Why did I create HTTPov?
When I began working on a long POV-Ray animation, I soon realised that there was no way I could render it on my computer. I'd have a chance if I pooled all my computers together, and asked a couple of friends for help, but it would take tremendous amounts of work to divide the rendering into appropriately sized chunks, convince my friends to run them and get them back. How about automatic systems, then? There are more than a few systems out there that are quite capable of distributing POV-Ray jobs:
- (2011-01-01: New URL)
While this probably is a good system, it is Windows only. I and my nerdy friends primarily use Linux or other UNIX-like systems. (The even nerdier ones use Windows systems with Cygwin installed!)
- PVMPOV Now, we may be nerdy, but most of us don't normally mess with parallell computing and stuff. PVM could most likely solve all my needs, but hey, if there is patching to be done, my lazy friends won't be bothered to do it. And I'm lazy, too, and wouldn't bother to bother them enough to make them do it anyway.
- (2011-01-01: New URL)
More or less the same here. It's a patch for a specific version of POV-Ray, and I'm not sure MPI even is in the Fedora repositories...
- (2011-01-01: The author of XRS is unfortunately no longer with us, but the Web Archive has a copy of the site)
Now, this looks cool. But it has one or two drawbacks, from what I read in the documentation: It is a system consisting of one client and several servers. Each server seem to have a local copy of the rendering job, and that is regrettably not acceptable. Some of my friends have their computers behind NAT and firewalls, and making them give me permission to dump files on their disks would be a daunting task.
- POV-Anywhere Initially, this was a system that required file-system access to all participating nodes. The above point explains why this is not feasible. There is however a way to circumvent this obstruction; the E-mail communication protocol. Novel idea, but not really an option in my situation. I did try to re-write it to use HTTP instead, but for various, and now forgotten, reasons, I never got far with it.
- IMPFarm This is a very interesting project. Along with POV-Anywhere, it is conceptually the most HTTPov-like solution for rendering movies. The server source is even available, but I could not make it work, as it depended on stuff I didn't find in the download.
That was the most obvious bunch, I believe, when I started working on HTTPov. I foolishly thought that I could create a just as complicated system myself, and sat down by my computer, with my animation project and a good cup of tea.