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GNU is Not Unix

Blender Is GPL 385

BartV writes with a low-key snippet from the new ""Today, Sunday oct 13, 2002, we've launched the Blender sources as GNU GPL to the Internet. Blender has become Free Software forever!" This should be a case study for other companies with software no longer profitable as payware; read some of our previous postings about Blender to follow the story from idea to release.
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Blender Is GPL

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  • Re:UI. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by imr ( 106517 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @03:46PM (#4441692)
    people who are ditching blender's ui are usually people who have tried blender for, say, one hour than dumped it and whine since.
    The problem about changing blender's ui is that its thousands of users love it and want to keep it because it's very practical and very well done. That is if you have a keyboard.
    First time I used blender I couldnt even create one shape. than dumped it. than whine. Than I read one of the numerous tutorials.
    Than I understood the beauty of it. Basically, with blender you have a 100 keys mouse. One hand on the mouse, the other on the keyboard and there you go. People who can play fps can use blender.
    The magic key is the space bar.
    I found studio max interface easy at first contact THAN difficult to cope with. Blender's is the opposite. Yet, now that it's gpl, you can have a new one designed anyway.
  • FYI... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eric_Cartman_South_P ( 594330 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @03:49PM (#4441703)
    Once you get used to the UI

    Just so you know, any GUI that needs people to "get used to it" is bad design and doesn't take into consideration human factors and usability.

  • Re:FYI... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @03:53PM (#4441719) Homepage
    Heh, that's very funny. I remember I tried an iMac once. I can't do absolutely anything useful with it, and I've been using computers and Windows for years. I see lots of people talking about how intuitive is $GUI. That's a plain lie. Any GUI requires getting used to it. If a really intuitive one is ever made it will work by reading your mind.
  • Re:FYI... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JHelgie ( 598219 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @03:55PM (#4441728)
    "any GUI that needs people to "get used to it" is bad design"

    Not if it lets people who KNOW HOW TO USE IT do what they need in a signifantly more efficient manner. As far as I care, all GUI's should be more difficult to use, people are too stupid as it is.
  • Re:FYI... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rash ( 83406 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @03:57PM (#4441742) Homepage
    Then how do you explain the ui of every in house 3d tool in the industry?
    They have been designed with only one goal in mind. Workflow speed.

    Its better to design the ui of an app you use all day to be as fast as possible and then not to care about the learning curve.

    This is becouse the time it takes you to learn the app is made up for in a matter of days when you actually use the app.

    You cannot claim that people must understand the app when its about 3d software. This is becouse they are in themselfs very hard apps to use. So the people using them havto be very tech friendly. They should not have any problem learning the ui nomatter how hard it is.

    The people that complain about the ui eather havent spent enough time learning it or quite simply doesnt have any buisness learning it in the first place.

    If you are just using a 3d app to play with and create some cool graphics you might aswell use poser or bryce.

    Blender is a tool designed for fast workflow, to be used in a team environment within a company.
  • Re:FYI... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 13, 2002 @03:58PM (#4441744)
    That's not necessarily true. I learned the blender interface rather quickly. However, I had never learned anything about 3ds, Maya, Lightwave or whatever before I tried learning Blender. I think the problem with most people is they're used to working with one of those other applications, and moving to blender is difficult.
  • Re:FYI... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @04:08PM (#4441776)
    Not really ... A modeler is a very complex thing, expecting to be able to use it intuitively is folly.

    Can you run complex real systems without any training? Could you drive a car intuitively? Play a saxophone intuitively?

    Everything else in the world requires patience, practice and knowledge to operate. Why is it that people think extremely complex machines (computers) should/can be easy enough for any retard to use?

    That being said I still hate the blender GUI. I tried in earnest for 3 or 4 hours to use it, didnt make any headway and said "Fuck this, im going back to rhino"

  • Re:FYI... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zerblat ( 785 ) <<es.cibuks> <ta> <sanoj>> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @04:22PM (#4441842) Homepage
    I agree. In no way, shape, or form, is the "vi" interface a good one.

    Huh? It's fast, it's efficient and it's easy on your fingers. How is that a bad thing? Just because you don't like it doesn't mean everyone has to agree.

    "Steep learning curve" does not make the UI fast. It makes it slow.

    It means the interface takes some time to learn. Of course, if you haven't learned it yet and have to check the docs everytime you want to do something it will be slow. If you use the program often enough that you don't forget everything between every usage, spending some time to learn the interface properly is a great investment.

