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Most of this talk page needs to be archived. Discussion about if POV was open or otherwise has been resolved by the November 6th release Of POV 3.7 under the AGPLv3. I've no idea how to archive this and am wary of falling into the trap. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:20, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

If the source is freely available, and there are codeforks, how is not open source? Perhaps it should read "The software is open source under the terms of the POV-Ray license"? --cprompt

Probably because the POV-Ray License says it is not open source. Don't want to get into legal entanglements :) In short they say it is not open source because when it was first developed, it was done so under a non-OSS license (since the GPL was virtually unheard of at the time), and it would be unfair to those who contributed to the code to go changing the license now. -- Wapcaplet
Fair enough.

Some remarks:

"A Turing-complete C-like scene description language ..."

POV SDL is not C-like. It has nothing of the typical C-like features. The syntax of for example #while and #if conditionals is quite different. And don't be fooled by the #include statement, it has nothing to do with a pre-processeor. I would just leave out the "C-like" in the quoted line.

On at least two occasions POV-Ray is referred to a modeller. Although with the addition of macros, functions and loops it has gained better tools for making models, POV-Ray is still "only" a render engine. This may be also be the cause of some errors in the 'primitive' chapter

Regarding the last paragraph of the primitive section. " The primitive system in POV-Ray also has a number of weaknesses. For example, objects which cannot be accurately described by the geometric primitives present in POV-Ray must be approximated using a mesh of polygons."

If it couldn't handle the triangle primitive or the mesh object, one couldn't make these objects at all. So I don't see the availability of mesh as a weakness.

" POV-Ray is not as well-equipped as some other rendering software to handle complex objects with many polygons."

Actually it is a lot better at that than many other rendering tools. One can declare a mesh once and then instantiate it many times without using much more memory. The meshes used can be as big as the amount of RAM in a machine permits.

" "Bending" of objects in POV-Ray cannot be done without resorting to exotic techniques, such as tesselation"

Bending is not a rendering but a modelling feature (altough it could be done with curved light rays). Yet some objects are 'bendable', like isosurfaces, bicubic_patches but it takes some heavy scripting.

I'd just leave out this whole paragraph.

Well, the SDL resembles C. Someone familiar with reading C code would have little trouble interpreting POV-Ray SDL. Feel free to take it out, or rephrase it.
I don't see where POV-Ray is actually called a modeller. Modelling is mentioned in the context of CSG; POV-Ray is compared with "other modelling software", which could probably be better explained; you're right in pointing out that there is often some confusion about the difference between a modeller and a renderer. Believe it or not, I had a university professor, whose specialization was computer graphics, who did not grasp this distinction; he said on several occasions that the three kinds of "modelling" were "polygonal, raytracing, and radiosity." I took an entire graphics course from this guy :-)
Anyway, I agree with many of the points you make here. That whole section is pretty vague and could use some clarification; please feel free to rewrite it!
-- Wapcaplet 19:31, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)


Is it proper to signify all the trademarks in this article with "tm" ? Wikipedia doesn't seem to have a policy on this, but from what I understood of the Trademark article, "tm" is primarily supposed to appear in material produced by the trademark owner. It doesn't seem proper for an encyclopedia. I haven't removed the "tm"s (not wanting to start an edit war ;-) but I believe they should go.--Ejrh

I agree, I was never really comfortable with having them in there either. -- Wapcaplet 16:14, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Ok... I can't resist.... shouldn't this article be banned for inherrantly not being NPOV? Running away fast..... - UtherSRG 16:25, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)

This sounds like a weapon that destroys otherwise well-written Wikipedia articles =D Ed Cormany
I agree. I think we should move this article to NPOV-Ray immediately. -- Wapcaplet 18:14, 27 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure why there's so much confusion about the licensing of POV-Ray. Why does it have to be connected to the GPL in any way? I think instead of making such unclear statements in the article as "While the programs source is in the open, it cannot be redistributed(?)" (complete with question mark), or "not sure if that means GPL or not...", it'd be better to leave them out entirely. POV-Ray is licensed under the POV-Ray License. Nuff said. Leave it to the articles on open source and free software to explain the nuances. I don't fully understand the POV-Ray license myself, but we shouldn't try to explain it if we don't understand it :-) -- Wapcaplet 22:08, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Even the POVray folks themselves say it's not Open Source - the legal document attached with the release has a section entitled "WHY ISN'T POV-RAY OPEN SOURCE ?" and goes on to say "While the POV-Ray™ source code is freely available, it isn't 'open' according to the currently popular definition of the term (meaning that it isn't available to create derivative works).". So User: Paullusmagnus' restoration of the "not open source" sentence was correct. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 13:10, 24 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I am not really comfortable with the sentence "POV-Ray is freeware, and although the source code is available for modification, it is not considered open source by most people." There's not really any room for opinion on the issue; POV-Ray is not open source. The authors of the software and its license say it is not, and they are the only authority on the issue. The reference given for the sentence in question is taken straight from the POV-Ray license. I am changing the sentence to reflect this. If we must relate the license to open source in some way, we should at least be clear on matters of fact. -- Wapcaplet 01:15, 25 Apr 2004 (UTC)

