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Blender's GNU GPL license is sometimes considered restrictive, since we can't link to or include non-GPL-compliant software. Many users would love to see Blender get a good FBX import working, for which Autodesk released an SDK (closed library for linking, not open source).

Apart from restrictions on the GNU GPL side, there's a really big restriction in the Autodesk FBX SDK license as well.

FBX SDK EULA, Full text, rtf

Apart from the enormous long texts claiming excessive limitations and Autodesk exclusive rights on the SDK itself (you have to make users accept the Autodesk License, and ask them to download it from their site), there's only 1 point really describing what your rights are:

  • 1.1.3 (you can) reproduce, distribute and sublicense free of charge or for a fee Licensee Product(s) provided that Licensee must sublicense the Software, the Developed Software, the Library, the Sample Code(s) and the Modified Code(s) “as is”, without warranty of any kind. Various License Types are described in Exhibit B. In any case where the License Identification does not specify a License Type or Permitted Number, or there is no License Identification, the License Type will, by default, be the Evaluation License and the Permitted Number will, by default, be one (1).

Exhibit B describes only licenses similar to how Autodesk releases software. These are all restrictive, individual, non-transferable and non-shareable agreements. More over; the default Evaluation license expires usage after 30 days.

Even when we would add a GPL exception clause to link with the FBX SDK, the restrictions on FBX itself would still impose an unacceptable limitation on spreading Blender.

Ton Roosendaal August 4, 2011