    If you only edit text files once or twice a week, MS notepad is all you need. If you spend hours every day editing text, you'll want something more powerful and won't mind spending some time to use it properly. Of course, it would be great if the interface was "intuitive" enough so you wouldn't need to learn it. But as we all know, the only intuitive interface is the nipple; after that it's all learned.

    So, vi and Blender suck for the casual user but are perfect for anyone who uses them a lot.

  • Err.. not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett&gmail,com> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @04:28PM (#4441865)
    No, no, the real question is why do so many sites use DBMS systems when its completely undeeded.

    I used to be a big "store everything in a database" type of guy. Everything - styles, content, images - everything.

    And then I learned about better ways to seperate content and form - XML, CSS, XSL/XSLT, etc.

    Sites that I had written were retrofitted, and some sites that had serious scalability issues were vastly, drastically, and amazingly increased performance wise.

    If you think about what an DBMS does, its a layer on top of the file system to more effectively store data, with features. For most sites (Slashdot style sites are good exceptions actually) the content is stored in a database for no reason other than seperation!

    Basiclaly, my point is, all these sites you see with "MySQL" errors under load - the problem with them is that most of the time they are using MySQL instead of the filesystem for no good reason. That really bugs me in my new web-developer mode.

    Using MySQL for a hit counter, stastics, and other stuff that doesn't require a DB is just asking for trouble underload.
  • by WWWWolf ( 2428 ) <> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @04:34PM (#4441883) Homepage
    What is Blender? Its website doesn't seem to be of much help...

    Blender is an absolutely frosty 3D modeling/animation/rendering package.

    Okay, that's about as much I can describe with words, and I'm not a poet so I can't describe it that way, either. It is slightly puzzling on the surface, but surprisingly amazing when you look at the renderings it spews out, and the time spent doing the picture.

    I've been using Blender since 1.5 or something (can't remember) and it's become one of my Graphics Packages of Choice. (Linux may be slightly behind Windows on audio and video side, but on graphics side, The GIMP, ImageMagick and Blender clearly prove it isn't behind on that area. =)

  • by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @04:45PM (#4441927) Homepage Journal
    If I had a buck everytime some ignorant, stuckup, self described digerati exhorting someone that they should be using a "real database" or "real programming language" or "real operating system" than I would be typing this from a wireless laptop on the beach on my own private island.

    What makes you so sure that MySQL was the source of the problem? You know I have seen error messages from "real" databases before, Oracle, DB2, etc. The problem could be from bad programming, hardware failure, network loss, etc.

  • Thank you donators (Score:4, Insightful)

    by InodoroPereyra ( 514794 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @04:51PM (#4441953)
    I know it is always easier to just sit back and wait for others to do things. In this case make donations. I do not use Blender, I probably will not use it in the foreseeable future, but I might end up using free software that uses Blender. Anyways, thank you folks for the donations. Every one and all of them counted :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 13, 2002 @04:52PM (#4441954)
    ... you can (if you want to) make a userfriendly and efficient interface - the two are not contradictory.
  • BL is BS! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Makenai ( 223604 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:10PM (#4442023) Homepage
    We donated our money to the Blender project with the expectation that it would be Open Sourced and GPL'd - however, this seems not to be the case. Included in the source is the so-called 'BL License' that allows 3rd parties to use the existing Blender code base and keep their modifications to themselves. This stifles a major part of the GPL and is not what we paid for!

    From the License:
    For teams that don't want to operate under the GPL, we're also offering
    this "non-GPL" Blender License option. This means that you can download
    the latest sources and tools via FTP or CVS from our site and sign an
    additional agreement with the Blender Foundation, so you can keep your
    source modifications confidential. Contact the Blender Foundation via
    email at so we can discuss how we handle the
    practical matters
  • Re:FYI... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:13PM (#4442033) Journal
    What is so horrendous about ALT+LMB????

    Because there are combinations that involve the middle one.

    For example, if you have a middle button (MMB), then the command may be Shift+MMB. Translated through the translation you get:


    Two meta-keys at the same time is BAD DESIGN, except for something rare, like rebooting (well, it should be rare in a decent OS).
  • No, it isn't. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:25PM (#4442075) Homepage
    From an engineering standpoint, it isn't bullshit at all. It's the same as processor power and power consumption. While you could in -theory- create a processor that was both fast and low power, that doesn't make it bullshit when you decide to optimize for one or the other. Interface design is engineering just the same, and you almost always have to make tradeoffs.
  • Re:Why??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WWWWolf ( 2428 ) <> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:52PM (#4442165) Homepage
    Why is everyone making such a big deal about Blender? ...

