[Bf-committers] A practical proposal for the task of re-licensing Blender

Alex Combas blenderwell at gmail.com
Thu Nov 25 21:39:17 CET 2010

On Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 8:55 AM, Campbell Barton <ideasman42 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi, All things considered I'm apathetic towards LGPL switch.
> Its still quite restrictive, and I'm not aware of any commercial
> extensions for blender so far, even though its possible to write them
> without changing to LGPL.
> May I point out that existing blender developers are not pushing for
> this, one might consider if they had trouble feeding their families
> that this would be of interest to them.
> So with a less restrictive license I would write a commercial plugin
> for blender, sit back and earn an income, right?
> The thing is, I don't want to make money this way, even if I could
> earn more then GPL dev. Its just not a fun way to do development, so
> it would make me less interested to be a blender developer if this is
> the kind of people we have to interact with on the mailing list, irc,
> etc.
> I think we can better focus on services and support model for income,
> it may earn less short term but we will have more satisfied users.

Well for a thread which has been apparently dropped it certainly seems
to be an interesting an active topic.

And I must say that when the thread started I was rather unhappy with
the general tone of the responses but as things have progressed I
think the responses have gotten a lot better even though they are
still generally anti-LGPL.

So I would like to reply to this latest batch of responses, but I'm
not trying to reopen the debate, I consider the debate to be closed.

@Knapp. Thomas Prashant Campbell

I completely negative feeling towards the Windows system, that was my
experience as well, and it has also been my experience since switching
to linux years ago that I have felt better about my system not running
on stolen software.

But when you say this:

"Letting people take that community effort and use it for their own
personal benefit without giving back to that same community is a bit
wrong IMOHO"

Artists take it and use it and generally do not give back.
Writers take it and use it and generally do not give it back.
Web users take it and use it and generally do not give back.
Office users take it and use it and generally do not give back.

You are making one exception, programmers, they must not use it unless
they give back 100%.

But what I am saying is that there is likely a group of programmers
who will simply not _ever_ use it if they are forced to play by those

Now ask yourself, why do we release free software for closed
environments like Windows, and Macs?

Is it not because although we do not agree with those closed
environments we know that a good way to get people to switch to an
open model is to allow them use it and test it and slowly make the
change to a free platform?

What I am saying is that there would be two similar benefits to closed

First, programmers who right now would not consider developing an
extension for blender because of the GPL might consider it since they
might view it as an opportunity to make money. Don't be upset with
that view, artists look at Blender with just as greedy eyes, and
similarly office users look at Libreoffice (openoffice) the same way,
it is an opportunity for them to make or save money. There is nothing
wrong with a programmer who wants to make/save money.

Second, if these programmers do develop an extension for Blender they
may become invested in Blenders future, if Blender becomes more
popular then they have more opportunity to sell their extension, so
they suddenly want Blender to become more popular. They see that
Blender has a bug, so they contribute some code to Blender to fix it.
Remember, Blender itself will always be open source, any change to
Blender itself must be made public if any of the code is distributed.

This is what has happened with Linux, do you think IBM really cares
about open source? I don't. I think they care about money. They make
money with Linux and so they are invested in Linux's future, they want
Linux to be as good as it possibly could be because then they make
more money so they have been actively contributing open source code to
Linux for years, and they see their profits go up.

I doubt there is an IBM out there for Blender just waiting to
contribute, but what if there is a single programmer and one or two of
his friends who want to make a small company and they are interested
in the 3D modeling/animation/design industry. Right now they would
look at Blender and say wow wouldn't that be great, too bad it is GPL,
and so then they would go and start working on a 3DMax extension, or a
Maya extension.

It is no problem for them, they can just pick another platform, it is
a problem for us because they didn't pick ours.

The existing Blender developers (see Campbells most recent email) have
said that they would not want to write closed extensions anyway so
people who are worried that allowing closed extensions would somehow
lessen Blender developers are wrong, it would only increase Blender
developers by bringing new people into the market and making them
invested in Blenders future.

I have nothing against a services and support model, in fact that is
probably something I will try to do eventually.

But I want to see Blender become as good as it can be, I just think
this would be one way that would help Blender in the long run.

The better Linux becomes the more people see it as a way to make/save
money (web developers, artists, writers) and the same with
programmers, we shouldn't shut them out.

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