On further reflection, using the definition "open source software is any software whose source is available", POV-Ray could be considered open source. The POV-Ray License is not, however, an open-source license. -- Wapcaplet 01:20, 25 Apr 2004 (UTC)
The term "open source", as applied to software, was invented by Christine Peterson in 1998, and popularized by the Open Source Initiative in the ensuing years, as a substitute for the term "free software", to refer to software whose users have a specific set of freedoms, including the freedom to create derived works; in the few weeks after the term was invented, they edited the Debian Free Software Guidelines slightly to create the Open Source Definition. The term has been consistently used by a broad open-source community during the eight years since then to refer to specifically the meaning defined in the OSD. Please don't spread confusion by inventing your own subtly-different definitions for the term, such as "any software whose source is available". It would be great if POV-Ray were open source, and maybe some day it will be, but neither the open-source community nor the POV-Ray team is currently trying to confuse the issue by claiming that POV-Ray is open-source. Kragen Sitaker 19:03, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
using the definition "open source software is any software whose source is available", Windows could be considered open source. --anon 01:27, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
According to that page, Microsoft source is available to participants in the programs listed. Povray source is available to all. —Tamfang 06:24, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Would be nice to show some samples of photo-realistic work on this page. There are some great ones out there, and the photo-realistic stuff is what wow's people the most if they are new to raytracing. 19:43, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

I just added a such a picture to the page --Gilles Tran 15:52, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Friday; February 8, 2008, The POV-Ray OpenWik is down —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mattclare (talkcontribs) 14:16, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

I thought it quite ironically amusing that an article about POV-Ray should have so much "POV" in it! I just cleaned out a lot of the blatant unbalanced praise that was in there (including of my favourite POV-er of all time, so I'm not being mean) but I'm still not sure if the current state is appropriate. WP:NOT a repository of links; so what criteria makes an artist notable enough to appear on here? Maybe artists featured on the POV-Ray hall of fame? Perhaps even no artists at all, and focus on links to artist directories. I don't know at the moment... comments? BigBlueFish 19:22, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Keep all external links. I'm not going to make a long-winded argument in support; just in general, for any piece of software, I want to see the longest list of external links. Biased or whatever, I don't care -- I'll make my judgements when I get there. At minimum, move all links rm from article to a list. John Reid 21:47, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Being the author, owner and representer of the web page, as well as the software, of HTTPov, I cannot add it to the External links section as another distributed rendering system. However, I feel it does fill a void left by POV-Anywhere, linked from there, as it is able to communicate via HTTP. One thing I can do, though, is to casually drop the link in the vicinity of some neutral and independent Wikipedia editors, and see what they think of it. After all, Wikipedia was one of my very first stops when I searched for such a system a year ago. Tamarinen (talk) 14:13, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Per Wikipedia WP:EL I'm going to remove most of the links here, Wikipedia is not a directory.

  • Offical: The links are extraneuos because they can be gotton to from the main pov site.
  • Other POV-Ray resources: keep the dmoz link, everything else must go fourms(usenet) are not good and people can use google to find pov objects
  • Collective galleries and competitions: everything goes, if contestss are notable put them in the article
  • Notable POV-Ray artists: same as above, shuold wikilink if notable
  • Unofficial patches an the rest: wp not directory for patches, add-ons, if they are notable maybe they can be put in a seprate artice like List of POV-Ray Add-Ons.

