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Are there any special considerations to be made when using Blender in Linux over Windows? Specifically Ubuntu?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm running (arch) linux, and there aren't any that come to mind immediately. Note that it tends to run a little faster on linux (I think, I haven't done any actual measuring) ;) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Mar 29 '14 at 22:35
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    $\begingroup$ Can you specify your questions more? Are your questions concerning technical or legal issues? Technical I see no advantage in using Blender on Windows over Linux (especially Ubuntu). I have used Blender for many years on Linux exclusively. Note that Linux (esp. Ubuntu) was also used for open movie projects. $\endgroup$ – user2859 Mar 29 '14 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ I use both linux and windows 7. For me windows 7 runs is better because: drivers are always up to date, more GA builds, in terms of speed I did not notice an real change at all. $\endgroup$ – Vader Mar 29 '14 at 22:57
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    $\begingroup$ Well GA builds are usually no concern for a linux user cause building on linux is a piece of cake anyways. Drivers for Ubuntu are also no problem in most cases. $\endgroup$ – user2859 Mar 29 '14 at 23:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Vader - nvidia and ati have up to date drivers on Linux too. $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Mar 31 '14 at 5:00
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The question is vague, but off hand here are some things to consider.

Compatibility

  • Make sure your hardware is supported,
    some hardware has poor support or is completely unsupported.
    Note: at the time of writing, NVIDIA has much better support for GPU rendering then any other hardware, but this may change with newer drivers & hardware.
  • Path names are case sensitive (if you share projects with ms-windows systems you need to take care of this, since ms-windows is case insensitive).
  • Unlike OSX, Linux doesn't support Quicktime codecs. This means some formats (such as gif) can't be loaded. Though Blender uses FFMPEG which supports many video formats (input & output).

Performance

  • Linux (and associated tool-chain) has been proven to be faster in some areas (many users report faster render times with Cycles for example). But this depends on your exact configuration.
    The ability to run Blender with no graphical desktop to use all available memory can be an advantage too (especially for render farms).
  • Blender for Linux takes advantage of a high performance memory allocator (jemalloc), which is less prone to memory fragmentation, see:
  • Some of Blender's code takes advantage of compiler optimizations which aren't available in Microsoft's compiler (MSVC): (explicit branch reordering with __builtin_expect and more efficient macros with statement expressions).
  • Greater choice for compilers (GCC, Clang, IntelC++) are supported on Linux, but only MSVC is supported on ms-windows.

With the ability to boot of an external drive, you can test how well Linux runs and that it supports your hardware, before installing onto your system.


Notes:

  • some of the advantages I've listed for Linux are also advantages for MacOSX, FreeBSD
  • MS-Windows+MSVC are also advanced technologies and undoubtedly have some advantages over Linux+GCC..or other compilers... (your-mileage-may-vary).
  • The questioner askes about Ubuntu, however this is not really an important detail, (pros/cons apply to other popular distros too).
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Another consideration is that, depending on the desktop environment you use in Linux, some of the keyboard shortcuts for blender might not work, as the shortcuts for the OS take precedence. To fix that you might need to change shortcuts for the Desktop Environment to unused keys in blender (usually the Super or Windows key).

Other issue you might run into is that the versions of blender on certain Linux repositories are not up to date or do not install properly. To bypass repositories you can always download blender directly from http://www.blender.org/download/

Not all distributions of Linux provide the same functionality. Some video rendering codecs are not available on the default configuration of Fedora Linux for example, and have to be installed separately.

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