[Bf-committers] Minimal Blender specs - 5 year old systems & OS

Ton Roosendaal ton at blender.org
Fri Feb 1 12:31:26 CET 2013

Hi Chad,

I don't think this response justifies the careful and positive way everyone who works on Blender is handling this topic. But I realize it might not be well visible whether people who talk here are also contributing to Blender though.

Knowing all of the active devs here quite well, I can only ensure you they're all very responsible, and proud to contribute to a program that runs on nearly everything.

But we have to cope with open source dynamics, which depends on the singular fact that nothing happens without people contributing to it. That's democratic & fair.

For non-developers this 5 year guideline might seem arbitrary or unclear, but for everyone who's been working - especially on support and bugs - it's a growing frustration that we can't help people anymore using old hardware or OSes.

Also... developers and users also want the best product possible, utilizing current hardware and OS developments. To balance this I proposed this guideline, which still offers a far better platform support you'd get from any commercial 3d software. Maya wouldn't even be supported 5 years ago on systems we still do!

At some moment people who are stuck in the past with hardware, also need to accept they cannot get new software for it either. We will do our very best here, but in cases where support is really impossible we can use the proposed guideline to define what to do. 

Also note that effectively, for OSX our support level is less than 4 years now. This is due to the fact Apple makes OSX upgrades available very cheap, so nearly everyone's been switching to newer versions.


Ton Roosendaal  Blender Foundation   ton at blender.org    www.blender.org
Blender Institute   Entrepotdok 57A  1018AD Amsterdam   The Netherlands

On 1 Feb, 2013, at 1:36, Chad Fraleigh wrote:

> On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 8:25 AM, Jed Frechette <jedfrechette at gmail.com> wrote:
>> FWIW, I see 3D content creation as a fundamentally high-end endeavor.
>> Being able to start learning Blender on low-end systems is great. However,
>> I want Blender to be taken seriously as a professional tool, not just
>> something you play with until you are able to afford "real" hardware and
>> software.
> That sounds like a rather narrow view. Wouldn't this be like telling
> musicians that they _can't_ make a career unless they sign up with
> some major recording label that has "real" resources (that then takes
> 90% of the artists' money). It is a good thing those people that wrote
> that software for commodity hardware that does much of what costly
> recording studios used to only do didn't think this way. Or maybe
> start charging $500 for blender to filter out all those pesky users
> that can't afford (or prefer not to waste that much money on) $2000
> "real" systems. This must be the Maya philosophy, given the [are you
> &$^* kidding me] US$3675 price tag (it probably requires $10,000
> hardware minimum).
>> If development is being held back by attempting to support old hardware
>> and OS versions and no one is willing to step up and support those bits
>> then their use should be depreciated.I would much rather see the limited
>> developer hours available put towards moving Blender forward rather than
>> attempting to maintain compatibility with an ever increasing list of
>> legacy hardware and OS versions.
> And if the product _only_ caters to the rich (or "professionals" that
> write it off as an expense) and significantly limit its target
> audience, then interest in development will drop (the nature of OSS).
> It seems part of the issue here is all these generic statements that
> blender should drop support for X and Y, but not many specifics on
> what "development effort" it would actually unhinder (OpenGL is maybe
> the only one that has had some specific reasons mentioned [I think]).
> For example, "Drop XP".. Ok, if support for just XP was dropped, what
> would be different? I mean if I was to go out and buy some $5000
> top-of-the-line system and then install XP on it (assuming the drivers
> all worked fine), then what about this machine would be harder to
> support in blender? Similar vagueness goes with RAM.. the suggested
> new minimum is 2G. I assume this is what the machine has total, not
> what is available to blender after the OS, any background
> apps/processes (and what if one runs a Windows VM on their linux
> box?). So how much memory does blender typically "get" after overhead
> on a 2G system running XP, how about Vista, Win7, Win8, or Linux? Each
> newer OS version tends to use more memory that prior ones for itself..
> so requiring a new OS is likely to artificially "require" more system
> memory to let blender do the same thing. So maybe the better thing to
> do would be state what specific developmental/runtime requirements
> will be minimally supported instead of what some assumed hardware/OS,
> that may or may not meet those true requirements, when blender is
> executed on a user's system. This goes back to my previously stated
> principle of "don't assume just because a system _has_ resource X that
> application Y will get that due to user's choices of how that system
> is used overall" (give or take however I originally phrased it).
> Oh, and when the minimums do change.. would it be better to do it on
> major 2.x lines? So we don't have users going "Feature X in 2.67 is
> great (despite the crashes).. I can't wait for the stabilized form in
> 2.68, the next minor release. What? I can't run 2.6x anymore _with_ a
> stable feature X?!"
> -Chad
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