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444 comments

Message to people who gripe about interfaces (1, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393290)

First of all, I realize that this e-mail was not necessarily about the interface, but I'm going to prelude these comments with a comment about them anyways.

This is a message directed towards all people who are not familiar with 3d applications. Most 3d applications have historically had interfaces that deviate from the standard application interface. Get over it.

As someone who has been toying with various 3d applications since 1990 and having taken some time to learn Blender recently I can say this. Blender's interface is actually quite intuitive and effcient.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393520)

"Blender's interface is actually quite intuitive" ... that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

here's the thing:

If you can't figure out what stuff does without a video tutorial, then it is *by definition* not intuitive.

I've used 3D application since the late 80's (started with Sculpt-Animate 4D, and have used *many* applications since), and Blender's interface is one of the worst I've ever seen. I'd say it's worse than ever Caligari (the first version) in that at least with Caligari I could actually navigate.

I tried learning Blender recently, and downloaded a video tutorial. The guy presenting it repeatedly used the word "intuitive" - even going so far as to say something like this:

"The buttons don't work the way you'd expect, but once you get used to it, it's really intuitive."

If you don't get how hilarious this is, then you don't know the meaning of the word "intuitive".

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393756)

and Blender's interface is one of the worst I've ever seen

You for sure missed this [blendernation.com] :)

... cue in 3d version of EMACS vs. vi discussion.

CC.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (5, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393778)

Ok, you know what. I doubt there is any convincing you because like so many other people, you've already made up your mind based on what you've heard.

So don't use the word intuitive then because its probably the wrong word to use when talking about 3d software. Let's say this instead, once you've really spent some time learning Blender's interface, you will start to think that a lot of other 3d user interfaces have it wrong. At least I did. I used Imagine for years and I thought Imagine made a lot of sense, but after using Blender for 3 months and actually spending time to learn it, I'm so much faster at creating objects in Blender than I ever was in Imagine.

I think what has happened, is that the myth that it is hard to use has preceded the application. Blender is not the only software with this problem.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393850)

I think what has happened, is that the myth that it is hard to use has preceded the application. Blender is not the only software with this problem.
<cough>Office2007</cough>

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (3, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394028)

that isn't "myth preceded" it's "fact preceded". we've been doing a trial of the thing where i work and after 6 months, we largely chucked it as practically all (about a dozen out of the 2 hundred liked the new interface) the test clients couldn't stand it anymore.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393892)

Ok, you know what. I doubt there is any convincing you because like so many other people, you've already made up your mind based on what you've heard.

The poster you're replying to states 1) he or she has used a wide variety of 3d applications over the past 20 years, and 2) spent effort trying to learn Blender and found it to be lacking in comparison with those other 3d applications. In response you accuse them of already making up their mind based on what they "heard." Did you just not read their reply?

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (5, Insightful)

Trespass (225077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393960)

I just don't think most of the people here understand the difference between 'easy to use' and 'easy to learn'. Blender looks like a really interesting tool, but a lot of people have unrealistic expectations for making complex tasks simple. Having used 3ds Max in a production environment for four years, what's 'intuitive' now is far different from what it was when I started.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393820)

B.S. With the exception of your mother's nipple, you have never ever used an intuitive interface. There is no such thing. Have you ever seen someone try to "intuit" how to use a mouse without even having seen it being used? "Hello computer?" When you say "intuitive", you merely mean "similar to whatever I'm used to". Frankly, efficiency and discoverability are what you should focus on.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394052)

No, he's right. "Intuitive" is the word to describe Blender's interface. It doesn't mean "easy for a beginner", it means that, once you understood how the basics work, you intuitively know how to do the more complex stuff.

Want another FOSS example? Ogre3D's API : it's definitely not easy to learn the basics, but once you know how to create a scene, move objects around and use a listener, you intuitively know what to look for in the API documentation to do whatever it is you want to do. Everything is logical and well laid out.

As a counter example, a non-intuitive interface (again an API), is ActionScript2 (not sure about 3, but I guess it's the same). If you have a condition clause which jumps to another frame/script or stops in case the condition is met, common sense (and your intuition) would say that ANY of instructions after the clause is going to be ignored.

a=1;
if( a==1) { stop(); }
alert("I shouldn't appear if a==1");

will come up with an alert ... now THAT is unintuitive. (excuse me if the actionscript up there is mumbled actionscript.It's more meant as pseudocode.)

Simple interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394192)

Since 3D studio version 3 , I never found an interface which allowed me to do what I wanted easily, including slapping material. Now even 3D studio max sucks (*cough* well... not that I paid for it anyway *cough*).

