Guys, Blender might NOT be FREE forever


#81

Then the whole Blender market would be illegal. It’s really just to your customers ^^


#82

That’s why after Cycles was released under Apache it became one of Poser’s renderers.


#83

Blender under Apache license would be cool. No more reverse engineering of FBX for example …


#84

I am just curious, if Blender or open source in general is preventing proprietary ‘state of the art’ techniques, isn’t the same true for if someone attempted to use the same ‘state of the art’ techniques on non open source software?

I’m failing to see why this issue is exclusive to Blender or OSS if a company already owns a patent on a ‘state of the art’ technique


#85

No - the Blender market is perfectly adhering to the GPL license, as long as the plugin owners publish the source code to anyone they distribute to (apparently quite a few people are complaining that is not the case already)

Here is the real problem though: the GPL also grants full distribution rights. Any buyer can then turn around, and sell his own version of the exact same plugin without violating the license at all. Ie: the plugin developer has absolutely no protection against piracy (it’s copyleft: there is no concept of intellectual property having tangible value by definition).

if someone attempted to use the same ‘state of the art’ techniques on non open source software?

That is where you have to “trust the invisible hand of the markets”. As the owner of a commercial software application, it is generally in your best interest to license the use of the best technology available. It goes both ways though : you pay for what you need, but you also sell to others your stuff. The open market dictates the terms & prices. Just like any market though, it is never perfect, particularly when it is dominated by too few players (looking at you Autodesk…). Of course, if you do not recognize that software has intrinsic value, there can be no market.

if a company already owns a patent on a ‘state of the art’ technique

Closed-source code is a weak form of protection for IP, because code can be easily reverse-engineered. The patent system (flawed as it may be) is currently how IP is expressed and protected in western economies. It is also far from perfect, and while it is one of the critical underpinnings of progress since the industrial revolution, there are many areas where the system hinders rather than facilitates the exchange of ideas.

TLDR:

  • there is a place for both FOSS & commercial software
  • viral licenses have a lot of unintended consequences
  • hire great lawyers.

#86

I think we misunderstand each other here, since this is what i said. You need to deliver the code just to the customers who asks for it. Not to everybody. When you would need to deliver it to everybody then the Blender Market would be illegal in its current form. Which it isn’t.

There are indeed a few black sheeps at the Blender market. For example, somebody made a free version of his addon with all comments in the code removed, and even stated it in the advertising. Which breaks the obfuscation part of the GPL. But GPL is on the other hand this washy and imprecise, i am sure they will find an excuse for even this.

And yes, i am completely with you, the GPL is one of the worst open source licenses one can choose. But back in the days you did not have this much better choices than nowadays. And when Blender went open source it was one of the most used licenses for such projects. So i cannot even blame them for chosing this license.


#87

I didn’t say feature animation studios were unimportant, just less important in the grand scheme of each GPU manufacturer’s ENTIRE SALES AND PROMOTION PICTURE, which makes them a lower priority and it’s kind of unrealistic to think otherwise given the fairly obvious disparity of sales volume on the other side of feature animation studio GPU purchases. To be honest even tabling consumer purchase volumes game studios collectively, by volume, are a larger customer for GPU manufacturers then the collective of feature animation studios and virtually none of them run on Linux or are requesting Linux ports of anything.

Even though it seems to upset you, which is not my intent at all, the fact is that the GNU/GPL is actually not a code prison…as in developers DO NOT push the code in a cubicle, pull the gate shut, lock it , throw the keys away into a bottomless abyss of darkness and let everyone access the software through the gate slots in perpetuity. The license is simply an agreement between two parties, which can be dissolved or revoked at any point.

In my second post, I think I prefaced a lot of this with the fact that Blender did not start as free software and that was for a reason. AFIK Ton is not innately of the same perspective as the FSF in his way of thinking…they believe ALL SOFTWARE SHOULD BE FREE. Ton took blender open source because he had no choice.

