Research paper details history of open source in M&E
March 9, 2022

Research paper details history of open source in M&E

LOS ANGELES — Academy Software Foundation (, the organization that works to advance open source software development in the motion picture and media industries, has released a new research paper that looks at the evolution of open-source technology in the modern filmmaking era. Available as a free PDF download, “Open Source in Entertainment: How the Academy Software Foundation Creates Shared Value” was authored by entertainment technology journalist Barbara Robertson and includes a foreword by the Foundation’s executive director David Morin. The paper also features interview content from 17 industry veterans, as well as rising leaders who have shaped its trajectory. 

“We’re pleased to share the Foundation’s first-ever research paper, tracking our many accomplishments since our founding four years ago and what we have next on the horizon,” says Morin. “Together we are proud to be building both a community and an open source development platform with studios, vendors and developers that empowers filmmakers to realize their most ambitious visions.”

The paper traces the origins of today’s open-source landscape to pioneering digital visual effects and animated films of the 1990s, including Toy Story and Jurassic Park, as computer-powered techniques ushered in a new era of filmmaking. From the earliest days, engineers and developers recognized that open source tools would be advantageous for collaboration and efficiency. Starting with the public releases of OpenEXR (originally developed at ILM) and OpenColorIO (originally developed at Sony Pictures Imageworks) in the early 2000s, open source tools and libraries became widely adopted throughout the industry, and supported by third party software developers.

In August 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Linux Foundation together established the Academy Software Foundation to serve as a neutral platform for continued development and adoption of open source software. Today the Foundation manages 10 open-source projects, and counts 33 member organizations. Since its founding, there have been 54,200 contributions to the open code in 14 Foundation repositories, equaling 3,110,000 lines of code. 

The research paper comes just ahead of the Foundation’s annual Open Source Forum on March 10th, bringing together industry leaders at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures to collaboratively chart the path forward for open source software development.