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393538)

Prolly because you only have been "toying" you don't understand the difference. Blender is worse than 3dsmax, which is quite a feat given that 3dsmax is a fucking piece of shit of interface compared to Maya or Lightwave.

Enough of that blender bullshit hiding behind the complexity of any 3d packages. Yes, 3D is something inherently complex. Doesn't mean that blender isn't doing it much worse than the competition. Switching between Maya, Lightwave or Cinema 4d is much easier than touching the nightmare that is Blender.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (1)

sortia (1191847) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393678)

UI preference is subjective, I happen to like 3ds interface! For me coming from a Windows background it was a fairly common looking layout! Sure some advanced/rarely used options are hidden away somewhere obscure, but no more so than other complex software IMO. Its whatever the user is used to!

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393702)

It is intuitive and efficient IF you take some time to learn it. I know people who work with various 3d applications and blender is just too foreign. Learn Maya and you will know how to work with similiar software. Learn blender and you'll know how to work with blender, and only blender.

It's the start that's the problem, but when you learn it - it is more as just "quite intuitive and efficient".

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393888)

It is intuitive and efficient IF you take some time to learn it.

In the user interface design field, the term "intuitive" is usually used to refer to the subset of usability also referred to as "learnability." Basically, the bigger the learning curve, the less intuitive.

Now poor learnability is not always a bad thing. In many interfaces there is a tradeoff between the learnability and speed and power once the user has overcome the learning curve. For home user applications learnability generally needs to be fairly high at the expense of other types of usability. For professional applications, it is usually less important since as an "expert" the user will take the time to learn the interface and it is more important to be fast and powerful once that has been accomplished.

It's the start that's the problem, but when you learn it - it is more as just "quite intuitive and efficient".

It might be more efficient, but in terms of usability and UI design it is not more intuitive. But that's okay.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393900)

It is intuitive and efficient IF you take some time to learn it.
The definition of intuitive is you DON'T need to learn it. There's not thing wrong with an application not being intuitive and requiring learning before using. Intuitive user interfaces often are horrible for the professional to use. You don't need to redefine the word intuitive, just because you like bender's interface.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393918)

It is intuitive and efficient IF you take some time to learn it.

Which is EXACTLY the point the AC up there ^^^ was making. If you have to "take some time to learn it" then it is not intuitive BY DEFINITION. Something simply can't be intuitive AND have a steep learning curve--they're mutually exclusive. That so many people here seem to want to argue this point just shows how very screwed up some within the OSS community can be, and how out of whack interface priorities actually are.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394138)

Actually, the point is: if you learn a small subset of Blender's commands, all the rest is pretty intuitive to deduce, because all share the same concepts. The hard part is to learn the initial concepts, after that all commands follow the same logic and are natural to invoke, and that's the reason for the great productivity boost.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394186)

Actually, the point is: if you learn a small subset of Blender's commands, all the rest is pretty intuitive to deduce, because all share the same concepts.

This is called "consistent" not "intuitive".

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (4, Insightful)

Trespass (225077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393746)

First of all, I realize that this e-mail was not necessarily about the interface, but I'm going to prelude these comments with a comment about them anyways.

This is a message directed towards all people who are not familiar with 3d applications. Most 3d applications have historically had interfaces that deviate from the standard application interface. Get over it.

As someone who has been toying with various 3d applications since 1990 and having taken some time to learn Blender recently I can say this. Blender's interface is actually quite intuitive and effcient.
I'm sure it helps that you can access all the functions from the GUI now instead of having to memorize hotkeys.

Keyboard shortcuts often make for a more efficient workflow, but *having* to use them makes for a much steeper learning curve.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394108)

As someone who cut their teeth on Blender and is now learning Maya, I find it's lack of hotkeys disturbing.

Instead of memorizing hotkeys, i have to memorize cryptic icons and magically shifting menus.

After 6 months of working with Maya i've found i prefer Blender for almost everything.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (2, Informative)

warlorddagaz (1242518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393786)

I have also been learning to use blender recently, and would agree with you on the efficiency front, but not on the intuitive one - it took me ages to find a decent tutorial (I eventually used the noob to pro wikibook), and without one I was stumped. The problems with the interface for beginners is that not much is apparent - for example, I could create a cube/cylinder/monkey, and with a bit of fiddling managed to make it red and clear, I could sometimes move random nodes. But this was essentially it. The problem comes due to the heavy reliance upon keyboard shortcuts and unnamed icons, which once learned are certainly efficient and easy to use, but they don't facilitate easy learning.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (5, Insightful)

Trespass (225077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394084)

I have also been learning to use blender recently, and would agree with you on the efficiency front, but not on the intuitive one - it took me ages to find a decent tutorial (I eventually used the noob to pro wikibook), and without one I was stumped.

