Article about how open source works

I think this article nails the way open source works, in not too many words…

And here’s an interesting complementary article:


Been spendin’ most their lives
Livin’ in a programmers’s paradise :joy:

1 Like

Actually, you can make input, and theoretically you could be good enough to be accepted as a project participant. But, an open-source project has to be professionally managed, like any other software project of importance. Many of the people who work on them today are paid full-time to do so.

“Open source” simply means that every participant in the project is (legally …) guaranteed complete access to the latest source code. No one can put up a fence and sell tickets. It therefore means that they cooperate to construct something that none of them, if working alone (and trying to pay themselves and profit in the “conventional” way), could ever afford to do. This key concept is today at the foundation of nearly everything you do with a computer – yes, even those in “home appliances.” Nothing(!) on that screen in front of you would be there without it.

1 Like

I ever wondered why so many people think that “open source” means “any individual can decide what to do” (even if those one does not have a clue what source is) ??


It’s literately saying nothing more than that: the “source” is “open”… nothing more… ever…


What’s next ? Someone tells what “they should do” and now they owe that one even some money ??


Every time an open sourced app increases some major version some plugin/addon developers are confronted with dozen of “does not work; upgrade please”–requests.

:exploding_head: :face_with_head_bandage:

1 Like

This is a fantastic opinion piece, especially for someone like me that doesn’t understand programming and computer sciences at all (despite my best efforts in my college years). I also took a bit of time to read his musings on why it’s great that open source development doesn’t have to operate on the same “quid-pro-quo” expectations of commercial development or capitalism in general, though I admit I only skimmed the parts I can at least vaguely comprehend since I’m not that great at understanding economics and its effects on our psyches, either.

The latter kind of makes it better to explain to myself why I’m motivated to make animations, even if my pie-in-the-sky dreams of working at Disney despite having zero connections to Hollywood talent past and present haven’t exactly panned out as planned and I have to make my money in a completely separate job, one that requires me to be super strategic and diligent in my free time just to make any notable progress on my solo animation efforts at all. I’m starting to wonder if the only reason I’ve felt the need to make a living with my art is because I grew up with the expectation as a member of capitalistic society that “time is money” and if I’m not making money while working hard on something, then it’s just a waste of time (and potential revenue). This has, in the past, been reinforced by the sheer expense of using 3D animation software like Maya and Lightwave–if I’m going to spend thousands of dollars just for the privilege of making my funny little cartoon characters move around, then I should justify that immense cost somehow, usually by making something that sells rather than just whatever the heck I want. But then Blender and other FOSS programs came to my attention and as I got better at them and less reliant on subscription services or plain-old expensive software, I started asking myself, “do I REALLY want to do art for a living, and make all the lifestyle and creative compromises needed to make that a reality–or is it completely valid that, as long as I make money to pay my bills elsewhere, I just make cartoons in free software for the fun of it, without so much as asking for a Ko-Fi donation in return?”

Of course, this radical mentality only applies when I’m casually making my own silly little cartoons in Blender, in the rare instances where people really do hire me to contribute to a big project idea they have, I’ve learned the hard way that I should not accept unless they accept my terms of paying me accordingly and at least a little bit up-front, since I’m basically sacrificing the joy of making my own little stuff without the pressures of money or the workplace just so I can see my name in the credits of a larger commercial product.

But more to the point of this actual forum thread, both editorials from this guy are good ways to remind me that I’m not entitled to whatever change I want to see in Blender unless I’m actually one of the small group of programmers at the Blender Foundation working on the next release, and while they definitely appreciate the occasional tip from users like me, I can’t “buy” my way into more influence over Blender’s development this way. As a result, unless I become a BF programmer myself and get hired, it’s entitled for me to ask for more than what BF or forks like BforArtists and Goo Engine can feasibly give, and it’s better to work around the program’s quirks rather than complain it’s not “Maya” or “ZBrush” enough. For example, I recently started a forum thread complaining that Blender Cycle’s baking tools are more cumbersome than Nomad’s baking tools, but after getting a bit of a reality check from older users of this site (and to be fair, lots of Blender simps who were mad I suggested a highly-specialized, paid commercial software might have more polished and user-friendly tools than “jack-of-all-trades” Blender), I just accepted “jack of all trades” Blender requires me to work in a different way and have since learned to use Cycle’s complicated baking tools to my advantage, not my frustration–it’s just different, is all. I would like the BF to make baking more intuitive in the future, but if it’s not the BF’s priority, then I might as well just adapt to what I’ve got now.


Well said! :+1:

This is a good article, thanks for sharing this is very informative.

1 Like

There are notable “very good managers/executives” in nearly every project – including Blender (“Ton”). There has to be someone minding the ship. And many other officers to help him/her.

The only thing distinctive about an “open source” project is that the most current source-code is instantaneously available (“open”) to everyone. Otherwise, “it’s a [massive …] software (!) project,” with every single thing (technical, and human …) that such a thing entails. It must be well-managed at many levels (at once), in a well-organized and smoothly-running [international …] team. There are many unsung roles that you’d never see or notice – unless they weren’t doing their jobs.

