RenderPixie is a website by designers, for designers, including information relating to software for designers. This includes open-source software where the source code is made available with a licence, giving the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose in open collaboration.

History of free and open source software

Open-source software development provides a more diverse scope of design perspective than any one company could develop and sustain long-term. Open-source software models have also saved consumers millions of dollars each year.

In the early computing, programmers and developers shared software to learn from each other and evolve the field of computing. By the 1970s, software was commercialised, but in 1998, Netscape Communications Corporation released their popular Netscape Communicator Internet suite as free software. This source code subsequently became the basis behind SeaMonkey, Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird and KompoZer.

In February 1998, the free software movement, emphasising the business potential of sharing and collaborating on software source code, was re-branded as "open source" and the launch of The Open Source Initiative encouraged use of open-source principles.

Commercial software vendors found themselves increasingly threatened by the concept of freely distributed software and universal access to an application's source code. A Microsoft executive publicly stated in 2001 that "open source is an intellectual property destroyer." Yet a decade later, Microsoft and other large companies had developed official open-source presences on the Internet due to the value proposition from open source with regards to security, affordability, transparency, inter-operation ability, flexibility and localisation.

Definitions

The Open Source Initiative's (OSI) definition is recognised by global governments. Open source not only applies to access to the source code, but distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:

Free Redistribution

The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge.

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

Integrity of The Author's Source Code The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor.

The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution.

The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

The Open Source Definition helped define the terms of usage, modification and redistribution of open-source software. Software licences grant rights to users which would otherwise be reserved by copyright law to the copyright holder. For example, the GNU General Public licence "allows free distribution under the condition that further developments and applications are put under the same licence".

Open-source software development

When an author contributes code to an open-source project, they do so under an explicit licence or an implicit licence. Some open-source projects do not take contributed code under a licence, but require joint assignment of the author's copyright in order to accept code contributions into the project.

With so many unique licences, there are increasing complexities in deciding how to manage open-source usage within "closed-source" commercial enterprises. An important legal milestone for the open source / free software movement was passed in 2008, when the US federal appeals court ruled that free software licences definitely set legally binding conditions on the use of copyrighted work, and they are therefore enforceable under existing copyright law. As a result, if end-users violate the licensing conditions, their licence disappears, meaning they are infringing copyright. Despite this licensing risk, most commercial software vendors are using open source software in commercial products while fulfilling the licence terms.

What is Pixie Renderer

Pixie is a free, open source, photo-realistic ray-tracing renderer for generating photo-realistic images. Developed by Okan Arikan and George Harker from the University of Texas, Austin. Pixie is a RenderMan-like photo realistic renderer. It has been developed as a useful graphics research tool and for people who can not afford a commercial renderer. Pixie is licensed under GNU Public License. Most important features are: Reyes style rendering, motion blur, depth of field and global illumination.