Discussion about Blender, and the commercialization of the Blender ecosystem

The Blender foundation owns and controls the distribution of Blender under the Blender “brand”, including the trademarks and the services offered through blender.org and subsidiaries. Call that “official” if you will, but it really comes down to the brand, not “the code” and not “the software”.

Now, consider the fact that most Linux distributions build their own versions of Blender, perhaps with their own modifications on top. There could be a trademark dispute here, like with Firefox and Debian, who chose to rebrand Firefox as “Iceweasel” for a while. In practice, there usually isn’t, because there’s no conflict of interest.

“The software” or “the code” is a bit more amorphous. Technically, nothing stops a gang of rogue Blender developers from creating a fork of Blender, let’s call it “Shredder”. They’ll take all of the code of Blender, plus some amazing features they added through their elite coding skills. They take full creative direction. This program turns out so successful, the “official” Blender is abandoned and they get all the moneys. Waving the white flag, the Blender Foundation chooses the “Shredder” codebase to be the new Blender and instates the rogue developers as the new leadership.

Scenarios like this have played out multiple times with FOSS projects, due to conflicts of interests, leadership issues, disagreements of direction, and so on. Ultimately, the brand doesn’t really matter. The “official” part doesn’t really matter. The software matters. Almost nobody uses OpenOffice anymore, for instance.

I´m so glad tech ethics exist. Now that we´re broiling this subject, let´s talk about “blender for artists” Bfoa… :slight_smile:

I’d use it, simply to take advantage of the subtle increase in overall inherent radness.


You can say about that fork what you want, but the author put his money where his mouth is. You gotta respect that.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have E-Cycles, a fork by necessity, demonstrating that the BF judgement isn’t the be-all-end-all as far as Blender is concerned.

For the moment, the BF leadership is accepted by its userbase, but even benevolent dictatorships can go awry…


Looking at the thread though, E-Cycles is that kind of thing where you need to keep builds around in so you can for sure have one that is golden (for normal use).

Otherwise, the project shows that optimizations that appear as low-hanging fruit may not be something that is a no-brainer to commit and the devs. are too dumb to realize it. You optimize one area and you could get lighting and shading issues due to how the features are interconnected. The devs. could perhaps fix any issues that come up, but big commits outside of blocking issues will not happen with the team wanting a stable 2.8 release next month.

For 2.81 though, I anticipate some nice Cycles commits will come in from Brecht, Lukas, and others. E-Cycles is great if you want the fastest results, but you take a risk. Better stick to 2.8 master if stability is needed more.

Are you sure it requires “all” of them? There is often kind of a « minimum percentage of right owners » required to take decisions. I’ve heard a lot of “50% +1 person”, or 60%, 75%, … Depending the situation.

As far as I can tell, the general consensus is that it requires all of them, absent any provision that says otherwise.

Also, if every individual gets a vote, all you needed would be X+1 individuals to contribute a single line of code to override X contributors. It couldn’t reasonably work that way.

I think you are correct in that all authors need to agree to the new license. However, if an author doesn’t agree to the new terms, an effort could probably be made to replace their code so they no longer have a claim on the distribution. So i suppose a ‘large majority’ would be required for it to be possible.

This is a core point of distortion and possible inclination of a hybrid system.
Speaking of much larger systems is what happens between National States and Neoliberal Systems. The eternal dilemma between public and private system. (Nowadays is called Corruption, hehehe )

@SterlingRoth :joy::wink: ratman’s protects us

Hey, do you have some facts to back-up your claims? Did you use E-Cycles at all? I have facts that show the contrary of what you says -> E-Cycles producing more realistic and less artifacts than official builds:
Here, 2x faster to render, and correct render on top while Cycles stop it’s path much earlier, giving black blotches

There are also all the cases were the official denoiser gives blotches or has noise still visible, while the AI denoiser is clean.

When bugs are reported, bugs are fixed in E-Cycles and here the BF is not the best example regarding breaking changes with lightning https://developer.blender.org/T54486. 2.8 had broken Subdivision, unsupported instances, etc. for months and still has more than 1300 bugs opened like back in January, because also beta was called in November last year, they kept adding breaking changes until some weeks although “stable” release is meant to be done also in some weeks.

I’m ok with critic but then please bring true information backed up with facts. Did you already had a look to the E-Cycles ratings?


Satisfied customer here. Works like a charm, good service and support #notsponsored
And I only bought into it due to the plan to merge it into main at some point, so blender can profit, more should handle it like this. A good compromise imho.


All the information I get is from reading the user feedback in the E-Cycles thread. I also didn’t say that all your builds gave problems for users, but there’s always an inherent risk of using bleeding-edge branches made by individuals who don’t have to go through the process of code review (as is the case for the development of master). This is fine since in many cases, some of the features may end up in master. Another example is the sculpt branch, some amazing features, but not every build is perfect.

Now of course master isn’t perfect either, but it seems most of the actual shading bugs is with the Principled shader as opposed to the building blocks. You’re also far less likely to run into issues with things like energy conservation and quality if you use BPT instead of normal path tracing (as I have had no real issues with it at least).

Again, I’m not denying that E-Cycles has actually blown away normal Cycles in some areas like performance, and I do realize that some of your builds are of high quality, but you are responsible for making sure the marketing is accurate and honest (not just slick as we see from Intel, Nvidia, and other companies). I would also hold criticism of the BF’s handling of Cycles at the moment as they are neck deep in trying to get 2.8 out the door (as the only things allowed now are bugfixes and resolutions for blocking issues).

The official code review is much more about making the life of code maintainers easy than about checking quality on the user side. Otherwise, their would be much less corrective commits.

So your point is that the imperfection of official builds is ok, because it only bugs for people using principled shader and normal path tracing = the vast majority of the user base but not you?

Again bold statement about marketing:

  • All the bug reports in the E-Cycles thread are much more visible than on the tracker and also concentrated in one thread. For Cycles, it’s spread with every user opening up a thread per bug, asking if it’s normal that xxx happens.
  • All known limitations of E-Cycles are listed on the product page, there is no known limitations information for Blender
  • What I was pointing too (the ratings) are independent third party reviews

Comes from an article at The Foundry. So, basically when I speak, I do it out of facts. Not speculations or perceptions. Reality guides truths.

I appreciate that you do. Just to be sure - I was responding to @Ace_Dragon.

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I second this. I am a bit surprised that this kind of donation / funding system is not more used.

Thanks to services like https://freedomsponsors.org/ or https://www.bountysource.com/ it is already possible.


Feature based funding is simply not sustainable and it is very limiting. Instead of hiring full time developers as it happens now, they would need to hire more contract developers. Though, it is highly likely that more developers would be working on Blender at certain times. However, it would increase the fluctuation rate which was quite an issue several years ago when coders were hired for certain open movie projects only. Several projects were started and plenty of concepts existed, but couldn’t be followed through as the developers could not be kept on board.

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