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Dinner with Ton


dinner.jpgEarlier this week I had dinner with Ton Roosendaal in Amsterdam in Jamie Oliver's restaurant 'Fifteen'. As always, it was a lot of fun and we discussed all kinds of Blender topics all night.

We looked back at SIGGRAPH and talked about the upcoming Blender Conference, the possibilities and difficulties of organising a new Orange project, producing books (there are plans for a number of new Blender related books) and redesigning the website.

We also talked about BlenderNation and on the role that it has acquired in the Blender community in only nine months. I was amazed at the lack of such a resource when I started, but Ton pointed out that Blender is one of the few Open Source communities that have such a news-site.

We discussed the plans I have for BlenderNation's near future. I have two ideas that I want to work on and Ton gave me some solid feedback on them. My goal is to be able to tell you more at the Blender Conference next month.

Finally, we talked for quite a while about starting commercial enterprises based on Blender, such as David Millet's new Blender consulting service. Many Open Source zealots despise such endeavours, but as I expected Ton's point of view matched with mine: there's nothing wrong with setting up commercial activities around GPL products and in the long run it can only benefit Blender.

The evening ended with a few beers at the opening party of a new cultural center in Amsterdam. The party was a bit boring, but the evening was excellent ;-)

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. @ShiftingClouds, konrad8ha - true. Most of the things I heard were told on confidence though and I did not want to repeat them here. I've doubted if I should post this on the site because of this, but decided to go ahead anyway - hopefully it's fun to read something a bit more personal for a change ;-)

  2. i agree that it's no shame to make commercial projects with open-source: it's much better to use open-source for these projects instead of stolen licences! Only the developement mustn't be commercial!

  3. The only problem with commercial endevours is that they draw our great programmers and artists to work on some of these commercial projects where they will not, in the end, be at liberty to share their improvements and work, thus slowing blender's development.

  4. Just a quick question, considering this is more of personal post. I was just wondering am I the only one who has a hard time understanding Ton? I went to a Blender BOF at Siggraph a few years ago and didn't stay because I couldn't understand him. Is it just a Dutch accent? Do you get used to it after a while? Is it just me?

    I'm not trying to be mean, I felt so bad that I had the chance to learn from the Blender master and just couldn't understand what he was saying and I wanted to see if I was alone in this.

  5. Jean-Sébastien Guillemtte on

    Morris: That might not be true. If the people from the foundation start a commercial activity outside the foundation, like an animation studio for exemple. Then the programmers working for that commercial company would still be developping blender in the goal of making it better for artists and animator...and they would distribute the source of the new things they add (like they did with project orange). So I don't see where the problem is..

  6. I agree. open source and commercial enterprises can go hand in hand. A balanced approached will probably be best, you know, until we can somehow transform the universe into Nirvana =p

  7. @Ian, Yorik: hmm, let's see... I had ravioli filled with duck and asparagus as a starter and swordfish for the maincourse. Ton had gnocci with mushrooms and a rib eye.. Oh, and BlenderNation picked up the bill ;-)

    @Zxayant: no, Pakhuis de Zwijger:

  8. I'm a bad-tempered zealot
    Put the vendors out of the temple
    Why don't they became stockbrokers?
    There's plenty of computers in the stock exchange market

  9. @Bart : well too bad ;). But you ate well and thus you are growing in my opinion. LOL

    @Jogai : no he is not my hero. I admire his accomplishments and I work hard to the success of Blender though. My personnal hero is a little 8 y/o girl named Noémie.

    @loos: everybody seems uneasy to speak about Ton's hearing problem and that is stupid.
    Some people, quite a few possibly, have a hard time understanding him. But it is nothing different than another kind of accent and after more or less time, that varies from one individual to the other, one gets used to it and forget about it.
    I've worked with impaired children for a little more than 4 years : it takes a lot of work and determination for someone to learn to speak in spite of not hearing well : a lot ! And the man learned a couple more languages on top of that : tip of the hat, matter closed and hopefully, dammit, discomfort an unease gone !


  10. I watched the additionals on the DVD a few times with Ton talking and I got used to it. Being an american idiot, it took a while to get used to Monty Python also, but it was well worth it. Patience and understanding go hand in hand. How long did it take you to learn how to use Blender?

  11. Did not know that trivia about Ton. In a way glad that it was brought up as it has just increased my respect for him. Btw don't have difficulty understanding him (at least thru google video) just was distracted by wondering why his accent was so different.

    Go Ton !

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