If Blender is free, how does it create revenue?

As a very new user to Blender, but an almost 20 year user of advanced CAD software as a 3D CAD designer and skilled in rendering (including Max, AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, through the years) I can tell that Blender is no simple program. I’m only familiar with the 2.82a version and I must admit the interface is slick, easy to navigate and the on-screen redraw and functionality of the interface as a whole is the same if not better than software I’ve used that costs thousands of dollars.

I’m curious to know the business side of Blender and how such a stellar piece of software is able to be offered for free without pop ups and advertisements - is there other revenue streams or add-ons that are unknown to me? I know in the past I’ve used software that I thought was free, until I realized or someone informs me that it’s free for personal use but $XX.XX for professional use but I don’t see that here.

Even if Blender was offered at a $100/yr annual subscription I couldn’t imagine anyone who could gripe about it. I’m very grateful for this program being free, so if anyone from the business side of Blender is reading, thank you!

Curiously, -TZ

Welcome to Blender, Tannar.
They get donations from the community and other various grants.

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They also have the Blender cloud that offers tutorials and other downloads for a subscription fee.
https://cloud.blender.org/welcome

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While there are income streams that alone is not the whole story, there are heaps of volunteers donating their spare time, doing anything from contributing code, writing the manual, doing translations to numerous languages, to helping other users on forums like these and giving (sometimes rather passionate) feedback to the devs on how things ought to work. Without any of that blender would not be what it is today.

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Blender is open source. If you only know proprietary software, it is easy to miss the huge difference between free (proprietary) programs and software that is free as in freedom (open source). The background is not to give away a free version to sell the paid version. The background is to have software that nobody can own but belongs to everybody. So welcome to the free (software) world.

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It might help to read the history of Blender.

In a nut shell, now Blender gets its money from various sources, including us, the users, if we so choose.

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Big donations from companies and smaller donations from individuals. I’m just a user who enjoys Blender. I like to think that my €9.90/month helps in some small way.

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Thank you all for your comments, very fun to read how it all comes together. I did not realize the type of community that Blender had, which led to building such a fantastic product.

-TZ

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Welcome aboard. Many of us have used other products before. And many of us also use other products currently in our pipeline.

Think of it, as a AAA quality game without lootboxes. Or a pay what you want price model…

One of the Blender Foundation’s products are really excellent BOOKS. The couple I’ve seen were EXTREMELY well done.

So, that’s another way to support the program.