The problems with the interface for beginners is that not much is apparent - for example, I could create a cube/cylinder/monkey, and with a bit of fiddling managed to make it red and clear, I could sometimes move random nodes. But this was essentially it.

The problem comes due to the heavy reliance upon keyboard shortcuts and unnamed icons, which once learned are certainly efficient and easy to use, but they don't facilitate easy learning.
This is a very large and often neglected aspect of learning something as complex and just plain *weird* as 3D modeling and animation: Documentation! Say what you will about the 3ds Max interface (I like it for poly modeling) but the documentation and tutorials are some of the best I've seen for a good introduction to 3D. I found Blender daunting when I last tried it because there really was a shortage of available tutorials and other documentation.

Good documentation will carry a mediocre interface better than poor documentation will carry a great interface.

Re:Message to people who gripe about interfaces (1)

Mystery00 (1100379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394020)

I think you're right, although my reasoning is slightly different.

Comparing 3DsMax and Blender: the basis behind why I prefer Blender is that it's faster to use.

Now you might think this is something that's arguable, but no, not quite. Just like you wouldn't try to argue that a person can outrun a car at full speed, you can't argue that using the 3DsMax interface is faster than using Blender's.

More intuitive? Maybe, how intuitive something is depends on who you are, what you know, where you've been, from how high you have been dropped on your head as a kid etc...

Intuitiveness is so vague and different for each person it's not even worth bothering to argue about it.

I got some screenshots here I took a while ago comparing Blender to 3DsMax, now I haven't used Max for as long as I have Blender and there may very well be some hidden functionality I haven't found, or some plugin that oils this rusty old program. Either way this is why Blender is faster than Max (from the perspective I had at the time)

Filling in a polygon face with Max:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v17/mystery/BlenderVSmax/MaxCube.jpg [photobucket.com]

Filling in a polygon face with Blender:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v17/mystery/BlenderVSmax/BlenderCube.jpg [photobucket.com]

Which method is faster? (That's version 6 of 3DsMax by the way, I hope the modelling tools in the current version have improved, I wouldn't know, I use Blender =)

Intuitive interface doesn't mean usable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394062)

So I've attempted to learn Blender on several occasions (did all the tutorials, worked with it for a couple of weeks). Primarily to make nifty 3D models for use in robotic simulations.

However, each time I just come away frustrated. Dragging around verticies on boxes just doesn't cut it when I want to create even the simplest of geometries.

Perhaps I'm too used to 3D CAD programs, where I can actually specify dimensions. Nowadays when I need a model, I draw it up in Solidworks and export the vrml.

If you have to learn it, it's not intuitive. (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394146)

If you have to take time to learn it, it's not intuitive.

How to improve the user experience on Windows? (5, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393298)

That's easy, release the source.

Re:How to improve the user experience on Windows? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393330)

Blender for Windows is closed source?

Re:How to improve the user experience on Windows? (3, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393372)

I meant the source to windows.

Re:How to improve the user experience on Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393426)

Get the "Praying Mantis" to stay the fsck away from blender?

Re:How to improve the user experience on Windows? (0, Flamebait)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393584)

Really? Looking at how awful and ugly some OSS user interfaces are (see Pidgin as a prime example, or KDE4 - yuck!) I can see why M$ wouldn't be seen dead letting the open-source community fiddle with the Windows interface. True, things like the glassy window borders are pointless, but at least it's mostly aesthetically pleasing, and a lot cleaner and more intuitive than anything written in Qt.

Re:How to improve the user experience on Windows? (2, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393724)

what's wrong with Pidgin's interface? only problem i have had is that they need someoen to go through and relayout the options/prefrence area's. other than that it is quite nice - very clean and straight forward.

Re:How to improve the user experience on Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393752)

Obviously this is a matter of taste but Pidgin ugly? As opposed to Windows Live Messenger? Puh-leeze! Messengers interface is a bloated POS. I don't think Pidgin is perfect but it sure as hell looks better than what MS has to offer.

And Pidgin is a GTK app, so I assume it'd look a bit ugly in KDE (I wouldn't know as I haven't used KDE since 2000 but I do know what QT apps look a bit odd in Gnome).

And Gnome by the way is a lot cleaner than Windows. That was one of the things I really missed when I had to use Windows for a while because my hardware sucked and didn't come with free drivers.

Re:How to improve the user experience on Windows? (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393866)

True, GNOME is quite nice, and WLM is rather bloated, but at least it doesn't have text overflowing out of text labels or badly-proportioned icons.

The problem isn't with Pidgin's look, it's Pidgin's layout. It's totally awful, disobeying just about every UI convention out there. True, it has improved lately, but it still sucks.

