In my last blog entry I got to wondering about Disney's relationship with open-source software. So, I did a little casual Googling (is that a word?) and found some truly amazing information. Disney not only uses open-source software, they contribute!
My first discovery was the technology site for Disney Animation: http://www.disneyanimation.com/technology/
The site has two sections. Publications deals with techniques applicable to 3D animation. It's pretty in-depth stuff which I should think would be of use to anyone who is working with these technologies. The Technology section has two projects: Ptex, which is a texture mapping system that requires no UV assignment. Pythoscope is a unit test generator for programs written in Python. These are substantial contributions which probably could have been sold commercially. The choice to open them up is tremendous.
Of course, it turns out that this is not a new thing for Disney. I found that as far back as ten years ago Disney donated the Tea Template Language into the open source. It has now been joined by a collection of other technologies which reside at the Tea Trove.
While I don't have any specific information or statistics, I have heard that Disney uses Linux in various places throughout their organization, both on the backend and in a workstation capacity. I'd love to get more details, because I have always been impressed with Disney's ability to innovate. What intrigues me about Disney and open source is that they don't have to use it for cost reasons. They can afford to buy plenty of software. If they are doing open source it means that it has intrinsic value.
I don't have a killer thought to take you home here. If any of you are more connected with what Disney is doing with open source, please tell more.