Autodesk will launch its high-end visual effects Discreet Flame system on Linux workstations this winter, the company was announced. Previously the system, which is synonymous with top-flight effects for films and commercials, was only available on SGI workstations running the Irix platform.

The move is designed to offer more flexibility to post houses, as well as lowering the hardware costs. It is also symptomatic of how far the effects industry has moved on the path from proprietary hardware to more open platforms such as Intel and AMD processors, and Linux.

"The Flame system running Linux is a turning point for the industry," says Dave Smith, managing director at post house Absolute. "Autodesk’s use of high-performance, dual-core Linux workstations provides us with more flexible and cost-effective platform choices going forward."

GenArts has been the first plug-in manufacturer to announce the release of tools for the Linux version of Discreet Flame, launching Sapphire version 3 for Linux. The collection includes 175 image processing and synthesis effects, and costs $10,000 (around £5,600).