A major problem with almost every FOSS UI is that, by default, it uses Bitstream Vera or DejaVu Sans as their system fonts. Both are awful and spindly at low sizes and messy and sprawling when blown up. The first thing I do with any new system is to swap such abominations for FreeSans.

There are a few decent KDE apps, such as konsole and ktechlab, but mostly, they suck. That's why M$ might be deterred from taking advice from certain FOSS developers when it comes to UIs. They've made a good choice with Blender, because that's very good, but don't expect this to become commonplace if certain FOSS UIs continue to suck as much as they do.

For once, this is actually on-topic (5, Funny)

WaltBusterkeys (1156557) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393320)

Will it Blend?

Re:For once, this is actually on-topic (1, Redundant)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393412)

Vista gives the blender a BSOD

Re:For once, this is actually on-topic (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393436)

Probably. It could also burn [flickr.com] pretty well, since burning a CD isn't that hard.

I'm gonna fucking... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393326)

I'm gonna fucking kill yo... err... how can I help your project?

My first thought .... (4, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393344)

Does Microsoft blend?

Re:My first thought .... (1)

bostonsoxfan (865285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393456)

How do you get 79,000 microsoft employees into a bowl. A blendtec 3000 How do you get them out? Nachos.

Re:My first thought .... (1)

jberryman (1175517) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393592)

"Don't breathe the dust: it's pure evil!"

Re:My first thought .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394058)

it may blend but it will never run Linux.

Makes me think of cowboys... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393424)

Every year they heat up their branding irons and "reach out" to the cows.

Made me think of Futurama (1)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393496)

Did anyone else read this as "Bender" at first?

Re:Made me think of Futurama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393550)

Microsoft can bite my shiny metal ass!

Re:Made me think of Futurama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394032)

No.

Irony, much? (5, Insightful)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393438)

FTA:

Specifically, Microsoft is slowly shifting toward a more open standards based approach to its file formats. The ISO standard Office Open XML is an example of the direction we are moving towards.
That pretty much says it all, here.

Re:Irony, much? (5, Insightful)

griffjon (14945) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393750)

What was parent marked as troll? I think the quote pulled is spot-on; MS wants to redefine "open," and will not stop at pretty obvious bribery and underhanded tactics to do it, such as the OOXML debacle. "The ISO standard Office Open XML is an example of the direction we[Microsoft] are moving towards."

Thanks for your battle plan, MS! It's too bad the Blender folks didn't pull a reverse-409 style scam and draw out a new round of Halloween-style Documents.

!GPL != EVIL (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394122)

Yes Microsoft is trying to get a say in what they think Open Source Should be and it is not the GPL. No big suprise here. There are a lot of people (myself included) that don't care for the GPL and even less so for the GPL/3 Yet I am a fan of the ideas open source, but not the Full GPL Version.
Microsoft goal is to make money. <- See that period
With software with a large name such as Microsoft, Adobe, Apple... GNU Open source will not be profitible for them because their competitive advantage is having a nitch in a market OS's, Publising, Office Tools... That isn't easilly replaceable, the GNU Version of open source is in conflect with their Competitive advantage, so duh. They don't want GPL around. But they do see the value of open source however they need to protect their own asse(tt)s. If they support Open Source projects that are more friendly to protecting thier Cometive advantage then they will at the expense of GPL.
Now if you guys keep taking a hard line on this nothing will change, If you guys open up a bit and allow Microsoft to embrace open source to some extent then we all gain some more freedoms. Over time if they see that being more open doesn't effect their competive edge and their money they will gradually get more open. But if you go I WANT IT ALL NOW approch. Then you will get nothing.

Re:Irony, much? (2, Interesting)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393952)

Specifically, Microsoft is slowly shifting toward a more open standards based approach to its file formats. The ISO standard Office Open XML is an example of the direction we are moving towards.
That pretty much says it all, here.

As someone who really prefers open software to proprietary software whenever I can help it, I have to say that I really have no hatred for Open XML. I have no illusion that Open XML is anything other than an attempt by Microsoft to maintain Office market control in the face of increasing government regulations demanding open formats. However, no matter how you spin it, Open XML is better than the older binary blobs. In the whole spectrum of openness, this is a good thing (tm).

Sure, ODF would be better, but Office moving from binary blob to clearly defined standard with a clear "promise not to sue" people who violate the patents in order to implement Open XML is a win for everyone. Not as big of a win as you might want, but it is a win.

And as far as Blender goes, before I read the article I thought that Microsoft were going to try to convince Blender devs to move to .Net on the interface or something that would make it less cross-platform. Instead, they want to help Blender devs implement file formats used in Windows. Microsoft gains something because their file formats will be more utilized elsewhere, Blender gains the ability to import / export to more file formats (which is always a good thing). As long as they don't default to saving to proprietary formats, everyone involved wins again.

