[Bf-committers] Proposal for clarified VFX Reference Platform Support

Jason van Gumster fweeb at monsterjavaguns.com
Thu Jan 20 21:38:17 CET 2022

Hey everyone,

I'm not a decision-maker on this obviously, but I have been following the discussion with interest. I asked this on blender.chat, but I think it was after a lot of people had signed off.

In short, it occurs to me that Blender's LTS releases are meant for the same studio-centric userbase that the VFX Platform specifications are intended. Would it be possible to be more adherent to the VFX Platform for those releases, but allow a somewhat less constrained development environment for non-LTS releases? Updates to the LTS releases would still use the VFX Platform specs from the initial year of release, so there's no weird scenario of getting a two-year old bugfix LTS release to align with the current VFX platform.

Is that possible? Does it create a lot of overhead that I'm just ignorant about? And if it's not possible, then who are the LTS releases intended for?

My apologies if the question sounds overly basic, but a bit of clarification here would certainly be appreciated.


On January 20, 2022 2:40:10 PM EST, Scott Wilson via Bf-committers <bf-committers at blender.org> wrote:
>I'm sort of out of the loop, but has there been communications with the VFX
>Reference Platform recently? I think that some of the issues brought up
>such as build flags for OpenVDB could be resolved. I know that as a
>pipeline TD in a studio, having all of the vendors on the same page about
>all attributes of the build environment makes my life much easier. So, I
>throw what little say I have into getting Blender and the platform aligned.
>On Thu, Jan 20, 2022, 11:22 AM Ray Molenkamp via Bf-committers <
>bf-committers at blender.org> wrote:
>> While I do not mind the practical nuts and bolts of this
>> proposal at all, I do mind the language, referring to the
>> VFX Platform as something worth looking at regarding file
>> or platform compatibility is unfortunate.
>> The Platform as is makes no attempt to manage file compatibility
>> throughout the pipeline, the big-ticket items in this space such
>> as USD and/or MaterialX aren't even in the platform, the things
>> that are in the platform, such as OpenVDB that have _severe_
>> file compat issues if build incorrectly do not even have a footnote
>> about it. The only logical conclusion here is, the VFX Platform
>> is a not authority to appeal to regarding file compatibility, so
>> best not to.
>> As for platform compatibility, the messaging in the VFX Platform
>> is confusing, for linux it declares a glibc version, for macOS it
>> declares a deployment target, so far so good, but then for windows
>> it does none of these things, and just recommends a compiler and SDK of
>> which neither determine the OS versions the resulting code can
>> run on, the inclusion of python 3.9 indirectly implies windows 8.1
>> is their minimum windows deployment target, but honestly I'm unsure
>> if even they are aware of this implication.
>> I'd like to see the proposal move more into concrete direction:
>> > Blender does NOT follow the VFX platform.
>> >
>> > - Blender aims be compatible with operating systems VFX Platform
>> compatible software will be able run on.
>> > - blender aims not to break file compatibility for 3rd party formats
>> such as EXR, VDB, Alembic: files exported from Blender should be usable in
>> other software used in the pipeline, and vice-versa.
>> The last item
>> > - Not to break external render engines
>> Is just not something I think we can we can practically commit to,
>> these are generally linked directly to the python shared libs,
>> and bumping python versions will definitely break most if not all
>> of them.
>> To put an end to having to have this conversation every year, I'd
>> like to break the loop with the following text:
>> > Major blender releases will ship with the latest major python version
>> available during BCON1 in its development.
>> My proposal
>> - Clarifies our stance on the VFX Platform
>> - Doesn't appeal to an authority the VFX Platform clearly lacks regarding
>> file compat.
>> - Somewhat commits to running on the same platforms as the VFX platform
>> (as much as it can be deduced from the platform, they are vague about it,
>> hard to make any solid commitments here).
>> - Makes the python version blender will ship with predictable.
>> Note that personally, I may or may not approve of the direction being
>> taken here, but judging from your internal discussions this seems to be
>> the way we want to go as a project, in which case clear language is
>> undoubtedly better than vague commitments that sound nice but may
>> set unrealistic expectations.
>> --Ray
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