Back when it was a hobbyist tool only I could see that they could maintain the software under the GPL indefinitely, but I just don’t really see the Blender Foundation/The Blender Institute establishing “Engineering Standards”, connections/business relationships with various commercial entities, taking all of these donations from entities that require various results with conflicting agendas among themselves knowing the software will be used professionally and The Blender F/I not be able to legally protect themselves if those corporate relationships go south after some time. Remember if these companies move to cripple Blender in the future the Blender Foundation can not sue because their donations decreased or because they couldn’t pursue their ambitious plans as a result. Donations/lack of donations are not regarded as losses or even revenue under any law I know of.

Now that blender is commercially viable and receiving the financial assistance from a lot of what essentially amounts to sponsors that will eventually be pulling blender into all kinds of opposing directions and potentially leaving or wanting to leave closed source components in blender to work with their commercial software (like proprietary rendering components) this will create a problem with Blender’s licensing as it’s completely against the GPL for companies to put “closed” components in a GPL piece of software and not contribute the source.

Again, Ton and The Blender Foundation/Blender Institute can leave and dissolve their non-profit status at any time or even have their license revoked for the smallest infraction by the FSF for something like making a partial binary update available with no source provided.

http://libregraphicsworld.org/blog/entry/ramen-vfx-compositor-to-go-proprietary

“All rights granted under this License are granted for the term of
copyright on the Program, and are irrevocable provided the stated
conditions are met.”

Basically the people saying “it can’t happen”…total horse shit it’s been done already. Software always has to meet a specific set of criteria to maintain the GPL license and the amount of .

“It won’t happen” is more conjecture, hopes and wishes but still a little better. If it was a less popular piece of software the FSF probably would have already revoked their license with all the publicly offered closed source software that augments blender. AFIK it’s fine for groups to alter GPL software and sell it commercially, but the code source is supposed to be made available and the only time you can really alter it and not contribute the code is for private use.

At the end of the day if Blender goes commercial it would be a straight forward process of shutting down the free download servers, rewriting the application (which they are most likely in the process of doing now), Possibly renaming it to something like Sumatra (all of the old school people will be familiar) moving all of the code development groups into organized closed servers/ defining their relationship going forward and finally defining how long the free licenses to end users would receive official support publicly and what the expiration date of the software technically is. After all that and whatever period of time after if you were to continue making blender available as an end user or develop for it you would be engaging in illegal use of the software and besides that it would eventually be deprecated through OS updates.

Ton has already hinted at his exit strategy and while I think it was a joke I know it wasn’t just thrown in there because he intends to run the Blender group for the next twenty years. He may in fact know that blender will have to eventually go commercial and is setting up all the infrastructure now, but he doesn’t want to have to be the one to pull the trigger on it. The more employees they get the more responsibilities they will have and the the less comfortable they will be with surviving completely on voluntary donations.

I’m not giving up my copy of of blender, but I can guarantee you that the commercial tools companies will retaliate and to ignore that that is for certain going to happen is what’s unrealistic.


#88

The license is simply an agreement between two parties, which can be dissolved or revoked at any point.

In the case of Blender it’s not just two parties, every single past or present contributor is part of that contract. In order to change the license, either all of the code of those contributors would need to be removed (and all work based on it) or all of the contributors would have to agree to the license change. This is an unlikely scenario.

Basically the people saying “it can’t happen”…total horse shit it’s been done already.

In cases where few or only one contributor had to agree to a license change, because there weren’t any more. Even then, copies of the code or the software that are already released under the GPL will remain under the GPL.

In the extremely unlikely scenario of a Blender 3.0 under a non-GPL license, Blender 2.8x and earlier would still remain exactly as free as they are right now.


#89

I have mixed feelings about Blender going commercial. The big thing I always point to is Red Hat went commercial selling support and some of the other linux distros like Suse - I don’t think it would be unheard of if some form of Blender went commercial if it got big/serious enough to justify it by directly supporting cutting-edge proprietary standards.

Just a matter of time before a some studios eventually need it for something, but needs support for a non OSS standard. Maybe the effort will come from China or another country on the rise with CG productions. Consider that they’re also developing their own hardware and software standards that no one in the Western markets are supporting yet.

I could see a fracture happen in development where there’s a free version and commercial version if they had enough staff to support them. What’s the harm if they both existed?


