Blender is one of those rare success stories in open source history, right over there, next to Linux and Apache, that justifies the very existence of the open source movement.
It’s story started in an unorthodox way. The creator of Blender, Ton Roosendaal, initially developed the software as an internal tool for the animation studio that he co-founded.
In 1998, Ton founded a new company called Not a Number (NaN), to further market and develop Blender. NaN’s business model involved providing commercial products and services around Blender. In 2000 the company secured growth financing by several investment companies. Target was to create a free creation tool for interactive 3D (on-line) content, and commercial versions of the software for distribution and publishing.
Unfortunately the commercial version of Blender didn’t work out financially and the company was forced to close down by it’s investors. Normally that would be the end of it all, if it wasn’t for Ton Roosendaal who, with the support from the user community, started the non-profit Blender Foundation:
The Blender Foundation’s first goal was to find a way to continue developing and promoting Blender as a community based open source project. In July 2002, Ton managed to get the NaN investors to agree on a unique Blender Foundation plan to attempt to open source Blender. The “Free Blender” campaign sought to raise 100,000 EUR, as a one-time fee so that the NaN investors would agree on open sourcing Blender. To everyone’s shock and surprise the campaign reached the 100,000 EUR goal in only seven short weeks. On Sunday Oct 13, 2002, Blender was released to the world under the terms of the GNU General Public License.
Ten years later and a few days ago, Blender shines once again with a bright example of what is possible from one man with vision and determination backed with a dedicated and active community: Blender Foundation released its forth Open Movie “Tears of steel”
And what is even more incredible?
Now this is going to be a massive download but fortunately there is a way to get everything nicely packed in 4 DVDs with some extras from the production process and support this amazing effort at the same time. And don’t forget to spread the word. That is, I think, the least all of us can do. Kudos to the Blender guys!