what will it take to get derivative to make TD for linux?

4 years ago mac TD was a distant dream, but we have it now. For…reasons? In the absence of mac hardware that is capable of delivering large scale touchdesigner shows, it seems to largely be a move to cater to expanding the userbase to new users (a good thing) rather than increasing our options for show delivery (an important thing). Meanwhile windows continues to get worse with forced updates and annoying bugs. Linux support of nVidia GPUs is wonderfully functional these days and works fantastically for heavy duty tasks with things like tensorflow and pytorch. Windows 10 is getting worse rather than better, and we can’t crutch on windows 7 forever. Linux is in my opinion the best bet for being able to build media servers without bloat that is at best annoying and difficult to remove and at worst show-stopping and impossible to get rid of.

Someone will say it’s not that bad, or point out the things you can do to get w10 to work okay, but is polishing that turd the best we can hope for? w10 LTSB has seemed like a viable option, but even that is a huge schlep to get a hold of what is likely a questionable license for most people to obtain due to the restrictions in place.

If we had linux touchdesigner, there would be the option to run stable minimal systems with only exactly what we need and nothing to screw with the ability to deliver shows. No junk, no cruff, no forced updates because you hit the wrong button or rebooted the computer during load-in.

I think linux support is the ultimate ideal for touchdesigner media servers, but what will it take for derivative to decide to make that a reality?


I totally agree on this.

Stability is key to success and also most important element in “realtime” oriented business. I believe having stable operating system and hardware is a must when it comes to working with realtime graphics.

Unfortunately I don’t think Windows or Mac can compete with Linux when it comes to stability. I believe Windows got to a point where it could be described as some kind of a sophisticated spying tool + operating system that configures and does many things in background without user ever knowing what is really happening. User only have to be patient and wait some time when system decides to start updating to a version that breaks some stuff…

There is one thing that I learned over the years… You either use Windows or Mac and sometimes it makes you bang your head against the wall because something important does’t work and you can’t control or change it. Or you use Linux and sometimes it makes you bang your head against the wall when something important doesn’t work - but it happens just because you (or your admin) haven’t spend enough time configuring it the right way.

When someone says “realtime graphics system”, first association that comes to my mind is literally some “rock solid” RHEL server running stable for years delivering content without single issue. System like RHEL is very boring. You set it up properly and it just works. No surprises. Not like for example Apple that decides OpenGL is old and will be deprecated in future releases (and forces Mac developers to use Metal). That is kind of a unfortunate surprise… I don’t understand why Touchdesigner’s primary development is not focused on porting it to Linux. It believe it should be first choice when it comes to choosing operating system for tasks Touchdesigner is excelling at.

I know it is a lot of work, but Touchdesigner is probably the only software of its kind that could possibly do this since it uses OpenGL and therefore it is not locked to any platform. I believe porting it to Linux would make it more usable to many high-end productions. (Just as a side note - coming from VFX background I can honestly say that every good VFX house [where is stability and performance also extremely crucial] uses Linux on its machines.)

Please consider supporting Linux, thanks.

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Oddly enough, as one of the main proponents of “stick to a single OS plz” in the past in regards to macOS, I fully +1 this. All the points mentioned are extremely valid. I’ve only seen Linux adoption continuously grow, especially in gaming lately with efforts such as Steam Proton.

Personally, I’ve switched over to using Linux full-time, TouchDesigner and Adobe CC being the only apps that keeps me tied to Windows install.

An approach similar to DaVinci Resolve could be useful, in that one main OS could be supported, such as Ubuntu since it’s super popular, and then the .deb can be unwrapped and wrapped again as .rpm and etc for other distros.

I’d get on a monthly sub if there was a Linux version!

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+1. Derivative is working Vulkan support right now --the way I see it they should finish that first, then add Linux support (with or without “legacy” openGL.) cheers.

same, and my life has improved as a result. If it weren’t for touchdesigner I’d essentially never need to boot a windows box.

Agreed on at least just building for ubuntu. There are people that would take issue with that for valid reasons, but it’s a start and I think the community at large would have an easy time adopting ubuntu without much fuss. Imagine eventually being able to have a community linux distro that has been trimmed and tuned for touchdesigner media servers and just works. We’ve got an incredible talent pool whose efforts in that area would be well utilized.

