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Last Post by JasonHippy

Nice article!

I think we are really starting to see a turning point these days. A lot of free software is now catching up to commercial software, or at least, close enough that it becomes hard to justify the cost of buying it.

In my opinion, for amateurish work on almost anything, there is an adequate FOSS solution out there. Just like LibreOffice vs MS Office, unless the office suite is your bread and butter, LibreOffice is probably going to be perfectly adequate (light work, occasional use, etc.).

But what's been happening now is that a lot of FOSS software is catching up, even in professional / engineering fields. Like many game development efforts that rely on Blender instead of some other (expensive) "professional" 3D modeling software. Like the plethora of electronics design software (EDA/eCAD) that mostly rivals commercial solutions. Like GIMP that rivals Photoshop. Like FreeCAD that is starting to look a lot like SolidWorks. Like Code-Aster / Code-Saturn / Salome that hands-down beats most of the very expensive FEA / CFD software packages.

I'm just wondering... what does that entail for these commercial software companies and their employees?


what does that entail for these commercial software companies and their employees?

Unfortunately, not a great deal I guess. I'd say I was fully trained in using blender3D, but 3D hiring companies require knowledge of 3ds max or maya as that is the industry standard.

Same applies for photoshop and illustrator. Not so long ago I used to use gimp mostly for my work but that doesn't compete with the likes of photoshop and illustrator.

Same with office although to a lesser extent. I can do without those packages.

Not sure about freecad. I would be a bit wary having used autocad before.


I agree. Free software has come a long way in the last 10 years or so! It is stunning what can be done with free tools nowadays. There are many free programs that can at least come close to their highly polished, proprietary cousins. There are probably also a few that can give them a run for their money or even better them! Heh heh!

As for things being 'industry standard', that seems to have happened in pretty much all of the creative industries. All of them have some expensive proprietary piece/pieces of software which are seen as the best/only way of doing things. There may be viable, free alternatives to all of these programs, but I don't think that any of the proprietary programs which are currently considered de-facto standards are likely to be knocked off their top spots any time soon. Mainly because they have been so entrenched in the culture of those industries.

However, for your average computer user, students or perhaps even startups that are looking to minimise their costs; free software is becoming a more enticing and viable alternative to expensive proprietary software day by day!


Here, here.

It saddens me when I see that the likes of blender getting slated as an example, knowing that it is probably better and offers more features than maya or 3dsmax.

I mean blender has its own 3D sculpting package as well as a full animation suite, semi to polished render engine in (cycles) with GPU support on certain nvdia chipsets. Maya or 3Dsmax you would have to look to using something like zbrush to do sculpting - no doubt zbrush knocks the pants of blender's sculpt but it involves breaking your workflow and opening another package.

plus it is more expensive. You need maya + zbrush and realflow(if you intend on simulated water flow) Jas I know you've dabbled with blender before so you can understand this point.

Blender ships the lot!

[offtopic] do you still dabbled with flash? [/offtopic

Another issue that bugs me a lot is lots of web dev is entrenched in using dotnet and all the ridiculous licenses needed for MsSQL.

Could you do the same with PHP and mysql. Probably, but again it is a company mentality out there. Everything is standardised, you get an inquiry and someone might be using illustrator to create a logo.

Good luck trying to open and ammend that in inkscape. Not saying you can't achieve a similar effect. It is just no one in 'commercial land' uses it.

To me, linux open source provides great and competitive software. Does it/ can it be used in the commercial world? No... not really unless you want to piss off a large swathe of company users already using and familiar with their proprietary counterparts!

Edited by iamthwee


Personally, I've been using FLOSS exclusively at home for a number of years now. Even at work I try to use free-software for as many tasks as possible. The only non-free software I use at work ATM is Windows OS and Visual Studio. But I don't get any choice over those.

But wherever I do have a choice, I choose free software. I don't see any point in getting my boss to pay for a licence for me to use Photoshop or Illustrator for creating things like icons or any of the other simple graphical items I might have to create in the course of doing my job. There is no point. I can simply download one of any number of FLOSS programs and do it for free!

