Would it be possible to place Eevee under the Apache 2 license like with Cycles?

The idea would be that Eevee, like Cycles before it, would move out of the GPL while the possibility still exists. This could have a few notable benefits.

  • Creates the possibility of another standalone product to act as a ‘gateway’ to Blender tech. (due to making it possible to plug it into commercial apps.).
  • It gets more of Blender away from the GPL (and creates another area where technologies like Substances could be integrated in a more proper fashion than possible otherwise).
  • It would attract developers who would otherwise not touch the code at all

Would this be possible? Would the Blender community want something like this done? I would think it would have to be done at some point before the 2.8 release as it will eventually be impossible to get approval from all of the engine’s contributors.


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How exactly would this benefit Blender? Do you think code improvements to Eevee (when integrated into other apps) would find their way back to Blender? Would you expect that Eevee would become some kind of realtime display standard (similar to the OpenSubdiv angle)? “Gateway” implies that this brings users or developers to Blender. I’m not seeing how.

This presumes that the GPL is a bad thing and that moving Blender away from the GPL is inherently a good thing. Let’s not have a licensing debate in this thread, please. No one will agree with each other on this. Let’s let this point drop.

And push away some other developers, both from Eevee and from Blender proper. Do we have any hard numbers that would help predict that trade-off?

I think since cycles was relicensed to the Apache 2 license, no external contributions (from commercial groups profiting from it) have happened ever since.

I believe only small studios and end user bussiness have contributed (code or money) to cycles or BF (The usual suspects: AMD, NVIDIA and INTEL being exceptions, since they do contribute with hardware or pay coders). Do somebody have numbers about it??

Uh… what about poser & Stefan Werner ? he implemented cycles and then contributed a fair few patches (he no longer works for them)

Additions from the Rhino and C4D implementations have made their way back to master as well, I believe.

I think it was a good decision that Ton has aimed at small and medium studios. They see in Blender a tool with which to work daily to make money. They see Blender as an ally, not as a competitor (as might be the case with software companies selling similar apps to Blender).

Eevee would most likely not be adapted by companies with a huge amount of developers who would directly work with it. We would most likely talk about a few coders who would directly touch that code. If they make major modifications, they probably have a long term interest in Eevee. Since Eevee is not going to stand still, they have to constantly update it and make sure their changes are working and for a major change, this means a huge time investment. Since we are talking about a few people who have other tasks as well, it is commercially more viable for them to contribute back. Especially large changes would become a huge maintenance burden over time.
By having a less restrictive license, you increase the probability that companies are going to use it.

I don’t know whether some developers would stop contributing because of that. What I know for sure is, that I am not contributing because of the GPL. I don’t know whether there are others like me or not.
My opinion is that it could help Blender to have more commercial stakeholders and having components like Eevee released under a more premissive license could help with that. We have all seen how an increased commercial interests can boost the development lately and if there is the possibility to futher push in that direction, I am all for it. This would be possible without changing the actual license of Blender.

At the same time, I don’t believe this is going to happen. But I really like the idea.

The decision to do it or not would be all up to Clement, if he wants Eevee to remain GPL then that what it will be. It’s just that I recall Ton saying (during the Cycles re-license) that he will not force the GPL on developers who want to create a new module for Blender.

The following is partly in response to Fweeb, there is the fact that the majority of new CG tech. that becomes available for implementation in DCC apps. is not GPL compatible (I know a lot of users here for example have Substance Designer now and would like to use the native format in Blender). People also seem to get frustrated time to time when you consider the prospect of many new technologies being available for implementation in every known DCC app. except for Blender.

On with the Substance thing, Eevee and Cycles being Apache 2 could actually allow such support with no major kludges. My preference really would be for Blender to have a custom-rolled solution that is similar (especially with FOSS containing a total lack of equivalent software), but we currently do not have any developers willing to take it on.

Isn’t Eevee too deeply woven into Blender’s code that it would to be of little use outside of Blender?

Eevee licensed like Cycles would probably open up the possibility for an official substance integration.
I would from a user-pointview who is additionally using commercial products very much welcome such a move.

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Well, those of us who use Blender hope that with the arrival of Eevee, a good system for real time PBR painting will be incorporated into Blender, so no need for Substance painter :evilgrin:

I don’t have clear that thing. It is a viewport only.

As mentioned by DcVertice, this is only for the viewport. This has no impact on Blender itself. Integrating closed source code would still not be allowed and nothing would change in that regard!

oh well, my hopes for a Substance designer file integration are crushed.
Big thanks for such a quick correction of what such a licence change could or could not mean.

The other way around could still be possible with such a licence, like;
Eevee licenced under an Apache 2 licence could be then used as an alternative renderer to iray within Substance Painter/Designer?
(when its implemented of course…)

sure, I welcome it when there are more options available to us artists, hopefully there are some kick-ass updates coming in that regard.

subscribed, this seems like a very interesting thread