Thats it, this is a couple years old so i'm going to make the changes now. →(SpeakMorgothXHavoc) 06:59, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Change the infobox image?[edit]

I think we should change the image in the infobox to glasses (from teapot). Indeed I think we should remove teapot from here altogether - it's only here because at the time this article didn't have an image. It isn't, and never was, a representative example of what POV-Ray can be used for. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 20:37, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't think it would be an objective ideal. The glasses still life has a somewhat artistic expression to it, whereas a representative image should be a neutral demonstration. However the teapot doesn't demonstrate much reflection or refraction. Maybe somebody could make a new example (in a while I might try if nobody does, but I'm useless at POV-ray) with, perhaps, three spheres on the ubiquitous checkered plane, one glass, one chrome and one coloured to demonstrate reflection, refraction and radiosity. A Utah Teapot with a glass spout might not have the same effect! BigBlueFish 13:20, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
When I added the infobox I used the teapot image because it was the first one in the article, not because of any representation. I can make a new image if the teapot falls out of favour (the spheres seem simple enough). Shen 19:28, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
I am dismayed to see that there is no shiny sphere over a checkered plane. I'll get on it any month now. —Tamfang 05:23, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
be sure that it has some HDRI applied to it. it's the latest fad... :P namekuseijin at 3 April 2006

I'm reverting User:Bruce89's last edit: the box image sure looks like a teapot to me (though the Povray logo is also there above it). —Tamfang (talk) 02:28, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

SDL info[edit]

I've seen a lot of links for POV-Ray in the reference section. I'm interested in SDL since a user named it in shading language talk page but I cannot affort wandering thuru all of them to find the needed information. Could you please point out a few 'best of' links about SDL for me? Thank you,
MaxDZ8 talk 06:47, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Why is this in Category:Free graphics software, when it isn't Free?[edit]

September, 2006 discussion[edit]

The category describes itself thus:

This is a category of articles relating to software which can be freely used, copied, studied, modified, and redistributed by everyone that obtains a copy: "free software" or "open source software". Typically, this means software which is distributed with a free software license, and whose source code is available to anyone who receives a copy of the software.

POV-Ray: a) Cannot be freely copied, modified or redistributed: it has 'distribute xor modify' restrictions like Pine has, and has many additional restrictions on both distribution and modification, any one of which would be non-free. Clause 1.3 of the modification license (the only clause that grants permission to modify), alone, is sufficient to contradict the category's requirements that the software be freely modifiable (I reordered the clauses for a more sequencial read):

 1.3. Subject to this clause 1.3 and the balance of this clause 1, you are 
      granted the privilege to modify and compile the source code of the 
      Licensed Version for your own personal use if such modification 
      fulfils one or more purposes set out in clause 1.1. 
 1.1. The source code of  POV-Ray is provided to: promote the porting of 
      POV-Ray to hardware and operating systems which POV does not support; 
      promote experimentation and development of new features to the core 
      code which might eventually be incorporated into the official version; 
      and provide insight into the inner workings of the program for 
      educational purposes.
 1.2. Except as expressly set out in this agreement, or permitted by another 
      agreement between you and POV, any use or modification of any POV-Ray 
      source code is expressly prohibited.

b) Is not '"free software" or "open source software"', by the developers' admision in their own license document --anon 01:27, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