I was discussing free-software with a couple of former colleagues from my days at an elearning company who are professional graphics geeks doing 2D and 3D CGI GFX and animations for various companies now.

As mentioned in my previous thread, the main obstacle that we all saw that could prevent wide-spead adoption of free software by professionals was the entrenchment of other proprietary programs.

Many companies just have so much data stored in proprietary formats that are specific to a particular program, they cannot easily switch (unless there is a simple way to convert files to an open format without any loss of quality or data - Which in most cases there isn't). So even if the free-software was up to the job (which a lot of it pretty much is nowadays IMO), companies will still be reluctant to embrace it en-masse! Another significant factor is that switching to another program could affect productivity whilst employees get to grips with the new program and adjust to the new workflow.

We also discussed a few different FLOSS GFX programs that we've all used.
Whereas I really like Gimp, they both felt unanimously that although Gimp was a really good, solid, free image editor. Suitable for most, common image editing tasks; It was not something they felt they could use professionally. And the main reason they cited for this was the fact that the plugins/effects for Gimp were quite crude and inferior to those available in Photoshop. I think there were a couple of other technical points raised. Something about a lack of proper CMYK support was one thing mentioned - I think this is something that has been addressed in recent versions of Gimp though! Can't remember what the other points were!

It was pretty much the same story WRT Inkscape and Libreoffice draw vs Illustrator. Inkscape and Libreoffice draw were considered a little too rough around the edges for professional use. Again, I'm quite happy with Inkscape and I've never really used libreoffice draw for anything.. But then, I am a programmer not an artist!

Another thing they were unanimous on was that they loved Blender. As one of them correctly pointed out, it's basically a one stop shop for everything CGI (from modelling, to sculpting, to texturing, to animating, to rendering and compositing, to the fluid/cloth/particle/physics simulation, to games creation, to non-linear video editing). If you have blender, you don't really need anything else. Both of them started modelling with Blender at college and have grown with it over the years, despite moving on to Maya, Zbrush and Max. But again, entrenchment/attachment to Maya, Zbrush and 3DS max means that Blender is unlikely to ever be adopted by their respective employers.

But budding amateurs (like myself), students and cash-strapped startups (game companies/media companies), could do a lot worse than starting out with Blender!

It's the same story with professional audio production - our guitarist owns and operates a 32 track recording studio. And despite being impressed with what can be done with Linux (with a real-time kernel), Ardour, JACK etc on my laptop (which we sometimes use for recording demos when we're on the road). He would rather stick with his Windows/Pro-tools setup in the studio simply because it is what everybody else uses. I know a few other studio owners who feel exactly the same way.

And I'm sure it's exactly the same with the professional video production side of things too.

[offtopic] No I haven't done anything with Flash in a looooong time now! After I stopped working for the elearning company, I gradually lost interest in Flash. But my 10 year old daughter still likes playing some of the silly flash games I made for her back then, and has expressed an interest in making some games of her own. But rather than teaching her Flash/Flex, I was thinking of trying out Scratch, which looks a little more child-friendly and seems like it might be a better starting point for her to get the basics of programming, before moving on to something like Python with pygame.[/offtopic]

Going back on-topic - The video for my bands latest lyric video (see the link to 'Regenesis' by Kinasis in my sig) was created using free-software. I completely forgot to mention that in my last post!

The song was recorded at our guitarists studio (through a 32 channel analog desk, yaay. But on Windows and pro-tools, booo!) and mixed and mastered by Justin Hill (ex-vocalist from Sikth). But the actual video was edited on Kdenlive and Openshot on a laptop running Kubuntu. The simple, 2D Ouroborous (snake eating its own tail) animation in the midsection of the song was created using Blender. The image of the snake and our band logos were created as .svg's in Inkscape. So there's a mini showcase of what free software can do for you! Heh heh!

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