#90

Unreal is doing exactly this. They support Blender, but modify it for inhouse needs. This modified version is not in the wild though. And inhouse modifications doesn’t neet to stay compatible with GPL. Which would be a problem with paid versions. They have to stay GPL compliant.


#91

Well done @stew


#92

Check the Bcon19 keynote to be informed about what’s the future that B.I. is looking for Blender and how big companies may affect them:


#93

Wow, yeah he is literally saying Blender is now going to become an official formal company with an office, management, business people, employee benefits, etc

This is their Red Hat moment. I’m sure they’ll still release a free version like Red Hat does for CentOS, but for people that want the cutting edge and standardized technology, you’ll have to pay for that verison of Blender.

Pretty cool stuff if you ask me

Smart of him to frame it as “Blender won” by now becoming a real commercial company as I’m sure there are many in the audience who would frame this move as “Blender lost”


#94

Yes.

No


#95

@sentry66 if you are planning on making a living out of content creation, do yourself a favor and take a class on IP law (copyrights, trademarks, licensing, contracts, labor…) ; don’t be a starving artist.


#96

shehbahn,

Thanks for your concern.

I’m not an open source programmer, so some of that the specific details about it I may not be familiar with, however these forums are a perfectly good place for discussion about the future of one of the 3D software in our field.

Copyright, licensing, contracts etc aren’t a new subjects to me. My income and the money I’ve earned from licensing my work over my career has been perfectly in line with industry standards.


#97

BTW Ton practically begs for years for someone doing commercial support for blender, since he stated by his own words that he has no interest in doing that side of buisseness… tell me how well that fits with your obscure FUD theory?
Edit:
BTW2: Blender is a commercial entity since a long time… the blender commercial ecosystem is quite interesting

and btw3: I’m pretty sure there is some liability “misusing” development funds for a “ultra secret commercial blender clone just for the sake of shooting yourself in the foot”


#98

Again, if the license was cancelled and all of the downloads from the official servers were removed there would be nothing officially licensed to download. Any peer to peer trading of software after that would be unofficial and fall under the category of piracy.

The other thing is some people are, I believe, living under the false assumption that everyone that has contributed to blender just loves to contribute years and years of free labor to the project when the reality is probably that if they were offered a fair price for their labor to assist in taking the software commercial they would accept it and “Thankyou, and yes I’m glad my labor is returning some additional financial stability to my life.”


#99

Nope. All code up to this point is licensed under GPL, and it will remain under GPL. Relicensing would not change this, this would just affect future code. So no pirating would be involved since redistribution is part of the GPL.

At Github you can find quite a few actual source code repositories of Blender.

Well, the hired Blender developers are already paid for what they do. Which is totally legit.


#100

[quote=“Imhotep397, post:98, topic:2054760, full:true”]
Again, if the license was cancelled and all of the downloads from the official servers were removed there would be nothing officially licensed to download. Any peer to peer trading of software after that would be unofficial and fall under the category of piracy.[/quote]

No it wont, same goes for the ramen source, the latest gpled source is still avaible at numerous reposetries, wich can be verfied with a simple google search “github ramen”.
Second you cannot revoke a GPL license… you might release it with a different additional license though. wich is possible. Otherwise linux would be taken hostage every 1-2 years by some selfish developer.
Again do some research on GPL and stop spreading FUD. 2.8 is free… forever…as said by numerous people…

And again it makes absolutetly no commercial sense to build up a closed payed source pendant to it, since it would go into direct comeptition with the free version. And you bet there are enough people willing and capable who would copy tons current buisseness model…

[quote=“Imhotep397, post:98, topic:2054760, full:true”]
The other thing is some people are, I believe, living under the false assumption that everyone that has contributed to blender just loves to contribute years and years of free labor to the project [/quote]

A) There are people are actually getting paid.
B) You underestimate the willing of people contributiong to such a project.
C) I think you don’t understand the size of the development team. Here is a list of GIT contributors
https://miikahweb.com/en/blender/git-statistics/developers/
this excludes the SVN contributions wich happens before wich did featured a lot more people.

This getting more and more ridicilous.