Changes in Sunflow's Direction?

General discussion about JPatch

Changes in Sunflow's Direction?

Postby dcuny » Sat Apr 05, 2008 5:54 am

Someone asked why some of the changes to the private version of Sunflow weren't appearing in the public version. The author replied:
I am working on a commercial (closed source) rendering project at the moment that has some similarities to Sunfow. It would be a conflict of interest for me to keep on working on Sunflow at the same time.

I hope to get Sunflow to a point where it is different enough that this will be less of an issue. In the meantime, I have taken development offline. This is really in the best interest of the community - this way I can bring back Sunflow eventually. :) Rest assured that this is still my goal.

While this is frustrating in some ways - it is also giving me a chance to make bigger changes to the core. I have been re-evaluating the sampling algorithms, shader design, and even (gasp) the use of Java. More on that later ;)

I've seen other projects go down similar paths, with the end result being that the Open Source project gets closed out, and the developer is prohibited from working on it any more. And despite his assurance that he'll continue to work on a Java and a C++ version of Sunflow, I've got my doubts. The ability to drop Sunflow in as a native Java renderering solution is what attracted me to it in the first place.

I'll watch to see how it plays out, but I don't have a good feeling about this. :?
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Re: Changes in Sunflow's Direction?

Postby sascha » Sat Apr 05, 2008 9:48 am

I think this is ethically wrong.
Even if you're the only author of a project and don't use code contributed by others (which would be a violation of the GPL), you're still betraying the trust of your community.
We've had endless discussions about JPatch here on the forum, and eventually these discussions will make JPatch a better product. You've spent considerable time in commenting on features, presenting your ideas etc. - all in the trust that JPatch will remain free software. To use all that to create and sell a proprietary, commercial product might be OK from a legal point of view, but ethically it's just wrong. I'd be very upset if somebody betrayed me trust this way :evil:.
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Re: Changes in Sunflow's Direction?

Postby dcuny » Sat Apr 05, 2008 5:28 pm

In Chris' defense, the commercial renderer he's working on is a different renderer, not a clone of Sunflow. I don't think it's based off the source code, and he's not closing the Sunflow source. He's just not working on them both, and he's trying to make sure they remain differentiated.

My worry is that his customer will demand that he no longer work on Sunflow. I've seen that sort of thing happen on other projects. Without the primary developer gone, it's hard to keep projects going.

Of course, this is all speculation on my part. Which leads me to this oft-told tale:

Back when I was foolishly considering writing my own animation program, I'd found an open source renderer called Jackie3D that looked really nice. It used path tracing, and gave results quite similar to the Arnold renderer. It was the only Open Source. I kept my eye on it for a while, and for an Open Source project, it seemed to be awfully closed. They weren't releasing any of their code, and they only had a handful of beta testers. I finally got a hold of the author, who admitted that he had gotten a commercial offer for Jackie3D. The result was that he closed the project. That fell through, and eventually he tried to Open Source it again. But that project never seemed to take off, and I'm not sure what happened to the project. The project domain has been taken over by cybersquatters, and the only thing I could find of the source code was a bunch of headers.

Now, there's enough Sunflow source code to keep it going, but it seems that Chris is just tempting fate here. :(
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