Re:Irony, much? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394166)

Investigate OOXML's openness for yourself, instead of automatically and unquestioningly believing what you read on Groklaw or from IBM bloggers, and you will be in for a surprise.

There are commercial interests who had a big stake in OOXML not being approved, and they were not above FUD. Groklaw picked up a lot of that FUD and republished it. A good 80-90% of the claims I read on Groklaw about OOXML that could definitely be checked (such as claims about the terms of the license, or claims about the content of the specification) turned out to be false when I actually went to the license or the spec and read for myself.

"support FOSS application"????? (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393446)

"Continuing its strategy to fight against FOSS application on the Windows platform, Microsoft mailed the Blender developers asking how they could help improve the user experience on Windows so they could laugh at it. Groklaw puts it in perspective using Steve Ballmer's own words."

There, fixed it for you. Microsoft doesn't want "open sores" (as microsoft shills used to call it), which Ballmer once likened to cancer, on their operating system.

If they could make Windows so it only ran Microsoft programs without losing any Windows sales, they would.

-mcgrew

Re:"support FOSS application"????? (4, Insightful)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393708)

I think most of your post is tongue and cheek but...

Back in the day when 3d applications were on Digital, Mac, and Irix machines microsoft focused on getting them ported to NT. This did a good job of killing Digital, Irix, and Apple. Getting Blender, IMHO the 3d tool with the most rapidly growing community, to run "best" on Windows would help thwart adoption of Linux. Not just adoption by users but adoption by hardware makers. If you can keep hardware makers focused on building for your platform, users will not leave.

Re:"support FOSS application"????? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393936)

Actually 3D programs were never that much on Digital machines. Mostly Amigas. The most successful 3D program in broadcast TV was LightSpeed made ONLY for Amiga. It got Ported to Mac and PC when the Amiga died.

Re:"support FOSS application"????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393974)

Back in the day when 3d applications were on Digital, Mac, and Irix machines microsoft focused on getting them ported to NT.
And therefore opened them up to use by more people, rather than only those who could afford those closed, extremely expensive systems.

Re:"support FOSS application"????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394202)

You hit the nail on the head. MS needs the whole software ecology. It's all about network effects: maybe you only need a word processor, but someone you do business with needs CAD, and therefore runs Windows plus MS Office apps. Their MS Office will write it's own idiosyncratic files (nobody said Office must write OOXML, remember, even if it is 'open', which it isn't), and you will need Office to properly interoperate. Or your boss will think you do.

I don't need any proprietary application to do anything these days - except CAD. Which means I continue running Windows. Hate it, but I don't have any choice.

Re:"support FOSS application"????? (5, Insightful)

harrkev (623093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393910)

Balmer's play may backfire. Read the Groklaw post. It is about trying to outsmart Linux by making sure that "open sores" runs wonderfully on Windows, so nobody needs Linux.

The problem is that, once people start using OO, Firefox, etc., they will eventually realize that they can run that exact same software on a free OS.

The shock of changing the OS and the office suite is a lot. However, if you can transition one little piece at a time, Windows is in trouble.

Dumb corporation directive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393450)

Big corporation are dumb as bricks. Some executive at Microsoft probably sent a directive out saying something like "contact all large opensource projects and find out what file formats they use and persuade them to use our new *open* file format." The folks getting these emails like the Blender group is sort of scratching their heads going, "huh?"

Re:Dumb corporation directive (5, Insightful)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393726)

"contact all large opensource projects and find out what file formats they use and persuade them to use our new *open* file format."
Well it may just be the other way around: provide better support for (3rd party!) closed formats on a Windows version of Blender (and if possible, only there). How? Let me guess - cut a deal with such a 3rd party and have them provide detailed format specs (privately to Microsoft), and code up a closed-source binary blob only useable by a Windows version of Blender?

Result: people might have better experience working with those formats when they use Blender on Windows. -> That would make it more attractive to use Windows as underlying platform (if support for those file formats matter to you).

In other words: give a competitive advantage to using Windows, make it less attractive to move to a FOSS operating system.

Re:Dumb corporation directive (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394162)

Well it may just be the other way around: provide better support for (3rd party!) closed formats on a Windows version of Blender (and if possible, only there). How? Let me guess - cut a deal with such a 3rd party and have them provide detailed format specs (privately to Microsoft), and code up a closed-source binary blob only useable by a Windows version of Blender?