“Blender” stands out in the crowd as being an extremely ambitious and well-managed project. Which consistently produces releases of very high quality and stability across multiple platforms. Trust me: this isn’t easy! “We are all so spoiled …”

And, by the way: "this also takes real money." When invited to donate to the Blender Foundation, do so …


However, when you have a donation system in place that can potentially go up to thousands of dollars in monthly subscription costs, I do not think it will sit well with some donors if they found that the BF does not have a development team in a traditional sense, but rather they are subsidizing hobbies on the off chance their bet pays off in terms of getting the functionality they need.

Now I am not saying that the BF does not take user feedback seriously (the current sculpt work is a good example of them listening to the userbase), but before that team was put together, we had announcements from people saying they stopped their donations because it was not bringing any returns for their own productivity.

And before anyone brings up the subject on donating purely out of goodness, a donation to help fund the development of computer software has no relation at all to a donation for places like the local food bank or homeless shelter, and so a comparison should not be made.

Anyone is free to pay a developer directly to get what they want… so this would be a four digit amount per month and for some month… or build up a group of people who want this. I’m not sure of what people you talk when they do have such specific requirements and get blender already for free.

And your suggestion about:

is a bit arkward because one is a :

  • donation and the other is
  • payoff for some specific wanted work.

You properly to not suggest that the whole development team should do as someone says who donates for example a onetime 3 digit amount starting also with one of the lesser digits ??

Functionally, many of these developers are paid staff, earning competitive salaries to work on an “open-source” project. Your contributions, among many others, help to pay those salaries.

And, “project management” determines the priorities of “what gets worked-on next.” (If such things were determined simply by “who threw the most money at it,” there would be chaos.) At the end of the day: "this is a software project." A very big and important one. But the principles of effective project management have not changed by the status of “the source-code.” They have a product to produce, on a regular basis, for all of us. (And, they do!)

“Just Google® It.” Plenty of material has been written about “open-source projects,” with plenty of “lessons learned.” Both for individual contributors, and for project management. But, there must be “management!”

I think I get it. You can’t “nudge” the Blender Foundation to work on something you think they should work on, but it still helps a ton to give them donations whenever you can so that they can afford to make humble Blender compete with the likes of Autodesk in the first place!


An interesting complementary article:

1 Like

Hmm, that was an interesting and sobering article, considering my own political views. Yeah, maybe ideally we shouldn’t have to compete with the Googles and Microsofts and Autodesks of the world in the first place because they got as big as they are at the expense of our environment, civil political discussion (especially in the United States) and our general sense of privacy and control. Really complicates the decision whenever I feel a need to throw a few bucks Blender’s way…

1 Like

To me, Blender isn’t really “competing with” any of these products. And, in a certain way, even the commercial products aren’t competing with each other. Companies necessarily standardize their workflows around one product – which now could well be, “Blender” – and thereafter they are not going to “switch.” The business risk of doing so is unjustifiable. They’ve picked their Devil.

So, except for brand-new entries into the business, “'‘Maya’ competes with ‘Maya.’” And, so on.

As for “Blender”: there’s probably no better way of introducing people to “3D graphics,” and of enabling them to begin to train themselves on the intracies of this arcane craft, than to support an open-source project that actually (and, very thoroughly …) does it. “Zero financial barrier to get started, and to then go a long way if you are determined to.”)

Yes, “the industry” does “support Blender,” and they know exactly what they’re doing and why.


In an aesthetics class a professor mentioned Warhol, saying that we should not see him as a simple “contemptor of consumption”, simply because we saw through him lots of soda bottles, Marylins, dollars… He said that this artist’s relationship with these traits of his time was more of a mixture of “attraction-repulsion”. Some apologies, but, I feel a bit of that in my relationship with digital (the comparison with Warhol stops there: not making me say what I don’t say). The screen burns my eyes; It seems that my anti-blue light protections are a decoy; the hours of sitting hurts my vertebrae; the few illusions that I harbor will perhaps never go further; I am eternally dissatisfied with the capabilities of my machine when the rush to spend makes me bitter as much as it dissatisfies me; I burn calories in the gym, to compensate, while thinking about those absorbed by my machine making some “This is not a pipe” under pixels; all this, while having thoughts about these “paradigms of the time” bursting through the screens of the news (“climatosceptiques?” or “conscious pragmatists”, etc) and incidentally having to form me some “political opinions” (in the absence of “economic certainties”?). And sometimes I have to consider myself relatively “privileged”.
~ ~ ~
“Democracy”…? I thought I understood, already, that the very idea of ​​"free will" have been relatively seriously challenged: “in philosophy, psychology and neuroscience”, this free of charge AI tells me (which I don’t have the knowledge of its compilations method).
My apologies if I seem irrelevant but, after all, the term “democracy” seems to be in the question. To finish derailing, if necessary, I can allow myself to repeat this sentence which has obsessed me for some time, coming from an ironic humorist who was considered to be witty: "It is not enough to be happy . The others still have to be unhappy.”
This is the main pitfall I see. A pitfall in the species itself, if one is allowed to express it in this somewhat embarrassing manner.
I hope this isn’t completely irrelevant. Not without fearing at least a little about your reception of the whole thing. Protean smiley.

1 Like