    Because it does rule. The open-source world doesn't really have had any good 3D modeler (and only a handful of even remotely tolerable renderers - no, PoV-Ray isn't open source, yet).

    (And, people who say it's not intuitive and the interface sucks just don't get it. Trust me, it is a wonderful program to work with once you get hang of it. =)

    Why not join together as a community and purchase something better like a mail/calendaring server that could compete with exchange? This would be FAR more beneficial to the community and the world!

    (Okay, this paragraph is probably going out of hand, but within realms of argument...) What do you get if you buy something that's compatible with some obscure, undocumented Windows software? Uh, a server that is tailored to work together nicely with some proprietary API that was never meant to see the light of the day. This, as opposed to funding development of some standard server. Why pay for Exchange compatible calendar/mail server? Why not pay for development of vCalendar / SMTP server? Why not tell your boss that using a standard server would probably mean higher security and increased reliability? </offtopic>

    Of course, the same argument could be said of Blender: it only took some open formats as input, processed a proprietary format, and spewed out a (somewhere) standardized file in one form or other. But it could also be argued that there are still not that good standards on this field (swapping a model file from one modeler to another is always a nice way to spend a weekend), and that Blender does support a few of currently known "open" formats (or at least provide some way of converting).

  • Re:FYI... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rworne ( 538610 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @05:58PM (#4442191) Homepage

    Basically, the only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
    - Bruce Ediger
  • Re:UI. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by silas_moeckel ( 234313 ) <{silas} {at} {}> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @06:09PM (#4442226) Homepage
    Your statements are correct if your talking about a mass market application like a word proc the UI should be intuitive and it should also allow for significant work flow optimization (MS Word the most used app retains WP 5.1 function keys as an option last time I checked) We do live in a for dummies time period when there is the push for simplified aka dumbed down UI. In this case were talking about a 3D creation tool something the people that actualy use it all day want as fast as possible if some college kid that wants to play around with a 3D app and dosent have the time to learn it well thats just to bad a skin for dummies might be nice but dont try and water down an effective interface because you think it should just work. That is keepign with KISS priciples from the applications programmers perspective.
  • Re:FYI... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by br0ck ( 237309 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @06:18PM (#4442250)
    Please use this abacus [] to quickly add 387 to 495. It's not intuitive? Well, here a tutorial [] to help.

    As for Blender, I tried it and gave up as well. I think some software has so many features that it becomes difficult to give intuitive ways to quickly perform all appropriate actions.
  • Re:Err.. not quite (Score:4, Insightful)

    by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett&gmail,com> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @06:19PM (#4442255)
    The point is that it's stupid to do a database operation to pull flat content out of a table!

    Throw it on the filesystem, run an transform against it, and throw it out the network! There is no need for a database engine and its weaknesses to interfere with what is essentially flat content. 99% of major-ish websites out there use a database and its almost always the weakest link in the chain.

    Its crazy!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 13, 2002 @06:27PM (#4442292)
    Why not join together as a community and purchase something better like a mail/calendaring server that could compete with exchange? ... Why the hell doesn't the community get organized and purchase that?

    Go right the fuck ahead. Fire it up. Ask around. Raise some money.

    Do you think these people who got Blender GPL'd would take their money back to give to some exchange client? I think not.

    People put their money where they want to see development. Blender is far more exciting software than what you speak of to most of the people here.
    The people bitching about blender are probably those that have nothing better to do than bitch most of the time; probably much like yourself.
  • Re:FYI... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PigleT ( 28894 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:48PM (#4442503) Homepage
    "Besides, if the UI scares away newbies, then there will be less users and thus less people willing to support and improve it and make add-ons."