My gut reaction was similar. Something like, "how can we get you to use DirectShow API's and such to have some additional file formats transparently supported only on Windows." MS can provide support, so that Blender can deal with system installed codecs, and ASF files, WMF images and Zune content, and whatever else that is pretty easy on Windows, but would be hard to support on other platforms. The more users start posting tutorial scenes with textures and whatnot that are only read by the Windows version of Blender, the more the community is tied to the Windows platform. Possibly even Direct3D API's for dealing with things like ".x" D3D mesh files for geometry.

Frankly, I'm surprised Apple hasn't been way out in front with this. They have QuickTime, which is a set of API's that can be insanely useful for dealing with a whole bunch of different sorts of media content. But, they really only cater to the walled garden of "real" Mac developers. It's a poorly documented API, with terrible sample code. It is also not that hard to use for adding movie support to your own code. I am currently using it on Windows, using OpenGL to display and composite a bunch of layers of video. A good solid API cleanup (which has sort of been happening in fits and starts for years) and a massive documentation and outreach improvement (which seems nowhere in sight) could turn it into something that zillions of programmers use if that have a multimedia program that runs on Mac (or Windows).

Ton only posts a part of the message he recieved (1)

kop (122772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393460)

Did you notice that Ton only quotes a part of the message he received?

The millions of euro's they promise him for joining the dark side are never mentioned......

And he tells Microsoft... (5, Funny)

sokoban (142301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393476)

"Bite my shiny, metal ass."

Re:And he tells Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393692)

Nuts!

Re:And he tells Microsoft... (1)

phtpht (1276828) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394196)

Blite my shiny, metal ass.

Don't Read The Article (1, Insightful)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393480)

It's crap, s/he found letter from ballmer, and then published it with snide remarks every few lines. Quite frankly it adds nothing to the arguement against windows. This really does give a really poor show of the people in the open source community, it's poorly thought out and no different from the knee jerk reaction against anything microsoft.
Blender got an e-mail from MS, how about we hear something from blender or MS, not some anonymous blogger.

Re:Don't Read The Article (3, Insightful)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393528)

This is a perfect example of:

News is information someone doesn't want you to know.

Everything else is advertising.

MS philosophy towards "openess" in a nutshell (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393862)

Transcribed from the Iowa State anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft.
http://antitrust.slated.org/www.iowaconsumercase.org/011607/3000/PX03020.pdf [slated.org]

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Sunday, January 24, 1999 8:41 AM
To: Jeff Weslorinon, Ben Fatbi
Cc: Carl Stork (Exchange); Nathan Myhrvold; Eric Rudder
Subject: ACPI extensions

One thing I find myself wondering about is whether we shouldn't try and make the "ACPI" extensions somehow Window specific.

It seem unfortunate if we do this work and get our partners to do the work and the result is that Linux works great without having to do the work.

Maybe there is no way to avoid this problem but it does bother me.

Maybe we could define the APIs so that they work well with NT and not the others even if they are open .

Or maybe we could patent something related to this.




That's MS's philosopy about "open" standards in 1999, and it's their philosphy in 2008.

Re:Don't Read The Article:Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394026)

Yeah, PJ on groklaw is an anonymous blogger alright...who gets nearly as many hits as this site, due to very good content.
That you, Balmie? Of course you don't want to be convicted BY YOUR OWN STATEMENTS. Especially not by someone who has a very good reputation for telling the precise, carefully researched truth, for year after year, right?
Troll!

Fool me once... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394082)

[...] no different from the knee jerk reaction against anything microsoft.
I've read similar comments trying to make it look like it's not valid to be suspiscious of MS and the people who are, are just a bunch of haters. Well, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

If some weird guy on the street always punches you in the face when you walk past him, do you not assume he will do it this time too? Does that make you a weird-guy-walking-around-on-the-street-punching-people-hater?

There's a reason people dislike Microsoft.

Re:Don't Read The Article (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394098)

Why hello there, Mr. Ballmer. :)

FOSS on Windows (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393506)

This has been said before but it's in Microsoft's best interest to support FOSS primarily on the Windows platform rather than watch FOSS grow anyway on other OSes.

It's a trap! (1)

hairykrishna (740240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393518)

Get the axe.

Interesting example (4, Interesting)

ArIck (203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393522)

I dont know if it is sad or funny that when speaking about open source they were talking about if file systems had any problem.... lets not talk about API or anything trivial like that but hey this file system seems to be really meddling with creating a better UI and experience in Windows.

And OOXML.. seriously! Like how about they just release the stndards of OOXML to begin with!

And so it begins (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393532)

"Microsoft is slowly shifting toward a more open standards based approach to its file formats. The ISO standard Office Open XML is an example of the direction we are moving towards."

So you're moving towards bribery and pollution of international standards bodies and open mockery of the idea of open and standard formats?

Sorry, but after that I would have told him where he could shove it.

