I don't fully understand the logic behind Retopoflow being GPL..

if a buyer can freely distribute it for free then what’s the point of buying it in the first place

This sort of confusion makes me feel guilty for downloading the github version… Feels like I pirated something

…but at the same time, the license allows it

Why not just label the “Buy now” button as “Donate”
or just make a “Retopoflow Pro” version that you can buy

Right now it just feels a bit morally grey as I can’t really afford it(the price is fine for a 3d tool btw, 71$ isn’t expensive by any stretch of the imagination)

but I do really want it and it’s GPL and…

I’m just really confused

It’s GPL because if you have the chops and the skills you can look at the source code and improve upon it. You are then free to give that modified code away for free or sell it if you want.

It is my understanding from reading the GPL license is it’s main goal not to make software gratis but to give you the freedom to modifier and improve on the program that you get. Free as in speech not as in beer.

Plus unless I misunderstood the Blender FAQ any add-on that make use of the Blender API has to come with license that is GPL friendly. So I think that only leaves you with one of the more permissive free licenses.

You are not doing anything wrong with getting the code off github because I believe that is what the creators of the add-on put it there for. Otherwise they could have just as easily on given the code to only people who brought the add-on.

The thing it´s that by purchasing the addon you gain access to support and updates.

By purchasing it, you get the free updates and news, but you also get to contribute solidly to the further development of the addon and support for future blender releases. This last part is something not all addons achieve, so by buying it I feel like I helped further it along. Same as when I donate to BF.

In that case I’ll consider buying it twice in the future :slight_smile:

I´m not really sure what the issue is. You pay for support and future development. Obviously it´s not hurting their business model, as retopoflow is the best selling add-on on blender market, because it´s a great add-on and with great support…

Since it links to the blender code, it has to be GPL. Any and all blender addons have to be GPL compatible due to the nature of the license.

Not me, I’ll just grab it off GitHub, thank you very much!

i grabbed it off of git hub myself because i don’t currently have the funds to buy it and because i wanted to check it out before dropping that much money on it.
i gotta say though i do think i will be purchasing it in the future when i can afford it because it really is a fantastic, well made, and very useful/need meeting add-on.

If I’m correct the addons use Python and does not have to be gpl unless they touch Blender’s source. ( use of the python api is not governed by the gpl )

If the python script calls the bpy module, it must be gpl. Python scripts are covered by gpl. If it doesn’t link in bpy, then I believe you can get away with it, but you can’t make an add-on without bpy.

Paid addons / tools that are built on top of Blender (or any other GPL project), are very limited in their ability to release a closed source product by design. GPL’d software is generally designed so that you really can’t legally do it in most cases. So that gives a developer with commercial intent two options: 1) don’t release their modifications (hence, never triggering the GPL) or 2) release it as open source but requesting payment. The second option gives anyone the benefit of being able to try before they buy if they want with the developer’s hope that they will find enough value in it to pay for it even though ‘technically’ they don’t need to since they already have the software. It can also benefit the developer in terms of building a name for themselves and generating other new business.

So essentially its like trying to run a restaurant on the honor system. If enough people like what they are doing, they’ll enjoy the food and at the end pay because they’d like to dine there again. Some people will just say ‘thanks for the free food’ and leave while others will say ‘not interested’ and walk on by. Some might pay (or not) and say ‘hey, this is great… do you offer catering services?’. And yet others might say ‘this was great, but I have no money… let me help out a bit in the kitchen’. (replace dining/food with upgrades/support and you get the idea) You just need to ask yourself if you value the work they’ve done and if so, which group of patrons you want to be associated with…

GPL does not obligate someone to put their source code openly on Github or anything else. CgCookie just chose to so that people could pull it off GitHub for free. I did the same as well, no money here :frowning:

The GPL does state that the code must be freely available whenever it is made available to the public, and people who make addons and scripts for use with Blender don’t really have a choice. The BF was actually wrong about the idea that you get licensing control over your scripts because it’s not officially considered output or ‘data’.

