It’s kind of bizarre to me that out of everything/anything I posted anyone could come away with the notion that I implied or outright posted a potential future commercial Blender corporation was going to digitally crawl into our computers and steal our copies of Blender 2.8x. I don’t think I implied that.
I do still question the long term legal sure footing of being able to redistribute free software after the group that the original license agreement was issued to leaves the licensing agreement and the free software sector altogether. It could be an issue where there’s just not a legal precedent for something like that. A “license” by it’s very nature is a temporary legal structure and not a permanent transfer of ownership.
There’s an old and wise saying in the US, “POSESSION is 9/10 of the law”, so if the Blender Foundation could prove that they “possess” the code/application, maybe not that hard even with all the free help over the years, there could be a problem with the permanent GPL redistribution status in general IF Blender ever went that way.
It’s also possible that since most if not all abandoned software eventually dies and either companies or individuals move on to work on proprietary software maybe none have pursued any legal action to challenge the legality of re-distribution to save costs.
The other thing is that I don’t know that the Redhat business model would work for any 3D DCC application long term. Only large studios really need that kind of A+ support where a company like Blender/AutoDesk might code custom solutions that eventually might filter down into the next formal release of the software for the general content creator. Even then it’s just as likely studios would develop solutions internally. Content creators, software, companies and most importantly workflows have matured to the point where a lot of the kind of customization of an application as support that was critical like 10-12 years ago isn’t really needed as much anymore.
Most people/companies wouldn’t attempt to justify the cost of support if the service associated with it wasn’t being used much. If the experienced user and available software wasn’t that mature for several years already I don’t think Blender could even be at a point today that it’s an option as a tool for some professionals. That’s been the main problem with Autodesk, their apps and their balance sheet…too many content creators dead ended their cash going to AutoDesk after a couple of versions.
Rather then making the application cheaper and/or adopting a “Substance Live” like monthly payment scheme that lead to tool ownership (recently deprecated in favor of permanent “Rental Only” subscriptions by Adobe) AutoDesk went the “Rental Only” route.
Lowering the price to $600-$900 and having a “Payment to Own” option with payments on a sliding scale as low as $10 per month up to full price, with no interest, on a locked price for individual licenses would net triple or quadruple the number of customers they currently have making up for the reduction in price. AutoDesk could then “reset” with the next gen license starting over with the same plan every three years or so. I would recommend this for any company making DCC apps because most end users don’t expect free or even cheap software, but they do expect fairness from companies that choose to partner with them in the process of advancing the development and application of computer generated imagery.
At this point the relatively few contributors compared to the size of the userbase that are paying for Blender to continue to move forward is a problem that’s going to be a roadblock to Blender at some point because most likely more then few of them have conflicting interests which will put blender in the crosshairs of the companies at some point even if only temporarily which has happened with all the other companies that operate into this space at one point or another. The commercial companies have always had their paying customers to fall back on to remain autonamous. With Blender the loss of any significant number of major contributors that is a minuscule would likely cripple Blender or slow it’s development to an unbearable crawl.
I would love to have a conversation with Ton. There’s understandably a lot of infrastructure that will delay that from happening so it’s probably going to take a while.