Dear Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393540)

We in the F/OSS community are currently investigating how we can provide an enhanced experience for users of F/OSS on your "Windows" operating system. Obviously F/OSS developers should not have to rewrite code to run under your non-standardised platform. Therefore we suggest colinux, the linux kernel running as a windows service as a sensible route. Your users, developers and the F/OSS community look forward to working with you to improve NT support for colinux.

captcha: monopoly

It is not going to happen. (5, Insightful)

dysmey (1165035) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393564)

From what I have read of the original posts on the Blender site, it looks like the Blender project will tell Microsoft to go away.

After the OOXML fiasco — Microsoft must truly be deluded to think this is a good example of their openness policy — it is only right that the Blender project, knowing what would happen to them in the end, should reject Microsoft.

Re:It is not going to happen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393832)

I don't think they should turn them away. Why should they?

They should tell something like: "Give us money on the promise that Code remains GPL, always)"

How else are they going to help anyway? I am assuming they are not going to give their own programmers for Blender.

In the direction of... (1)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394154)

Is OOXML "really open?" Absolutely not. Did MS Engineering produce a "more open" file format than the previous monstrosity, absolutely. There are definitely poorly defined chunks of OOXML that require reverse engineering to master, but the previous file formats required reverse engineering for EVERYTHING. Now, MS's business unit decided to corrupt a standards process to push their nonsense through, and that should be condemned, but we shouldn't deny reality, and that reality is that OOXML is in the direction of more open file formats.

Natural progression (4, Funny)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393576)

1. Get your "Open" standard recognised
2. Get other companies to use your standard
3. ????
4. Profit

But in all seriousness, this is the next logical progression for the OOXML beast. They wouldn't have gone to the trouble of ramrodding OOXML through the standards process if they weren't going to try and leverage it somehow outside of being able to say they have an open standard. Using OOXML would cripple a multi-platform application, but that's not their problem. They've -always- tried to force people into their rut and they've been quite successful at it in the past. I just don't think they "get" that developers aren't going to shoot themselves in the foot by using OOXML.

Re:Natural progression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394126)

No question marks are necessary for 3.

3. Emend the "standard" in your own program in an incompatible way, and try to push that version as the "de facto standard".

Who's vulnerable? (2, Interesting)

ichbineinneuben (1065378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393616)

Which FOSS projects are most vulnerable to this approach? A list of those approached would be interesting.

Have about opening the MS formats (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393642)

The thing that gets to me is how can a *proprietary* company ask an *open source* community to help make the *open source* work better on the *proprietary platform*. I mean doesn't that strike people as... stupid? Why not the proprietary company just... *read* the source code for themselves? Don't they have enough money to *hire* developers to work on blender? Why do they think that people who provide their own free time should work to support their *proprietary* platform, which by their own business model is built on charging people for the privilege of using their OS?

What, it's ok for MS to charge people to use their software, but it's not ok to expect MS to shell out some money for other people's software? MS wants the software for free?!?!

mod parent up (5, Insightful)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393782)

Exactly so. If Microsoft really wants to improve the software... then commit your own programmers to the project and put your improvements back into the community.

You're crazy! (5, Insightful)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394118)

MS normally reaches out to developers through the paid developer channels. As a result, OSS developers were ignored by Microsoft. Microsoft creates a new position to reach out to them, and contacts them saying, "How can we help? Is there a file format problem? We're working on making our file formats more open, is there something that we can speed up that would help," and you all make snide remarks.

If file formats are not a problem, than a simple, "We're fine for now, but when the issue comes up, I will pass your contact information on to developer with trouble, here's my vCard, let's keep in touch," would be fine.

Microsoft isn't passing any judgment here. Windows competes with Linux in the marketplace, Blender is an application that runs on Windows and Linux, the company that makes Windows reaches out offering to help because they want Blender to run really well on Windows.

It's not about Microsoft WANTING the software for free, the Blender guys GIVE the software away for free, to Microsoft and everyone else. This is simply Microsoft realizing that their competition with Linux and other Open Source PROJECTS doesn't mean that other applications should be supported as well as other third party developers. I'm sure that Microsoft gives Adobe support because they want Adobe products to run as well or better on Windows as Mac OS X, now they are offering support to Blender.

The Blender guys may not need/want that support, but this is Microsoft "getting it," and Slashdot users NOT "getting it." The software marketplace is not proprietary vs. open source, it's not non-Free vs. free, it's product area by product area. I find it unlikely that Microsoft would offer support to the Open Office guys, because OO running better on Windows hurts their market leading Microsoft Office product, but other areas that Microsoft doesn't compete in, they can offer them support.

