Guys, Blender might NOT be FREE forever


Right, but just give it time. This is the start of it.

Red Hat’s business model works and also keeps the open source community happy. It’s the ideal situation for long term stability - active money coming in, and two versions for two audiences.

Natron for example, it still exists, but pretty much died because there was no one willing to pick it up and manage the project. Part of that has to do with the lack of a steady stream of money, but also because there’s no formal chain of command in place to carry on the people management and job priority aspect of it.



I get what imhotep397 is saying. I do. There IS a lot of time and effort going on here. The mere suggestion that these developers wouldn’t jump at a chance to get paid seems a little odd In this day and age. However, as shocking is the notion that altruism exists. People sometime do stuff for the greater good. They sacrifice their time, effort, and a bit of sanity so that others may benefit. An excellent example would be the moderation staff for sites such as this.

Having moderated large sites for nearly a decade, I know exactly how much of a task it can be. Without even trying too hard, it ends up being a second job. No pay. No thanks. Sleepless nights. 10 years doing the mod/admin thing as a volunteer. Would I have asked to get paid or accepted a check? Probably not. No. That’s not why I was doing it. You do it because you love the community and what it represents. You do it for others’ sake. You do it because, frankly, nobody else is stupid enough to. :stuck_out_tongue:

I suspect that there are numerous volunteer Blender developers who feel the same. This is about passion and a desire to contribute. It’s not about money. As we head toward 2020, that seems about as foreign a concept as any. However, some people donate their time and sweat to build houses, expecting nothing in return. Others wait on others in soup kitchens. Being a volunteer Blender developer is probably nowhere near as impactful as feeding or housing the homeless, but the drive and selflessness are still the same.


While i fully agree with you, this list gives a bit of a wrong impression. There are of course a few volunteers that contributed even big parts. The game engine started that way. But it’s mainly small contributions that comes from the volunteers. 98% of the commits and code comes from the paid developers. And this list covers nearly 20 years of open source development. It’s not the current staff.

As a side note, it could be definitely more that comes from the volunteers. It’s not that people wouldn’t want to contribute. But the Blender review system is slooooow. Even a single liner can rot for months and years in the review queue. And it still needs to be accepted then. Blender has produced quite a few unhappy bunnies here over the years.


The GPL FAQ states the exact opposite:

That’s your theory. In practice, my day job is being a Blender contributor, and it pays better than the 15 years in commercial software before that.


You just seem to like to make it sound like a perfect Utopia where all these people are contributing while only some people are getting paid and those who aren’t compensated for their time are happy to not be getting paid.

The problem is with your repository and peer to peer sharing idea even if the GPL protects people redistributing software they don’t control license of everyone would know that the Blender Foundation wouldn’t be involved, the momentum will slow and the direction that was there would be lost. Most importantly there are people that could likely contribute to commercial Blender and get paid even if they weren’t hired while people that would work on the free version definitely wouldn’t get paid.

None of this may happen, but it might and it’s better to at least be open to all possibilities then assume there won’t be problems going forward when you know there will be.


You see, even if the Foundation should get shut down and all developers abandon ship, you as a user would still be better off than with any other commercial software that went the same path. Tell me, how again do I activate my (paid for) SoftImage license these days?


Not being able to activate old software is the worst situation.

I think a hybrid commercial/open source situation like Red Hat linux is the best of both worlds.


That won’t happen, as simple as that, Blender is free and will be free.


They could have a paid for version that isn’t GPL that extends Blender, and a free version that is GPL compliant.

You don’t know the future for certain. Even if you were the head of the Blender foundation and could say so with certainty, someday you’d retire and the decision wouldn’t be up to you.


Ehhhh…Vitaly Bulgarov AFIK still makes XSI work for him. I know a couple of other people that also still run XSI perpetual on Windows 7 machines. The thing is all of that stuff including a potential abandoned public blender will be deprecated by OS updates in time and it’s unlikely there would be unlimited compatibility code work for free indefinitely even if the binary is technically available.


I agree. Once a software dies, it isn’t as likely to live on much - even as open source. The odds of it living on are better with open source.

XSI didn’t have many users to begin with - hence not being very profitable. A low install base doesn’t bode well even for an opensource software


any code released under GPL will continue being GPL and can be maintained, something that cannot be done with Softimage since it’s not open source.

How? No, they can’t but you seem to keep insisting on that and has been already explained that it cannot be done, not that it’s not technically possible, but it’s not actually possible, Blender won’t change from GPL, so no commercial version here, it’s the compromise of the Blender Foundation, and that’s why the foundation is here.

The things said here lately are more fiction than anything based on facts, nothing is written in stone, of course, a meteorite could fall besides your house while I’m writing this… but it won’t happen.


I’m aware of that, but neither the less, if they want to “ungpl” it, they have to rewrite every single commit, or ask for relicensing,

Agree, there is a lot of energy wasted… got better, but yes, streamlining the review should be set a high priority, But then again, (and I still agree with you) blenders code, except for some parts (klike the fluid sim) is quite easy to read, and considering its an open source project its not that fragmented. (Although you defintive have a different opinion with your fork :slight_smile: )


Exactly. Also this can be a stepping stone for commercial work. Or if thinsg work well you might also get hired for some time by the foundation. I like that the commercial and uncommercial side is a bit blury in the blenderverse. And I hope this will be kept this way


Yes, currently they do hire people who have contributed a lot (for free) to the git reposetry.

Yes there are problems, as Tiles said, the patch review system is a bit of a hit and miss, sometimes you can get a bugfix in half a day or shorter, sometimes an often requested features needs half a decade to manifest

Also how well a Management board will work out (in contrast to the “benevolent dictator” organisation style is also not clear.) Also they have to be as transparent as possible if and what strings are attached to the money donated. Like they did with the Epic Grant.
Its not utopia, by far. But locking the code away is the least of the problems the blenderverse has to deal with.


That is no different from commercial software development, with the exception that in commercial software you’ll have to wait until the next release to come out even if the bug was fixed after only two hours.


Ehhhh…Vitaly Bulgarov AFIK still makes XSI work for him. I know a couple of other people that also still run XSI perpetual on Windows 7 machines.

Wish that I could do that, but Autodesk won’t activate my XSI license. My copy of XSI is now an expensive DVD collecting dust in a corner.

The thing is all of that stuff including a potential abandoned public blender will be deprecated by OS updates in time and it’s unlikely there would be unlimited compatibility code work for free indefinitely even if the binary is technically available.

That’s what the source code is good for - I can port Blender myself if necessary and nobody can stop me.


CerberusC, I seem to remember you earlier saying that it would be possible for Nvidia to sell their own version of Blender.

So why can’t Blender create a separate commercial company that sells a commercial version of Blender?

I understand Blender under the GPL cannot. The whole point is they can side step that issue at anytime via creating a new company - which from Ton’s talk, it sounds is already happening.


The real trick is in the “how” of it. The first option is to fork the app off into basic and pro versions. That, however, might turn out to be disastrous in the long run. The second option is to create a commercial Blender that is functionally identical to the free version, but includes enhanced support and training services. I can see that working.

It would effectively paywall daily builds and previews. However, if the long term goal is providing free software to everybody then taking away SOME of this immediate transparency might be an acceptable trade off. As long as, at some point, every user gets the code then I don’t see much of a problem.

Blender Foundation creating a separate company works if they sell service, not software. It’s a situation where they can have their cake and eat it too. Blender can remain free if what the BF chooses to sell in the new company is a satellite to the app itself. Almost how F2P games offer the full app for $0, but an enhanced experience at a premium.


They can, but said commercial version would still have to be released under the GPL license.