[Bf-committers] extension clause

Jeroen Bakker j.bakker at atmind.nl
Sat Nov 13 09:32:23 CET 2010

Hi David,

I can only give you a technical and a community viewpoint on this. I am 
no professional on GPL-licensing.

I see some community-'issues' with this.
  * The benefit for Blender community is better adoption. (in business 
terms a weak benefit)
  * You propose Blender community effort is needed (designing and 
developing C-extensions and licensing, perhaps support, documentation etc).
  * Commercial parties will benefit. (sounds like better benefit than 
point 1)

I think this might only be realistic to do from a Blender-network kind 
of thing, but you always need a company who wants it (who is willing to 
invest in it or take the risk). Do you have contact with such a company?

IMO the C-extension for commercial purposes should be developed by a 
commercial party and not by the OS-community. You can even think of 
releasing only this part under an GPL license.


On 11/13/2010 08:35 AM, David Jeske wrote:
> I understand I'm following up on a discussion from last month. I think it's
> an important one. There were many good points raised about the license
> requirements for extensions. I hope these additional thoughts are a well
> received.
> I think it will benefit the Blender community if commercial companies can
> use Blender as a replacement for commercial tools. In order to do this, it's
> often necessary for them to link propritary code in as extension modules,
> and make use of them deeply in their rendering and/or asset management
> process. This discussion brought up the point that it's "probably fine" to
> write propritary extension modules, especially if it's done in the privacy
> of a company. However, please understand the conservative environment of
> corporations. All corporate council I'm aware of will advise against
> linking proprietary code to GPL code as a potential GPL violation. This will
> make it an un-viable corporate risk. Or put differently, the legal safety of
> commercial alternatives is simply worth too much. Which means they will use
> commercial tools instead of blender. Which is a lost opportunity for the
> adoption of excellent users that would help advance blender.  "truly free"
> open source tools like Python are more accepted in corporate environments
> for this specific reason.
> I think it will benefit Blender's adoption substantially if the Blender code
> licensing is structured in a way to make it very safe and indisputable that
> it's okay to build closed-source extensions with proprietary code.   I
> understand it may be important to draw this line carefully. In my opinion it
> will be worth the effort.
> I don't know the blender community or blender foundation position on
> for-sale binary extension modules for Blender, and I understand this may be
> a tricky issue. However, regardless of the stance on this, I think it will
> be of great benefit if companies feel safe in linking their own code with
> blender inside their own environment. In my experience, this is not
> generally accepted as a valid thing to do with GPL code and the current
> interpretations of the GPL.
> I understand this also may not be the biggest priority at the moment, but I
> think it's an important issue that deserves some serious consideration.
> Thanks again to all of you for helping to make Blender such a great
> success!
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