But thats why my post originally asks, what would it take? Maybe if enough support hours get pooled we can just get it that way :laughing:

Definitely a +1 as well, even though I guess it’s quite a “feature request”
Would be amazing to be able to control your patches remotely with a command line interface :slight_smile:

That sounds like a separate second RFE? Not sure how it would look, but you could prototype it now using scripts that communicate with OSC or UDP In DATs. Ha, we have certainly come full circle when people are asking to throw away the UI and give them a command line again :laughing:

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I must say i agree with everything said here.
Linux could be such a nice platform for Touchdesigner projects : stability, efficiency, customisation, choice of hardware…

I work with artists on museum installations and concerts : Windows is powerful but unpredictable and bloated with lots of unnecessary apps and services. I am just having right now a Windows PC running TD for a video installation for 3 months. This installation has been running ok for 2 months but 2 weeks ago the video started to randomly stuttering.
it turns out that even if I turned off all updates, I found updates from a week in the history and i come to tell me that it is not foreign to my recent issues. Mac is used a lot but hell, performance and customisation is really becoming a pain (and expensive !)…

I used to work in the film industry and i must say you can see Linux everywhere in the pipelines ! from vfx software to (3D, compositing) to post processing (editing, grading…) and even workflow tools

I am no coder so i can’t tell what would it take to get the port right, but seeing others have already ported their tools to this platform i assume there is a way !

So yes, you have my vote for a Linux port !

haha I read my post again and indeed it sound ridiculous :smiley:. Definitely didn’t mean to throw away the UI, more like to be able to login into a remote machine and fetch/control it quickly (instead of having to use teamviewer or something).
Sure this can work with an own build OSC control system, but that’s something different in my opinion. (What if you want to update that OSC control system remotely?)

But besides that, definitely great for stability and use in small machines.

+1 here’s hoping with patience and optimism. :slight_smile:

it must be pretty frustrating for derivative to have worked to put together the resources to provide and support a macOs port, only to have apple decide that making phones matters more than computers.

interdisciplinary media programmers generally need to keep PCs around to support platforms like d3 and notch but, it would be amazing to use linux as a custom solutions deployment OS.

linux is such a community-centric OS. it would be fun to see the TD community work together to crowd create solutions like usb-bootable OS images that are optimized for TD.

As a Houdini user, I hope

… for over 18 years?

Would be awesome to run TD on low power devices like Nvidia Jetson Nano!

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I would like a Linux port, plus other enhancements necessary for rendering to be done remotely in the cloud; the intention would be for remote devices like phones and tablets to be used as the UX surfaces. Multiuser capability would not be required if unique instances could be assigned per user.

One more +1 support for a linux port.

Another +1 for a linux port.

+1 for a Linux port, as a long time Linux user I’ve ever suffered the dual boot syndrome.
I’ve started making music and digital art on Debian and I frankly can’t wait to get rid of W10 foverer without missing my fav commercial software.

To rephrase the OP message “What will it take to get derivative to acknowledge this thread?”

Firstly, TD is a fantastic product I’m falling in love with! It’s convinced my to get my first windows laptop since giving up M$ on win 95… Got 10x the GPU power of my macbook pro (which I only had because of BSD unix underneath and frustrations with linux lappy support in the past) for far less money than a Mac replacement, but has reminded me why I left windows (stability, lockups, inane reboots, system updates, poor scheduling, poor task management and transparency, wildly fluctuating CPU usage at idle etc etc etc), and why the OS isn’t really suitable for TD. Particularly for leaving running on site for say an art project.

To make the point -

  • TD needs hefty GPU power… OSX makes that a major rip off and drastically limited choices
  • TD needs reliable OS with low, predictable overheads, and a good scheduler (that’s windows out…)
  • Embedded/on site stuff ideally would require repeatable, custom headless builds with stripped down OS’s, remote management, full command line control of the hardware subsystem etc, and that can run stable without memory leaks indefinitely (i.e. OSX nope, Win nope, Linux hell yeah)
  • Solid, best of breed python support (umm, linux…)

Perhaps Derivative could consider open sourcing some low level part of TD so that hackers could help solve this for them? Or at least engage here and help us understand what the issue is? (nvidia drivers maybe?)

So another +1 for linux, and looking forward to seeing more than just people explaining why we need it here. I think if it’s doable, it’s very much win/win for TD, and if it’s not, I’d love to know why not so I can let it go if I really need to.



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Besides stability another argument in favour of Linux is performance as well as compatibility with the vast majority of vfx pipelines.
Coming from Houdini on a dual boot system my simulations and GPU renders are routinely anywhere from 15 to 30 % faster on the exact same hardware. Something to do with faster memory addressing I think.

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+1 would appreciate linux version as well, hope it helps to name it here … i wouldnt buy one way macbooks where its not possible to change ssd or battery (actually im fine with HP zbook) and even if the new macpro seems to be beautiful designed - i got more power for a third of the price with threadripper (and i would generally pay a bit more for the apple tax - but not 3 times more for less power for sure …
only disadvantage is windows which is ugly and sucks - Linux is soo good nowadays, even easier to install than windows - please make a linux derrivate !

+1 for Linux. The rest of our dev team uses Ubuntu by default and it’s often difficult to get buy-in to set up a windows machine for any permanent install. Windows might make sense for performance or one-off situations, but for permanent installs Linux is the better option. Especially with things like nvidia-docker, it makes it much easier for us to push changes and manage TD projects the same way that we manage all of our other software.