When Did Blender Become Free Software?


For years Blender has been regarded as one of the best creative applications that money can(not) buy, offering an incredible array of tools and features for 3D artists of all levels. But has Blender always been available as free software, and when did it become free?

Blender has been classed as a free, open-source application since September 7th, 2002, when its source code was made available to the public after the Free Blender crowdfunding campaign results. However, it has been free in other forms, going as far back as 1998 when it was a form of SGI shareware.

While it may not matter initially when Blender was made available as free software, its history is undoubtedly interesting as it made its journey to what we have today.

When Did Blender First Become Free Software?

Well, Blender would not become free in its current state for several years to come It has been free in other forms beforehand. In 1998, Blender was made available as SGI freeware.

When software is classified as freeware, it can be distributed without payment and is either fully functional for an unlimited time or has limited functionality, with a superior version of the software available commercially or as a form of shareware.

The term SGI relates to Silicon Graphics Inc, as Blender Roosendaal would purchase an SGI workstation a few years prior to continuing the development of Blender.

This would not last long, however, as shortly after becoming a form of freeware Blender’s parent company Neo Geo would dissolve.

How Did Things Change For Blender Under NaN?

The blender software would eventually be transitioned over to Roosendaal’s second company, Not a Number Technologies (NaN).

While it remained in assets with NaN, Blender would be distributed as a form of shareware until NaN was also discontinued in 2002.

Shareware is a form of software that is initially distributed by the owner for a trial period at little or no cost, and will usually have limited functionality, but it can be upgraded upon payment to a full version.

The key difference between the two is that freeware can potentially be distributed for free in its final state. The purpose of shareware is to distribute a lesser version for free and then allow for payment of a complete version of the software.

This is very similar to freeware in practice, although not identical. It remains a very different approach to open source software distributed in its full form at no cost.

When Did It Become Open Source?

When not in number, technologies ended up going under in 2002, and the future of Blender was put into question once again. Development of the software was halted for a short time while the future of the application was being determined.

In May 2002, Tom Roosendaal founded the Blender Foundation, a nonprofit organization to raise funds for the blender software’s continued development.

A crowdfunding campaign was started labeled as Free Blender, with the goal of raising approximately $100,000 to continue its development. By September of that same year, the target was reached and then the source code of Blender was released to the public for the first time.

What Was The First Open Source Version Of Blender?

Even though the first instance of Blender releasing its code to the global community was back in September of 2002, the first truly open-source version would not be released until February 2003.

This was version 2.26, and while the application itself wasn’t particularly groundbreaking in terms of its feature set, it was a historic release because it was the first open-source version where you could access not only that build of Blender but also its source code.

Why Is Blender More Than Just Open Source?

There are many, many different licenses that exist in the legal world, and Blenders license is a special one because it attributes to more than just being open source.

Blender falls under the GNU General Public Licence version 2. While under this license, Blender must be distributed to the global community as free software, and its source code is made available. The license’s key purpose is not to restrict the blender software. In fact, the opposite is true.

There are as few restrictions to the software as possible. Under this license, you can distribute Blender to anyone, anywhere in the world. The only true restriction to the software is a financial one.

Under the General Public License, blender cannot be sold by either the Blender Foundation or any global community.

For example, say you downloaded the source code of Blender. You didn’t make substantial changes to the software creating your own version of Blender.

You even decided to give it its own name. Because the source code was from blender, your version still falls under the same license, and like the Blender Foundation, you are unable to sell your build of Blender. You are, however, fully permitted to distribute that version of Blender that you created for free to the global community.

Thanks For Reading The Article

We appreciate you taking the time to read this article to learn more about the blender software. Suppose you are interested in learning more about blenders history or even about Blender itself as an application. In that case, there are a few articles that we have listed below for your viewing.

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