In a sense, this is one reason why the only real direction for Blender as a viable application is to provide the entire 3D pipeline in one spot (because the only time you can have a truly robust I/O system is when it connects to another free application). I know that there are some alleged workarounds but such a thing either needs to be a system that has to be developed first or is something that has a bit of legal confusion with it.

The only way you can have a truly secure system where people have to buy your plugin is to either abandon Blender and start making plugins for Modo or Maya or make your own standalone application that uses a GPL-compatible format for import and export. This is something that even a fork of Blender can’t fix due to how difficult it would be to re-license and the only other way is to make a new open source 3D application from scratch.

All in all though, the fact is that a lot of people in the FOSS community are notoriously cheap and will get something for free when possible, if you want big money in plugin development then you need to just forget about FOSS.

Damn, you managed to discourage some perople’s moneymaking dreams and insult the FOSS community twice, all in the space between two periods. Congratulations xD

PS: I tought GPL only meant that you can’t distribute binaries without source, which wopuld you must give the source to those you sell the software to (ie, by bundling it on the CD), but you aren’t actually forced to share it with EVERYONE.

PPS: Still, 44.7% of me would feel like saying that i’m wrong, since i haven’t read the GPL license recently and i’m using some far and probably distorted memories i have.

Nope, you don’t even have to automatically share it with ANYONE. (the GPL gives people 3 options, 2 for commercial distribution and only one of them is ‘include the source code’) You do need to offer to distribute it to anyone you’ve distributed the binary to at ‘cost’ (in quotes because imagine the costs one can pile into things like shipping and handling etc.) The reality is that in general the best one could hope for is to put the screws to a handful of people (because one of those people could and would likely publish the code themselves which is perfectly legal) before the ill will negates any profits so its better from a goodwill / reputation standpoint just to put it out there or charge a not-too-crazy fee for the source code. There are numerous cases where companies people have heard of drag their feet re: compliance (a lot of the ARM SoC vendors are playing games right now, it used to be the router companies like Linksys/Dlink but they’ve gotten somewhat better over the years, Tivo, etc)

I said a lot of people, but this by no means is a generalization of the entire community.

That said however, it’s a fact that only a small fraction of Blender users with a reliable income step up to the plate in helping to fund the development of Blender (the same with funding development of pretty much every other FOSS solution). Some will even go as far as to purposely avoid reporting bugs and other issues to the development.blender.org tracker (which if you’re not going to donate, you can at least do this as it won’t cost you anything other than a little time).

That is not strictly true. The GPL requires that the source code must be freely available to those you distribute it to. If CGCookie had decided to simply provide the source code inside the download that comes when you pay for it, they would be perfectly in compliance with the GPL even though they aren’t making it “freely available” to anyone else.

Now those customers are allowed, if they so choose, to upload that code and the binaries for everyone to access without any problems. They can also, if they want, choose only to give the binaries and source to selected people. The GPL only enforces giving source code to those that you give source or binaries to. GPL triggers only on the act of distribution, if you don’t distribute it to a person - you are not responsible for upholding the GPL with them (that responsibility lies with the person/organisation that distributed code/binaries to them).

Not such a big deal for open-source organisations giving their binaries out to anyone that wants it, but important to remember when people are selling their code. They only have to give their customers the source code, no-one else has the right to demand it from them.

Is it any different when it comes to people’s commercial dreams in terms of selling addons, I know of several people in this forum who would seriously consider uploading it to github and then give the link (they let you have a public respository for free). Chances are that a lot of people would still buy the addon, but honor systems are seldom watertight by any means and some here even have stated that they got the retopology code for free regardless (despite Johnathon W being a very respected user and site master).

With all due respect, you don’t know what you are talking about.

You really should step out of this forum and do some research on content marketing / selling on the web. People out there are making a good living with open source plugins and some are making fortunes. You mentioned Jonathon Williamson. Have you heard of Pippin Williamson?

If and when Blender snowballs the Blender plugin biz will snowball with it. Jonathan W and friends and the plugin devs are getting in on the ground floor.


Edit: Just in case: Snowball as in a snowball rolling down a hill. It gets bigger and bigger while picking up momentum.