Computer stuff that doesn’t break (quite as often)

When people hear I do 3D animation, they often say “Wow, you must use a lot of software in my work.” Actually, I probably use fewer software packages than most people. All technology is “broken until proven working” to me (see previous post), and I only rely on tools that have passed this test.

Here are the things I’m willing to count on for “mission-critical” work:

  • Linux (including only the kernel and Debian distribution, and excluding glibc)
  • Windows (though not really any version after XP)
  • Mac OSX (as a desktop client only)
  • Emacs
  • Web browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • EasyDNS for DNS hosting
  • Photoshop
  • Lightwave*
  • Pixar’s RenderMan
  • Final Cut Pro*
  • interp, and other software I write myself

* Lightwave and FCP make the list only because I’ve used them long enough to know how to stay away from their significant weak spots.

New things that are probably going to get added once I accumulate some more experience with them:

  • Maya (core features only, and it’ll be a “*”)
  • Amazon Web Services
I do use a few things that are not on this list, but if you ask me about them, I’ll usually say something like “well, I do use X, not so much because it’s great, but because I haven’t found something less bad yet.” (actually my attitude towards FCP is about like this… it’s unreliable and lacks features that 3D artists need, but Premiere and Avid are not acceptable substitutes).

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