Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fedora Core 9 and Maya 2008

So let me first just say, getting Maya 2008 to work with Fedora Core 9 was not a simple process.   It required a lot of searching around the web for clues to various problems I ran into along the way.   In an effort to save someone else the trouble of all this searching, I thought it might help to post my experience, the problems I ran into, the solutions I came up with to solve them.

First off, the machine I installed to was a brand new Quad Core Intel system with 2 Nvidia 8800 GTX video cards installed and 8 GB of RAM.    I had Vista Ultimate 32 Bit installed, but I really wanted to take advantage of the extra memory I bought to use with Maya 2008 which is very resource intensive.   So rather than go out and buy 64-bit Vista I decided I'd try using a Linux 64-bit OS as it was a.) free b.) worked with Maya 2008 and c.) something I've always wanted to try anyways.

I started out by just downloading the latest stable release of Fedora Core 9 from the Fedora project website and burning it to a DVD.    Then, after changing my BIOS to boot off the DVD drive first, I ran the installation.   That's when I hit my first roadblock.    The screen blanked out after the first couple screens of the installation (basically when the installation went graphical).    I posted online for help and was told to get the latest Fedora Unity Re-spin since it was probably an issue with the original release not supporting my video card.   Sure enough, with the re-spin, I was able to do a successful install.

I should note, that being a first time Linux user, I found the documentation on the recommended partitioning of my linux drive to be very helpful.    As I was doing a dual boot setup I was forced to setup the partitioning of my drive manually.    The installation documentation on the Fedora Project website was very helpful in this manner.

Anyways, moving on, the next thing I did was attempt to install Maya 2008 using the instructions provided in the Maya 2008 documentation.   Unfortunately, the instructions were designed for use on Fedora Core 5 which apparently was what this release of Maya was tested with so I had just a little trouble getting it configured.    In a broad sense, here are the steps you need to take to get it installed:

1.)   Log into Linux as \root.    If you are doing this just after install you probably haven't created a user account yet so you can just use the default account (which is root) that you created during setup.
2.)   Next, go into your Command Shell.    By default this is usually the BASH shell, but on the advice of others, I changed it over to CSH (C-Shell) by simply typing in csh and enter at the BASH command prompt.
3.)   The next step is to mount the DVD drive.    For people unfamiliar with linux this may sound odd to you like it did to me.   So although you can access the DVD just fine through the graphical interface, you cannot reach it without first mounting the DVD file system when running from the command shell.    The mount command will look something like this:

mount /dev/dvd or 
mount /dev/cdrom

Once this is done you should be able to access the drive.

4.)   Next, you need to install the proper Maya 2008 packages on the machine.   If you are also attempting to do a 64-bit install as I did, go ahead and use the ones in the maya-amd64 folder (that may not be the exact name of the folder on the CD but it's something similar to that).   Use the rpm utility at the command prompt to install the packages.    There are, I believe, 3 packages you must install, and a 4th (documentation) that is optional.

Anyways, after you get it all installed, type "maya" at the command prompt to try and start up Maya for the first time.    This is the part where I got hung up on the longest.    What was not clear in the documentation or on any one site anywhere was that even though you are trying to install Maya64 on a 64bit OS, the licensing application for Maya requires 32-bit libraries to run.   If you did an install like I did where these 32 bit libraries weren't installed by default, you'll run into errors like...

sh: /usr/autodesk/maya2008-x64/bin/apcw: /lib/ bad ELF interpreter: No such file or directory

Which is basically saying - "Hey dummy,  I need the 32 bit versions of these libraries, not the 64-bit ones!".    If you look at your directory structure, you'll notice you do have this file in your \usr\lib64 folder and nothing (if you're like me) in your \usr\lib folder.

So, how do you get these 32-bit libraries on your machine?    You become acquainted with your new best friend... yum!    Yum is a installer for packages that are located in a repository(s) on the Internet and it will automatically find and install the library you need if you give it the name.   What if you don't know the name?   Well... you can search for it with yum as well.

I'll give you the first two to get you started:

1 - yum install glibc.i686
2 - yum install xorg-x11-libs.i386

How do you find the rest?    Use the handy dependency list utility.

At the command prompt just type:

ldd /usr/autodesk/maya2008-x64/bin/apcw

That should give you a list of libraries that the apcw (your licensing application) requires to run.   Then just use the yum search to get the name of the first missing library on that list and then use the install command to install it.

ex.    yum search glib*.*


yum install glibc.i686

When you do your searches you'll mostly come up with options for .x86_64 (which you likely already have if you did a 64-bit installation) and .i386 which is the 32bit library that you'll NEED to install to get the Flex-LM licensing software to run.

After you get the last dependency installed and your ldd list says all the libraries are there, simply run "maya" at the command prompt again, and this time you should get your license window to begin the licensing process.  Once this is complete the first time, from then on when you type in "maya" at the command prompt you should get your wonderful new Maya_2008 64-bit software to pop up on your screen.   At long last...

Good Luck!