[Bf-committers] Blender on Windows - some thoughts about XP and32bit

Alexandr Kuznetsov kuzsasha at gmail.com
Thu Dec 5 16:58:53 CET 2013


1) I fully agree that we should stop supporting XP officially. However, 
we shouldn't use incompatible API calls for now.
The fact of the matter is that if someone has XP, they probably have 
obsolete computer, which is at least 6 years old. For 3D graphics this 
is more than a century. They won't able to run Cycles and other powerful 
(but computationally expensive) tools. For this, old versions of Blender 
will suffice.
(I'm installing XP right now. It seems SP3 will be required to run VS 
2013 libs)
2)  I think we still should support 32 bit OSs. Many computers, even in 
recent years , came preinstalled with them. If a computer has less than 
4 GB of RAM (as many computers did in the past few years) manufactures 
usually go with 32. There is almost no advantage to choose x64.
According to steam, there is about a quarter of os are 32bit.
By dropping 32 bit OS, we just create a barrier to entry. How many 
artists will reinstall all programs and copy documents just to try a 
However, I know myself  the pain of compiling extra libs.
3) MSVC 2008.
We should move to vs 2013 by 2.71. Right now, I can compile most of the 
blender with VS 2013 with some VS 2008 libs (with VC 2008 installed). 
I'm busy with upcoming final exams, so I didn't have much time to 
compile all of the libs.
I think we should create a clear wiki page with all of the libs that 
required for blender. It should include the version #s (it's hard to 
search through commit logs) which are the same for all OSs. Plus, it 
would really nice to have a build instructions and configurations. Right 
now, some libs have instructions spread across svn.
The plan looks good.


On 12/5/2013 10:42 AM, Nkansah Rexford wrote:
> Xp support should be dropped. Yes, for real, ASAP
> google.com/+Nkansahrexford | sent from Tab
> On Dec 5, 2013 3:33 PM, "Jürgen Herrmann" <shadowrom at me.com> wrote:
>> Hi there,
>> I too think we should drop XP Support asap. It would make it easier to so
>> a clean transition to VS2012+ without the need of compatibility stuff
>> within blender and its dependencies. Unfortunately I am not able to
>> complete this atm because of lack of time...
>> /Jürgen
>> ----- Ursprüngliche Nachricht -----
>> Von: "Thomas Dinges" <blender at dingto.org>
>> Gesendet: 05.12.2013 15:19
>> An: "bf-blender developers" <bf-committers at blender.org>
>> Betreff: Re: [Bf-committers] Blender on Windows - some thoughts about XP
>> and32bit
>> I forgot to mention:
>> We also only support 4 year old Mac OS versions (10.6 and above) and I
>> am pretty sure that a 13 year old Linux is not supported either.  :)
>> Am 05.12.2013 15:07, schrieb Thomas Dinges:
>>> Hi everyone,
>>> I want to share my opinion about some things regarding Blender on
>> Windows.
>>> Please note: This is just my own opinion and no decision of any kind has
>>> been made here, so please don't panic. I'd like to get the opinion from
>>> the other active Blender developers here.
>>> 1) Windows XP
>>> ======================
>>> Windows XP is 13 years old and even Microsoft itself drops support for
>>> it once and for all in April 2014.
>>> Sometimes we have bugs that only happen on XP, we have some (little)
>>> special code in libraries such as OIIO for example to support XP....
>>> I think it's time to fade out the support for it. If a vendor (in this
>>> Microsoft) doesn't even support its product any longer, why should a
>>> third party do it? Also on a side note, XP has a lot of security holes
>>> by now and they won't be patched. Microsoft itself expresses a clear
>>> warning to users:
>> http://news.techworld.com/security/3476295/microsoft-to-windows-xp-users-your-operating-system-is-a-major-security-risk/
>>> It should be easy to keep the binaries working, but on a support level
>>> (Support in bug tracker, system requirements on blender.org) I suggest
>>> to mark XP as "not officially supported any longer".
>>> 2) 32 bit
>>> ======================
>>> Dropping 32 bit for the Windows platform is nothing that should happen
>>> soon, I guess some people still use Windows Vista and 7 with 32bit OS.
>>> Nevertheless, if we take a look at our minimal system requirements:
>>> http://www.blender.org/download/requirements/ , it mentions a Dual Core
>>> CPU with SSE2 support. Afaik all those CPUs support 64bit instructions
>>> so no new hardware would be required, just a OS update.
>>> Also, there is always Linux, if people want to keep using older hardware
>>> but cannot afford an update to Windows 7/8.
>>> 3) Problems and chances
>>> ======================
>>> So, why do I bring up this topic? This has several reasons.
>>> Developer team
>>> ---------------------------
>>> Windows developer team is quite small already, compared to Linux/OS X
>>> platform. I think we have some devs who develop on it but actual
>>> platform maintenance (libraries, release builds) is done by 2-3 people
>>> max. And I don't think any of us is still using a XP/32bit setup.
>>> Personally I don't use 32bit systems for several years already, and I
>>> would be very happy if someone could take over support for that. It just
>>> takes a lot of time to compile libs (like recently new OIIO/OSL) for 32
>>> bit as well, fix (compile) errors, build 32 bit Blender, run some tests
>>> and make sure it works all fine.
>>> MSVC 2008
>>> ---------------------------
>>> Using a 5 year old compiler is a bad thing. Not only can we get a much
>>> better performance for (Cycles) Rendering for example, by using a recent
>>> version (like MSVC 2012), we could also get rid of some special code in
>>> our libraries and patches which we added just to make it compile on this
>>> ancient compiler...
>>> MSVC 2012 is 20% faster in Cycles rendering afaik, so we don't talk
>>> about some tiny numbers here.
>>> So, why didn't we update yet? Lack of Windows developers and time.
>>> Especially if we have to build/update *all* libs for both x64/32 and
>>> make sure it runs smooth everywhere, this is just a boring task no one
>>> really wants to do.
>>> Jürgen did a great job with his work on vc2012 libs, but I think he is
>>> busy lately and some things need to be finished here still before we
>>> could switch to this for official releases.
>>> Other applications
>>> ---------------------------
>>> Other 3D applications already dropped support for Windows XP and/or
>>> 32bit: http://temp.dingto.org/SysRequirements.pdf
>>> This is of course no real reason, but a pretty clear indication.
>>> 4) Possible plan
>>> ======================
>>> Windows XP:
>>> Blender 2.70: Last version with official support for Windows XP, after
>>> the release we remove it from blender.org (system requirements info
>>> text) and fade out support in the bug tracker.
>>> Blender 2.71 and above: Binaries will probably still run fine on XP, but
>>> it might break at some point.
>>> 32bit:
>>> Blender 2.70: Add a notice on blender.org, that we highly recommend
>>> using a 64bit operating system for best performance and best support.
>>> And again, I'd like to hand over the support for Windows 32 bit to
>>> someone else, preferably someone who actually is *on* this platform and
>>> can test issues as well.
>>> Sorry for the long mail and I hope you don't misinterpret this. I am
>>> very well aware of people living in poor countries who cannot update
>>> easily, but at the same time we also have to look forward and stop
>>> supporting ancient technology.
>>> Best regards,
>>> Thomas
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Bf-committers mailing list
>>> Bf-committers at blender.org
>>> http://lists.blender.org/mailman/listinfo/bf-committers
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