How is this anything other than a false choice? The things that will make Blender more attractive to “professionals”, however you want to define that, will also make it better for everyone else.
The value of the open movie projects isn’t that they promote Blender. Their value is that they put artists, TDs, and developers in the same room and force them to solve real production problems. I don’t think it is a coincidence that some of the best software in the industry started off as in-house tools at big studios. The best tools are always born in production.
I don’t know I see some very legitimate well articulated criticsims in that thread. I’m probably biased because they happen to align with a few of my reasons for using Blender less than I would like.
1. Poor view port performance.
Assets aren’t getting any smaller and watching Blender struggle with a couple million polys while the devel list explodes at the mere suggestion that support for a 10 year old operating system be dropped is a little discouraging. Meanwhile modern apps like Clarisse are pushing billions of polys.
2. Doesn’t play well with others.
The somewhat unconventional interface and related training costs certainly play in to this but there are also technical difficulties incorporating it in to a pipeline. FBX compatibility has been less than ideal for quite awhile and it is great to see it getting some love. I know there are challenges supporting proprietary formats like that but what about Alembic, Partio, OpenVDB, and OpenSubdiv/Ptex? The difficulty of integrating Blender in to existing pipelines is something that gets brought up fairly regularly on the development list.
3. Fear of removing a feature, ever.
Seriously, have you ever watched a new user try to setup texture painting? Sometimes less really is more.
4.Jack of all trades master of none.
Although I see where the critics are coming from, I disagree about this one a little bit. Although it does contribute to it’s complexity, I think the all-in-one nature of Blender is one of its greatest strengths. On the other hand, there are a lot of areas where Blender almost works great but fails in some subtle but important way. This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if 2 were solved.
Fortunately, all of those issues are fixable and I’m hopeful that the BF will put some more emphasis on them in the near future. Blender is far from perfect, but it is a great example of how good desktop open-source software can be.