MFA Thesis – Excerpt 19

“Software like OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird, ClamWin (Windows software), VLC Media Player, Audacity, PDFCreator, Inkscape, Gimp, Blender 3D and others have demonstrated how capable and successful are trans-frontier, worldwide collaborations among developers. The pride of having a strong and admirable software package that solves, in some cases, multiple problems is the reward.

According to Jaron Lanier, the information technology industry should move from a free information gathering market where the people with the strong servers (Facebook, Google, Apple, etc.) are the ones making money, to a market where individuals are rewarded with currency for the contributions of their information according to the quantity and quality of that information. There is evidence that perhaps a currency system is not necessary, but in fact limits the possibilities for the advancement and development of technology…”

MFA Thesis – Excerpt 18

Nor can any of these packages, costing thousands of dollars, handle as many steps in the production pipeline. Furthermore, none of them alone can produce an entire film. In addition, proprietary software suites are not available for open alterations to the code and are not fully adaptable to production needs despite the ability to add features with the proprietary languages some of them have, like MEL for Maya.

Buying proprietary software like Maya, 3dsMax, Cinema4D, Modo, ZBrush and others is, in the words of Bob Young, former CEO of open source software company RedHat, like buying a “car with the hood welded shut.” One cannot alter the source of the proprietary software as is possible with open source software. Because of this and the easy availability of the software itself, open source is having the unintended effect of democratizing industries where socioeconomics keep disadvantaged groups, i.e. poor families, from accessing better education, training or employment opportunities. In the VFX industry, for example, protectionism among the established studios influences employed artists to believe that open source software is unprofessional. That notion, in turn, denies artists not employed by established studios the chance of ever belonging to the artistic “elite” because they cannot afford the accepted industry standard software like Maya, Cinema4D and so on.