The povray article explains the restrictions, as well as the historical reasons for them. IMHO it is close enough to the definition of free software to merit inclusion (and excluding it from the catagory would, IMHO, be the greater sin). It might be better to slightly re-word the category to allow a little flexibility. Tomandlu 09:55, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Possibly instead there should be a category/the category 'free graphics software' should be renamed to "gratis graphics software" (and any other gratis graphics software that isn't free be added to it)? Massaging the definition so that one particular piece of non-free software can be fitted into it seems dishonest.
On a personal note, I'm not convinced that 'free enough software' is a good thing. Gratis software with interesting restrictions provides the same barrier to entry for a newcomer that an established free project does, but without contributing back in the same way that a free project would. elaborates on this somewhat.
Finally, could you confirm that povray is actually attempting to become free? The explaination is gone from the latest license statements, and there is rumbling that the povray team is actually rather attached to their no-fork, no-commercial, no-embedding clauses. ( ). Further circumstancial evidence for the prosecution: POV-Ray has been 'wanting to relicense' since December 2001, and yet in nearly five years, nothing has happened. The statement of the developer's intention to relicense under a Free license was taken out of the license document in June 2004 ( ) --anon 13:15, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, I can't comment on the developers current intentions - however, the delay (given that a change in the licence terms will require a full rewrite of the source) is understandable.
As for the "contributing back" stuff - it's not worked that way for pov - overloading and adding new functionality to pov has always been possible without modifying pov's source (e.g. megapov), and many of the advances in pov have come about through these means (e.g. the inclusion of iso-surfaces in pov came from code originally in megapov).
I was thinking of "contributing back to the community": while people can put their stuff into POV, they can't put POV's stuff into their projects. --anon 13:52, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I have to admit to some sympathy with the "no-fork, etc." view, but that's another matter... Tomandlu 13:37, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
I see nothing on the Category:Free_graphics_software page that formally disqualifies POV-Ray from being listed there. To clarify: the POV-Ray license allows copying, studying, modification and redistribution. Whether the restrictions imposed by the POV-Ray license (restrictions like they also exist in other free software licenses) are a reason to not call it free is subject to interpretation. The excerpts you cited from the license are not sufficient to form a qualified opinion on this though. There is no no-fork clause (see MegaPOV - and no no-commercial clause (the word 'commercial' or equivalent terms do not occur in the current license). The POV-Ray article is perfectly clear on this and does IMO in no way try to mislead the reader about the fact that and why POV-Ray is not open source according to the OSI definition. The Free graphics software page IMO does well in not forcing a certain interpretation here.
no-fork clause: "all Modified Versions that you create must, in substance, be modifications of the Licensed Version." ( This means that while you can fork POVRay, this is where it ends. No other entity can build on your code.
no-commercial clause: "4.3 Where the making, or the provision, of a copy of the Software is authorised under the terms of clause 3 but not under those of clause 2 of this agreement, the total of all fees charged in relation to such making or provision and including all fees (including shipping and handling fees) which are charged in respect of any software, hardware or other material provided in conjunction with or in any manner which is reasonably connected with the making, or the provision, of a copy of the Software must not exceed the reasonable costs incurred by the Distributor in making the reproduction, or in the provision, of that copy for which the fee is charged. " (
You apparently completely misunderstand the parts of the license you are quoting. I hate to repeat myself but there is no no-fork and no no-commercial clause in the license. The various unofficial versions (see the POV-Ray article for links) are the best proof for the lack of a no-fork clause. POV-Ray has been used extensively for commercial purposes and i have done paid work in modifying and extending POV-Ray myself and know others who have done the same. The claim the POV-Ray license forbids this or that the POV-Team has an interest not to allow this is frivolous. The purpose of the section you quoted is to avoid disguising of the fact that POV-Ray is free. You may of course not like this and refrain from using POV-Ray because of this but it would be quite questionable to remove POV-Ray from Category:Free_graphics_software and thereby force your opinion on others. Since the licensing is prominently discussed in the POV-Ray article it is unlikely that a reader coming through the category page is deceived concerning the licensing situation. Imagico 17:44, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
It is my belief that POV's licence, regardless of whether or not it is Free Software, is contradictory to the criteria for inclusion in Category:Free Graphics Software, as described by the page itself. As you feel strongly that POV belongs in this category, please address the concerns I describe immediately below. -- [User:anon|anon]] 23:17, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I already did so: "I see nothing on the Category:Free_graphics_software page that formally disqualifies POV-Ray from being listed there.". Furthermore: "Whether the restrictions imposed by the POV-Ray license (restrictions like they also exist in other free software licenses) are a reason to not call it free is subject to interpretation.". Remember that Wikipedia should maintain a Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view - it is inappropriate for a category page to only include items that fall into this category according to your (or the FSF) definition of it. Imagico 06:15, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Let me amend that to 'please address these specific concerns, using something other than proof by repeated assertion '. While you say you can see nothing on Category:Free_graphics_software, I can see that it requires that the listed software be freely modifiable (POV-Ray isn't), and freely redistributable by everyone that obtains a copy (POV-Ray isn't). I've gone into specifics before; please address them.