    I've not got this version of Blender up and running yet so I'm not making a specific comment. However, as we've got onto generalities: newbies don't support and improve projects, they suck support-time from those who could be improving software.
  • by BlueGecko ( 109058 ) <> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @08:24PM (#4442653) Homepage
    If I were to guess you play modern and not classical music, and further that you do all composition on the computer, would I be correct? I make those assumption for two reasons:
    1. Classical music alternates frequently between very long notes (sometimes held across eight or nine measures) and very quick notes (sixteenths very frequently, occasionally thirty-seconds or faster). Representing both of those notes in a human-readable form, without changing your scale every measure and thereby negating the whole point, would be very difficult. If you try to avoid that by defining the standard measure width by the most cramped measure, you're still in trouble because you'll end up with such long measures that you cannot easily guage the distance of your notes and therefore also negate the value of the system. In other words, you'll have to add other notations to your staff until you negate the benefit which you are proposing.
    2. Your solution works great for computer, but I want you to try to tell musicians who notate pieces (which would be any professional musician anywhere and any half-decent music student as well) that they should bring a ruler to practice to ensure their notes are the proper width. There is a major value to our current system, which is I can do it with an unsteady hand and a pencil on sheet music propped in front of me at 45 degrees. With your system I'd have to lay it flat, take out a ruler, figure out how wide the measures were, divide that width by the width of the note I wanted to draw, line that note up with the end of the previous note, and then draw the right length. I fail to see this catching on.
    There are other problems with your system too--for example, what happened to rests?--but quite frankly I think the above two complaints are sufficient enough.
  • Tool A, Tool B... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eric_Cartman_South_P ( 594330 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @08:24PM (#4442655) let me tell you why you are a tool for talking about Tools. After spending a half decade programming UI's and studying human factors and usability, and watching focus groups and software usage, and coding the screens, I can tell you that bad design has beget your conclusions.

    Why should an expert tool be harder to use? That is simply a poor excuse for designers who could not make 100, or 1000+ options easy to use and access. If they changed their interface from an option-select to a defered-create and make icon graphics consistent, a design change such as that and nothing else can make a hard-to-use piece of software easy to use. I've seen that happen coutless times before on all sorts of software, from admin screens to portal interfaces.

    Remember, hard-to-use software is poorly designed software. "The space shuttle is hard to fly, but the software is great! " you might think. But there we are talking extremes on the bell curve, buddy. From MS Paint to photoshot to Maya, we have keyboards, mice, screens, and stylii input. We're not landing shuttles here.

    Again, having had the pleasure of making a sweet living as a UI designer, and having fun behind of both the one-way-mirrors of focus room usability tests and behind the keyboard coding, I will repeat my mantra again, at the risk of being called Troll -1...

    Within the real of a PC you can put in your office (exluding space shuttle and particle accelerator stuff, ok?) hard to use software is poorly designed software.


  • by Permission Denied ( 551645 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @08:58PM (#4442816) Journal
    Music notiation is an anachronism.

    So, you're advocating something akin to guitar tab which displays the lengths of notes. (Disclaimer: I play classical guitar as a hobby and have zero tolerance for tab.)

    Tell me this: with tab, how can you tell, just by looking at the score, in which key the piece is played? If your primary purpose in reading music is to reproduce the sounds a composer wrote down, then tab (or your variation of tab) may suffice, but it does not suffice for conveying music. It certainly won't help if you want to try to improvise off the score. It won't help if you want to try to analyze the music, to find patterns, to figure out a composer's "style", etc. How can you tell, by looking at tab, that a composer has moved from one key to another but is still developing the same motif in the new key?

    Tab (and variations of it) have been around may years (perhaps even longer than standard notation - this would require some research, but I recall that music for the first string instruments was written using some sort of tab). The reason it's been supplanted by standard musical notation is because standard score is better. It's taken a long time to develop standard notation and it may be difficult for beginners because it's meant to convey a lot of other things which aren't too important when you're trying to figure out how to tap out greensleeves on a keyboard. Learning to read score does, unfortunately, take time, but so does learning music.

    I also use vi and would leave any job that required me to code in that hyped-up notepad variant which is called Visual Studio (leave the home row to use the ARROW KEYS!?). I have no idea about any of this 3-D stuff (I understand the math, but that's about it), but I trust that the professionals in the domain have quite different needs than the amateurs.

    Last time I said this it started a huuuge flamewar.

    As well it should :)

  • by sharph ( 171971 ) <> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @10:44PM (#4443199) Homepage
    This is redundant, but....

    Blender has a pretty easy GUI compared to some of the other ones out there. Once you get the basics down its very easy. It *is* a one hand on keyboard, one hand on mouse kinda deal, but its just as complicated as say...maya.

    I too was once in a position of confusion... But then I went out to my local library and actually got a book on blender. The first chapter gave me a boost and I figuered out the rest on my own. Try it.
  • by Cryptnotic ( 154382 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @02:31AM (#4444005)
    I don't think he was saying that professional tools need to be hard to operate, only that they may require learning to fully be able to use them. For example, suppose you want to move a pallet of 80 pound bags of concrete mix from one place to another spot 500 feet away. You can do it the "no tools" way, which is pick them up one by one and carry them accross the field. The "Tool A Method" would be to use a wheelbarroww, whereby you could carry several bags at a time, but you would need to learn how to use the wheelbarrow and not make it tip over. "Tool B Method" would be to spend a few days learning how to use a forklift.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein