriers.
Developers and organizations who can harness the tools that enable software-infused solutions are likely to outpace their competitors at digital transformation. This type of community will help streamline the industry's governance, marketing, compliance and other issues that arise from variations of code, according to Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, in an emailed statement to CIO Dive.