From my point of view it is absolutely clear from the statements i made and repeated what i mean. But i try to be even more specific. Nearly all Programs listed in Category:Free_graphics_software (maybe with the exception of those in Public Domain or under some variants of the BSD license) have restrictions imposed to the right of redistribution. The GPL for example has them in section 2, for example 2.b) "You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License." - see Other licenses have other restrictions (like for example related to software patents owned by the one who redistributes etc.). And as said: "Whether the restrictions imposed by the POV-Ray license ... are a reason to not call it free is subject to interpretation.". The description on Category:Free graphics software does not draw a line which restrictions disqualify a software to be listed there and neither would it be compatible with the spirit of Wikipedia to draw such a line based on an arbitrary interpretation. Imagico 17:30, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Please show me either an interpretation of Category:Free_graphics_software's description that allows POV-Ray's license (I'm not even sure if the lax interpretation I came up with for sake of argument would permit POVRay (It still requires allowing redistribution by anyone that receives a copy, which is a right not granted to anyone on POV's Revocation List (, section 4.4) ). ), or an interpretation of POV-Ray's license that is compatible with the discription given by Category:Free_graphics_software (be sure to address the following concerns: the Revocation List hindering redistribution, the inability to convert POV-Ray into a library hindering modification, and the inability to bundle POV-Ray with non-software goods hindering redistribution. If you're feeling keen, you might also want to tackle the various things you can't put on the same CD). Alternatively, re-word Category:Free_graphics_software to allow things that are 'free software' by your definition. -- [User:anon|anon]] 16:00, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
The only way the various licenses are consistent with Category:Free Graphics Software, is if you interpret its description thusly: "This is a category of articles relating to software which can be (freely used), copied, studied, modified, and (redistributed by everyone that obtains a copy)" (and ignore the phrase ":free software" or "open source software").
If you read it in any other way, for example, "This is a category of articles relating to software which can be (freely (used, copied, studied, modified, and redistributed) by everyone that obtains a copy)", it's clear that POV does not fit this definition. That it may not be freely modified (you can't, for instance, modify it into a library for Blender, or make it behave in an incompatible way to the original) is sufficient to disqualify it, but in addition it cannot be freely redistributed (for example, it can't be distributed as part of a Live CD, unless you're a "generally recognised Distribution of a recognised operating system", and it can't be stuck on a coverdisk (4.1. Nothing in this agreement gives the Distributor: (c) any right to bundle a copy of the Software ... with any other items, including books and magazines.) ). --anon 13:52, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
There is absolutely no reason to assume the plans of the POV-Team concerning the licensing of a rewrite of POV-Ray have changed - as can easily be seen from public statements in the POV-Ray Newsgroups ( Note there was never the intention to relicense the current POV-Ray source code as it is clearly said in the 3.5 license:
 Therefore, POV- Ray[tm] will remain on this  existing
 license until we  do a full  re-write (which is  intended for v4),  at
 which time a new license will  be instituted that is far more  liberal
 in terms of reuse.
which was removed from the license simply because it does not belong there. Parts of the considerable efforts to clarify the origin of the different parts of the POV-Ray source code are documented on It is usually more reliable to look for first hand information on such matter on the POV-Ray newsgroups and website than in the wild guesses posted in some debian mailing list... :-)
Thankyou for doing this research. To paraphrase Chris Tarrant, 'It's only easy to find when you know where to look'. Interestingly, the post you link states: "POV-Ray version 4.0 will be under a different license. Yes, we will have replaced the parts of the source that we cannot re-license.". Have they maybe changed their mind about rewriting from scratch? --anon 13:52, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Conjecture: The parts that do not need replacing were written by identifiable people who have consented to the relicensing. —Tamfang 06:29, 17 September 2006 (UTC)
And please read Wikipedia:Sign_your_posts_on_talk_pages. Imagico 21:08, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Done. --anon 13:52, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I wonder since when has "free" become a synonym for "distributed under an OSI-compliant open source license". For example Word Viewer by Microsoft is free but not open source. Opera is free but not open source (iirc). You don't have to pay anything to use them: They are free. I think that the FSF has hijacked the word "free" in relation to software and given it a much stricter meaning than it really has, and everybody seems to have gone in the same bandwagon. Wopr 23:10, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
You're confusing the terms 'free', and 'free software'. Opera is free (gratis);, Seamonkey is free software. I think the blame for establishing the term 'free software' can be divided evenly between the FSF and Debian. --anon 13:52, 14 September 2006 (UTC).
It's very unreasonable to take a word pair which has a very common and logical meaning , give it a much more restricted meaning and then expect people to not to get confused. There's absolutely nothing wrong in this kind of thinking: "It's software. It's free. Thus it is free software." You can't just go and arbitrarily change the meaning of commonly used words and then expect everybody to obey that new meaning. If the FSF wanted a unique non-confusing term for what they now call "free software", they should have used something a lot more unambiguous. Wopr 18:38, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
The term 'free software' does not need to be established - it is a natural english language term formed by the adjective free and the noun software. The fact that the FSF is using the term with a very special meaning does not devaluate other meanings. See also free software (disambiguation). Imagico 17:44, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
The term 'software' does not need to be established - it is a natural english language term formed by the adjective soft and the noun ware. Just because everyone else is using the term with a very special meaning does not devaluate the 'manufactured stuff that isn't hard' interpretation. --anon 16:00, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Your sarcasm is rather invalid. "Soft ware" is in no way a commonly-used term to refer to anything. Also, even if someone got confused about the meaning of the word "software", it would be about something completely unrelated to computers and thus there's no real confusion there. What I mean that it's not very likely that someone says "this is not software" and someone else says "yes it is" because that just doesn't make any sense. Even if some kind of confusion would happen with the term "software", it's innocuous. However, the situation is rather different with "free software": If someone says "this is not free software" from a software which can be used for free, then a rather relevant confusion is likely to happen: People might think that it is a commercial software which you have to pay for. Thus it completely reverses the meaning of "free". Also, unlike with "software", which is very rare to cause confusion, using a different meaning for "free software" than what people intuitively think is very likely to cause confusion. The problem is thus much more relevant in the latter case. Wopr 14:47, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

