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Suggestions for project development

General questions related with the YafaRay Project, 3D computer graphics and about this site.

Suggestions for project development

Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:34 pm

A couple of days ago I received this message from Victor Phellipe, and I would like to answer publicly, I hope Victor does not mind that I do it this way.

I think it deserves a public answer & debate because in my opinion his suggestions do contain some conceptions the Blender community as a whole is using lately. I'm not able to assert whether they are right or wrong, since there is not a single model of FOSS project development; many projects do favour the raising of money to boost software development.

The first answer to his suggestions is that we will use a legal framework if we ever hire somebody; such a developer would work under a legal contract produced by a legal entity with capacity to hire programmers. The fact that our donations are held by a umbrella legal organisation means that we are reluctant to work under no legal framework. We think that by doing that we protect the project and its community first from ourselves and then from any future random guy working under an anonymous identity.

We don't use a legal framework ourselves because we are not big enough for that. We use an umbrella organisation called SPI. Only them, or a third company, can hire a developer to work on the YafaRay source code. Besides, a non-profit org like SPI can not pay somebody for tasks usually intended for collaborators. The Blender project uses a third entity called the Blender Institute, rather than the Blender Foundation, to hire developers and transform monetary resources into software development. They aren't a non-profit but a regular company, which is a nice way to solve all the issues I'm commenting here.

Then there is a second question. If we use money as an incentive to boost development, what happens when that incentive doesn't longer exist. In a FOSS community where the 'features for money' mechanism becames prevalent, people would be reluctant to collaborate for free (free as in free for the common good). I think that our participation in the GSoC program is a good example of that. There are powerful FOSS communities (for instance Debian) that work under strictly free collaborative premises.

You might wonder then what the YafaRay donations will be used for. In general, that money will be used to pay for the project expenses, which at the moment amount very little thanks to our hosting donors. Once those prosaic needs are covered, that money should be used to organise our own events. That money can be used as well to raise more money, for instance by creating marketable products. Money can be used for instance for scolarships awarding raytracing research in academic enviroments. There is only a single instance in which our monetary resources can be used for paying a developer: to code a badly-needed very specialised task our development team can not acomplish.

As far as I can see, the only feasible option left is that a third entity; which would be a company or an academic institution, able to make money with YafaRay (archivis, rendering services, content production) and/or interested to develop YafaRay, would hire a developer to work on YafaRay. But that would probably mean development of very specialised features rather than general progress. Apart from that, there is the GSoC program and little else. There are no shortcuts and magic formulae to boost a FOSS project, we work under tight ethical premises. Failing to observe them usually impact the qualities of the project itself and introduce new instability factors.

Anyway thanks for your suggestions, they are always welcome. Sorry for this long rant. Best regards.

I'm Victor Phellipe, admin at blender.com.br. I'm here to make some sugestions for you. First of all, sorry for grammar mistakes.

I don't know how works the YaR development, but I think there is some main programmers who do this and they don't receive any motivation ($) to make it. Why do you, guys, don't produce some produts to raise money? Donate doesn't work very well. Our site (because I'm not alone at blender.com.br) have shirts, DVDs from Blender Foundation, cups and things like that to sell. The only reason for us don't raise a lot of money is: marketing. Anyway, we don't need to much money to continue with our site. Our marketing is really weak, but if were stronger our store will be sucessful.

Blender Brazil's site has about 7000 users and it's the main site of Blender in Brazil. yafaray.org is the main site of Yaf(a)Ray in world. Should make some money, don't you think?

Just my opinion to help the Yaf(a)Ray team.

Best regards,
Victor.
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Samo
 
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:49 pm

I already expressed my opinion that if the current rate of development (or lack of it) continues for too long, Yafaray will fall back too much and people will find other alternatives.

I don't know anything about bureaucratic stuff, but I have an idea how Yafaray could get money to pay developers (shirts and cups won't do, IMO):

Experienced users would produce tutorials and material packs, which would then be put to sale for others (something like on blendercookie). It could also be a "pay as much (or little) as you want" model like some indie game developers have done recently.
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_Mo_
 
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:57 pm

I already expressed my opinion that if the current rate of development (or lack of it) continues for too long, Yafaray will fall back too much and people will find other alternatives.


What alternatives, Sunflow, Povray, Luxrender, or the next yet another free raytracer some guy happens to write? At least 25.000 $ are needed to hire a developer for at least six monts. You don't get to earn that money by selling tutorials for 2$. Besides, my question is always the same, when the dollars are eaten up, what's next? You fire your developer and wait to get another 25K?

