MFA Thesis – Excerpt 23

“Blender 3D breaks the barrier of economic oppression without trying. Blender 3D was not created with the goal of giving the disadvantaged an opportunity to have a voice. Yet, inequality in the art field is being reduced by devoted developers who see the creation of solutions as the goal of their endeavor. Artists who are not part of the VFX or elite commercial studios now have access to tools of equal and sometimes higher quality without the burden of an unreachably high capital investment. A fine art artist equipped with open source hardware like Blender, Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus, and others has a fully functional production house literally at his fingertips. Not to mention the availability of open source office software for the business side of the studio, like LibreOffice, OpenOffice, TurboCASH, LedgerSMB and others.

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From the start to this state (Setup to current status), 13 hours and 20 minutes. THESIS EXCERPT 23 "Considering all the evidence of mutual cooperation documented above in the case of #DebianOS development, the #development of other #opensource software and #hardware; the current system of #monetary donations and sponsorships, and the wide community of resources and support in the form of developers and #corporate #sponsorships, the necessity of the proprietary profit model is questionable at best. How many solutions in other fields could be found if profit and the push for market dominance were abandoned? Read more at https://gerardovargas.graphics/blog/mfa-thesis-excerpt-23 #b3d #blender #opensource #workflow #3dModeling #conceptvehicle #modeling #irregularforms

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Considering all the evidence of mutual cooperation documented above in the case of Debian OS development, the development of other open source software and hardware; the current system of monetary donations and sponsorships, and the wide community of resources and support in the form of developers and corporate sponsorships, the necessity of the proprietary profit model is questionable at best. How many solutions in other fields could be found if profit and the push for market dominance were abandoned?”

MFA Thesis – Excerpt 22

“Open source has been labeled communism and socialism.* It is called this by the same people who depend on commercial profit for their existence. Yet, in the 1960’s to 70’s when key systems of computers were developed in academic settings as much as in corporations it was commonplace for developers to share code and transmission protocols widely. Currently, commercial vendors provide the object or binary code only to the users. Software development companies release their source code to other firms, like peripheral manufacturers, only under strict licenses that restrict the use of that source code and maintain the original company’s ownership rights.**

When the internet was made available to academia and the public by the Department of Defense, the initial intent was for the internet to be a free access tool for information.*** The open network, and the open source movement that came about before the 1980’s created the opportunity for the commercial industries to develop. AT&T led the charge in creating proprietary software in a tumultuous fashion. Prior to the 1980’s there was little effort to control rights or place restrictions on software distribution and sharing. AT&T started enforcing what it considered intellectual property rights related to UNIX, an operating system (OS). The problem was that academia and other corporate researchers made significant contributions to the UNIX OS.**** It was like a child trying to kill her parent. Commercial industries in the computer world owe their existence to open source.

The economic impact open source has is curious. In Table 1, one can see the estimated cost of the Debian/Linux distribution.***** Growth by a factor of ten in ten years is rather significant. The scale of growth is the result of the fact that 110 thousand person-years of combined programming effort was put into the development of Debian. It is estimated that proprietary software companies would have had to pay well over $300 billion to support this development. This is where cooperation and open development of source code becomes relevant to the the struggle for equality. The open source model is evidence that cooperative solution development is viable. Moreover, open source renders racial, socio-economic, religious or any other labeling of differences among contributors irrelevant to the outcome by removing the price barrier to participation.

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Chris Webb, “Of Pirates, Pixels, and Politics.” Canadian Dimension, (2009) : 42.

** Josh Lerner and Jean Tirole, “The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond,” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 19, no. 2 (2005) : 101.

*** Raphael Cohen-Almagor, “Internet History:” International Journal of Technoethics 2, no. 2 (32 2011) : 45–64. doi:10.4018/jte.2011040104.

**** Lerner, “The Economics of Technology,” 101.

***** Roberts. “Against the ‘Networked Economy,’” 389.

MFA Thesis – Excerpt 21

“Nevertheless, the open source community has a currency economy. Many of these projects, like Blender 3D, have systems of donations from consumers as well as corporate sponsorships that provide a minimum monetary incentive to  development. Sponsorships do not, however, entitle the donors to “own” any part of the code. Sponsorships also remove incentives for unethical behavior that competition encourages*, as they are not trying to dismantle the market by pushing out competing developers. In general, pride of contribution is the reward the developers pursue.

