Free Software and 3DSMAX

Loic Dachary loic at
Tue Mar 5 12:05:57 UTC 2002


	3DSMAX is a proprietary product marketed by Discreet
( and used to model and produce 3D data.  It
is designed so that people can write their own plugins to achieve
specific functionalities.

	A company ( releases 3DSMAX plugins under the GNU GPL
and is embarassed in two ways:

	1) Those plugins are dependant on non free software and are therefore
	   of no use to the Free Software community.

	2) It is very hard to figure out what licensing terms apply to 
	   a GNU GPL plugin in its binary form. Does it include code
	   and data that is subject to the 3DSMAX license ? 

	The answer for 1) is quite clear: instead of releasing 3DSMAX
plugins only, Nevrax should release similar plugins or patches to 3D
modeling Free Software. They may not be as powerfull but providing a
Free Software based alternative opens the way to improvement where
providing only a solution based on a proprietary product increases the
dependency toward the proprietary product.

	The answer for 2) is less obvious. I tried to call Discreet in
germany and I'm waiting for someone to call me back. There apparently
is no published information on this subject. It may be completly
illegal to distribute a binary plugin compiled from a GNU GPL pluging
sources because it includes some portions of program and data that are
under a proprietary license. 

	It is a good example on how dependency to non free software can
paralyze a Free Software :-( We should always stay away from proprietary 


Loic   Dachary  loic at
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75010    Paris         T: 33 1 42 45 07 97          loic at
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