In my opinion it is better if we use resources to write better developers docs, and to motivate the current development team, and reinforce the collaborative aspects of the project.
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Samo
 
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:44 pm

Samo wrote:In my opinion it is better if we use resources to write better developers docs, and to motivate the current development team, and reinforce the collaborative aspects of the project.


Ok, but how can I motivate the current dev team? What can I or others possibly do to make them code, except helping to raise some material resources (=money)? And if some xy programmer needs 25k, then the current developers who already gave a lot to the project (= are already motivated and with the heart in it), would need a lot less incentive.

Anyway, mine was just an idea what could the community offer to raise money for development. As for alternatives, Lux with GPU support will be a very interesting thing, and there are also relatively cheap non-foss renderers out there.
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_Mo_
 
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:59 pm

Tutorials are for a very small community...Only a very small amount would be raised...

I have a polemic idea!
The idea is based on this sentence:
"charge proprietary exporters for proprietary code, free exporters for free code"
Yafaray is without any doub chargeable as a plugin for 3dmax, sketchup pro, maya and so on...
With a low value you can raise a lot of licenses...People would buy it, definetly.
Much of the work for skup has already been done.

Also, more developpers can be atracted by the idea that working on a software that can be a plugin for proprietary software is a much more important achievement for their Curriculum.

I believe some coders of the yafaray team may disagree that part of the exporters become proprietary of a yafaray foundation since it may be on a very superficial analysis against open source rules.
But the idea is to make open source stronger and providing funds for it!
I think a yafaray coder deserves money, lots of money, for this fantastic or funtastic render engine! 8)
Manuel_Ramos
 
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:46 pm

I believe that Samo is right, the best way to further yafaray development is through outreach, this can benefit the speed of development in two ways:

It could attract enough part time open source developers to thrive or

It could attract the attention of a studio wishing to switch from paying from proprietary to free software. Switching from maya to blender is one thing but being without mental ray has to be an issue for some artists, an issue that could be fixed by yafaray. If you are switching from many licenses of maya to a work flow that uses free software with yafaray, then you are willing to spend real money to get the features you want included or increase the speed by bug fixing.

trying to raise tens of thousands of dollars by appealing to those who already use a piece of software for free is nearly impossible. If you already use it, then you are happy enough with it to not feel the need to give big bucks.
loh
 
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:40 am

We could always raise money, by selling Lemonade?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czMPSUuMbQw
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DaffyDuck
 
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:18 am

loh wrote:trying to raise tens of thousands of dollars by appealing to those who already use a piece of software for free is nearly impossible. If you already use it, then you are happy enough with it to not feel the need to give big bucks.

I am sorry loh but I disagree a litle. I am very aware of the professional archviz services and their market. We have some proprietary 3d creation tools that still lack perfect renderers. I believe a lot of this studios and freelancers would give yafaray a chance with an exporter license with a low price. Nevertheless, they are not willing to change to blender or any open source 3d editor. I believe yafaray would change if it became more independent from blender. But it would be interesting to see more opinions.
DaffyDuck, you are a yafa terrorrist! :lol: You are sabotaging this serious thread, you my friend must be stopped :lol:
Manuel_Ramos
 
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:35 am

I think that a good Sketchup exporter would change things a lot. I believe yafaray should be the 'natural' raytracing engine of Sketchup, and that probably will bring an users base even bigger than the Blender users one.
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:58 pm

The firm belief that YafaRay not be limited to any software, was what prompted me to create an exporter for Softimage. Although the original idea was to create for its free version, Autodesk Softimage Mod Tool, I think it could become an option for use with the paid version. While I recognize, of course, that mental ray has all the advantages, to be included in Softimage.
(Sorry for my English)
povmaniaco
 
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:11 pm

Manuel_Ramos

I agree with you completely. My point was about how if there are more professionals using a free piece of software in place of a yearly license one some of them will be very willing to pay serious money for features they need. blender and yafaray instead of maya and mental ray was just an example.
loh
 
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Re: Suggestions for project development

Post Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:57 pm

I want to fix bugs in yafaray. Give me a chance. What should I do? I wanted to close some bugs in the bugtracker, but I have no rights.

P.S. I do not need $ 25.000, I agree to $ 2.500. :)
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