The article Against the ‘Networked Information Economy’: Rethinking Decentralization, Community, and Free Software Development contains a concise explanation of the two major forms of “free” software license parameters: the FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) and the GNU Public License (or GPL).** Both ensure the openness of source code. The difference between FLOSS and GNU/GPL is philosophical as Richard Stallman, founder of GNU and the Free Software Foundation explains in the article mentioned above. “The free software movement is for justice to the user, and the open source movement refuses to see the justice part of it and concentrates only on the practical part of sharing the code.”***

Mr. Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation based on his social justice views. He argues that the source code of software should be free, shared and openly distributed. A contrary, but similar approach was taken by Eric Raymond who was interested mostly in the sharing of the source code. Raymond was pleasantly surprised by the development of Linux. In his words:

Linux overturned much of what I thought I knew. . . . [T]he Linux community seemed to resemble a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches. . . out of which a coherent and stable system could seemingly emerge only by a succession of miracles. The fact that this bazaar style seemed to work, and work well, came as a distinct shock. . . . [T]he Linux world not only didn’t fly apart in confusion but seemed to go from strength to strength at a speed barely imaginable to cathedral-builders [i.e. traditional software developers]****

Communication networks can democratize and eliminate oppressive barriers like the need to raise large amounts of start-up capital to access and contribute to projects, the necessity of being in a centralized location where work is being done, and the need to belong to a particular social group that dominates the market. Writers, such as David M. Berry, see in free software “a form of collective decision-making through a democratization of technology”**** and attribute to FLOSS the possible elimination of discrimination towards those without monetary means.”

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* – Jordana Cepelewicz, “How Winning Leads to Cheating,” Scientific American, February 2, 2016, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-winning-leads-to-cheating/#.

** – Roberts. “Against the ‘Networked Economy,’ 386.

*** – Richard Stallman, “FLOSS and FOSS – GNU Project – Free Software Foundation,” Accessed April 25, 2016, http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/floss-and-foss.en.html.

**** – Roberts. “Against the ‘Networked Economy,’ 390.

MFA Thesis – Excerpt 20

“Table 1 presents evidence that armies of developers around the world have dedicated more time and resources to open source software packages, Debian OS in this example, than any one company could afford to sustain in a comparable fashion on its own. 

Table1

‘Table 1: Debian GNU/Linux Distribution Source : Data Adapted from “Against the ‘Networked Information Economy’: Rethinking Decentralization, Community, and Free Software Development,” Criticism 53, no. 3 (2011) : 389.

Debian is one of the distributions of the open source operating system (OS) Linux. “Distribution,” is the name for an individual OS version in the industry, like OpenSuse, and the most popular Ubuntu. The exception to the free availability of open source is RedHat, a commercial variation of open source Linux, but built on cooperate culture. While RedHat is for enterprise development and deployment with monetary charges, the company also has the free version Fedora for entry level developers who want to someday work with RedHat. Later the difference between free/libre software and open source will be explained.”

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.

Finally, the company.

As a natural evolution of the MFA program, the achievement of finishing it, and two years after that program (not the learning though!), here is the Company.

About a month ago I finalized the registration of the animation studio that will be a direct result of the current production of the film. The film, that by coincidence, is changing name due to the fact that there is an already published film by the name Traces. I am still digesting that idea, since I made so much work based on the name Traces. Guess I should have registered the name in 2015 when I thought it first.

In any case, the animation studio is called Daca Daguao Digital Design, LLC. And for now, it has a facebook page that you can find at facebook.com/dacadaguao4d

I am also starting a Patreon page, not ready, that I will publish soon. I am planning on having rewards of digital files, printed images, 3d printed objects from the film and other ideas for the patrons. Also, I am still cooking some recipes for how to offer individualized prizes, like modeling and 3d printing a patron’s bust. I can probably only do a few of those a month, so maybe that will be the top tier of the patrons and just a limited amount? I don’t know yet.

Which brings me to the question, what would you guys like to received as a reward from me if you were one of my patrons?

In case you don’t know what Patreon.com is, click here. Your help will be invaluable not only to me, but to the artists I am planning on hiring from the beginning to produce our IP’s (Intelectual Property) for the animation studio.

I am very exited about this new chapter in my life. Soon (I guess now!) I will call myself an entrepreneur! A business owner!

And I hope I can use the studio and school to help as many other artists as possible.