I would expect MS to be willing to support The Gimp writers as that program gets better, because Microsoft is indifferent between users running Windows/Photoshop and Windows/Gimp, and would like EITHER scenario better than OSX/Photoshop, OSX/Gimp, or Linux/Gimp.

How the sleep at night? (0, Troll)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393654)

FTFA:

"Specifically, Microsoft is slowly shifting toward a more open standards based approach to its file formats. The ISO standard Office Open XML is an example of the direction we are moving towards."

I mean when they say that, does the person at the other end of the phone put the line on mute and roll over laughing for a few minutes? Or when they're composing the email, does the writer actually believe what he (or she) is saying? How does the person who wrote this actually sleep at night?

Like They Never Did with SoftImage (3, Informative)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393658)

They should have done something similar with SoftImage for the time they actually *owned* the company. SoftImage on Windows was a terrible, horrible experience, they clearly simply got it compiled onto Windows and that was it.

I was at an animation shop for awhile where we had both the Windows and SGI version of 3.7 and the Windows version *ran* faster, but crashed a whole lot more. Finally the two guys begged for anything, even Indys, to get their work done.

Finally they sold SoftImage to, was it Avid? I can't remember now. It was clear to us, anyway, that Microsoft simply wanted to show that NT could compete with SGI in heavy-duty graphics work, but they did a terrible, terrible job of it.

That said, both Max and Maya work pretty well (I know, Max was always a Windows-only product), but neither were ever owned by the company who actually wrote the OS.

Blender for Windows Already Pretty Good (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393660)

Better than linux, in fact. At least, to this dabbler. I've tried it under my chosen linux distro (Ubuntu) and when I want to do anything more than rotating the starter-cube, I reboot into windows.

Granted that could be because my (now ancient) Radeon 9600 XT is not very well supported in Ubuntu, and the interface is a bit sluggish there on my machine compared to XP, even for non- complicated3dgraphicsfiddlingtasks, like web browsing. So I'm not ready to blame the blender team for its usability under linux on my computer. Especially as render-times are quite similar.

Re:Blender for Windows Already Pretty Good (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393894)

Hm, could you explain a little more what is different between Blender under Windows and Blender under Linux? I was under the impression that its pretty much the same thing, since it has all its own GUI components and doesn't really make much if any use of OS specific features.

Bite my shiny metal.... Oops! (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393712)

Anyone else glance at the subject and first thought it said "Microsoft Reaches Out To Bender"?

plus 23,K Troll) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393768)

by the po0litickers real Problems

Microsoft reaches out to Bender (1)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393790)

I really have to pay more attention when reading Slashdot headlines.

Re:Microsoft reaches out to Bender (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393804)

Actually, I thought it said "Microsoft reaches IN to Blender"

My first reaction was...ooh, that's gonna hurt.

They don't really need Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23393806)

Actually.. Microsoft doesn't do anything that nearly competes with Blender. The should just add support for OpenNURBS (which is already free anyways).

The FA says . . . (0, Troll)

rfc11fan (922027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393816)

"Please also include in that list any Microsoft files that you might have trouble with."

3-word answer: "All of them."

OOPS!! My bias is showing!!!

Does MS understand what Blender is? (5, Interesting)

Dracos (107777) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393834)

Based on the snip that Ton posted, I get the impression that MS doesn't comprehend what Blender is, or how it works. File formats? That's low on the list of Blender's issues with Windows. Never mind that OOXML's status as an ISO standard is debatable.

If MS wants to support Blender (and lots of other FOSS software) on Windows, they need to put real effort into supporting OpenGL. FOSS developers don't generally bother with supporting DirectX and OpenGL, and most of the time supporting Windows at all is an afterthought.

But, MS won't do it because that would make it easier for games to be developed for Windows and anything else.

Re:Does MS understand what Blender is? (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394150)

So that should be the reply. Plain. Simple. and Polite.

"Sir, we could really use some help with beefing up the OpenGL support on Windows."

If you say, "F-off", then they go back to the EU judges and say, "Gee, sir! We offered them help, but they gave us the back of their hand."

But, if you publicly ask for help, and they turn you down after making an open offer....

how i look at it (4, Funny)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393842)

you can dress a pig up in fine clothes and jewelry but underneath it all is still a stinking filthy pig...

How about... (2, Insightful)

Marsala (4168) | more than 6 years ago | (#23393854)

Not making it a fscking mission to get your Blender work (sorry, "assets") into XNA's Content Pipeline?

That seems like a good place to start. :)

Wait for MS hand to enter, then turn it on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23394142)

With some good timing, we might be able to start an open-source project concerning recipes for MS body parts similar to that Open Beer project.

Simple answer (4, Funny)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23394168)

how they could help improve the experience of Blender users on Windows.
by migrating them to linux...
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