POV-Team Status Report - January 2004
Dear POV-Ray Community,
Thank you for all of your enthusiastic support for POV-Ray. It is
because of you that this labor of love continues to exist and grow. As
many of you know, our next release was previously stated to be POV-Ray
However, several months ago the POV-Team decided that the changes in
what was then still POV-Ray 3.51 are much more than just a simple bug
fix release. In fact, by that time a few small new features had already
been added and major work on reorganising the documentation had been
completed. Further, there have been a lot of internal improvements
mostly invisible to users - including a much more comprehensive
abstraction layer between the GUI versions and the core code - which
both increase stability and prepare for the future.
Another important change are the license terms. The license under which
POV-Ray 3.5 is distributed was less than satisfactory in several ways.
First of all, it was difficult to understand for the average user
because it was very long (having been built upon for almost ten years).
Secondly, some companies have in the past managed to find loopholes to
distribute POV-Ray 'for profit' legally, but in ways not at all in the
spirit of the license.
So, for the next release of POV-Ray there is a new license specifically
for end users, which does not attempt (like the previous one) to cover
distribution. We feel this is a logical step because most people who
download POV-Ray only want to use - and not distribute - it, and thus
don't need to see the portions of the license that relate to
distribution (which actually was the largest part of the old one).
There will be separate licenses for all the other means of distribution.
The basic terms of the license have NOT changed. POV-Ray is still free
as always, but now comes with a license everybody can understand easily.
There is more! During the last year the POV-Team was able to contact all
of the major contributors to the code base, and as a result will now be
managing the source code rights under the umbrella of the company
"Persistence of Vision Raytracer Pty. Ltd.". This follows the path many
other open source projects have taken in the past. It offers many
benefits for developers by protecting them against individual legal
issues as well as providing developers with a legally recognised body to
deal with POV-Ray license violations.
Due to the many changes, and also that there are just a few minor new
features in the POV-Ray renderer itself, the POV-Team decided that the
next version will be POV-Ray 3.6. Currently there is no final list of
all the new features, however you may like to note that there are no new
objects, patterns or textures.
The initial public beta versions of POV-Ray 3.6 will be made available
for the individual supported platforms in the next few weeks. At first
the beta version releases will not be simultaneous for all three
supported platforms - this will happen towards the end of the beta
cycle, when all supported platforms are ready for a final release.
There will be, as usual, a final binary release for Windows (95 and
later), Mac OS, and x86 Linux. As always, shortly following the release
of official final binary versions of POV-Ray 3.6, its source code will
be released (unix users in particular may be pleased to learn that there
is an an entirely new build system in place).
Please note that there is no firm schedule for the final release of
POV-Ray 3.6. We have a reputation of releasing very stable software and
intend that to remain so. The final version will be released when we are
happy with it, and not before. We cannot give a date for this!
Also, please understand that at this point we do not wish to be drawn
into discussions about POV-Ray 4.0, as we are concentrating on 3.6 and
do not want distractions.