March 2007 Discussion[edit]

I think the subcategories of Category:Free software are clearly for Free software (as the FSF understands it) and open-source software. Look to both the verbiage of the subcats and the inclusion/exclusion of particular programs (other than this contested one) within the cats. POV-Ray's license is not acknowledged by FSF or the OSI and it does not satisfy DFSG or the FSF's "four freedoms." I love POV-Ray & use it often, but it doesn't belong in the free software category just quite yet. --Karnesky 22:41, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Please do not change the category without Wikipedia:Consensus - there has been a long consensus about POV-Ray being in that category, your claim in the edit summary is distorting the facts.
The problem about citing the FSF or OSI for the definition of a category is that this would be in conflict with Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view - these organizations' standpoint can be understood as biased and therefore not suited for defining a Wikipedia category (and therefore Category:Free_3D_graphics_software does not use such a definition). Please read the discussion above and address the points pointed out and give others the chance to reply before changing the category.Imagico 12:26, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Keep in mind that there is no consensus to keep this in the Free software category. The fact that you've personally had to revert category changes by three separate wikipedians in the last few months speaks volumes for that.
I won't immediately take it out of the free software cat myself, but maybe you shouldn't be so quick to put it back in every time somone takes it out.
Please indicate factual inaccuracies in either my comment or my edit summary.--Karnesky 14:43, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
In contrast to what you said there has been a long time consensus about the presence in Category:Free_3D_graphics_software - check the article history for this. The discussion in September 2006 (see above) did not result in a change in that consensus since there were no convincing arguments brought up against inclusion in that category. The arguments you brought up until now are based on the subjective definitions of origanizations that cannot be considered neutral and therefore following your path of argumentation would be in violation of Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view. Imagico 16:22, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I see no consensus:
It has spent more time outside of free software cats than in them. Since it was placed in Category:Free 3D graphics software, it has been removed by three different Wikipedians on four occasions. You've been the one to put it back. This seems like WP:OWN problems to me! Whatever historical context you'd like to argue, there doesn't seem to be consensus now. --Karnesky 17:10, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
This history excerpt prooves exactly what except that it has been attempted various times recently - without any discussion and despite lengthy arguments being available on the talk page - to change the category?Imagico 19:48, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I disagree that the history "proves" consensus. This point isn't worth arguing, though: WP:CON#Consensus can change --Karnesky 20:16, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Note if you create a category definition for Category:Free_3D_graphics_software that fits into Wikipedia policies concerning neutrality, that is accepted for that category and that clearly disqualifies POV-Ray from being listed i am perfectly all right with POV-Ray not being included there. But to me it seems unlikely that this is possible without the title 'free 3D graphics software' being very misleading and the definition therefore biased. Imagico 16:22, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
We appeal directly to the "Free software" and "open source software" articles. I'd personally be willing to accept DFSG (or the open source definition) or the FSF's four freedoms. This program meets none of them. --Karnesky 17:10, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I did read the discussion--before I posted and before I reverted. If you want "free" to refer to "free as in beer," perhaps you should ask that the category be renamed for clarification. Every other product in that category is free/open source. It is a disservice to the readers that this app isn't categorized the same way other freeware is categorized. --Karnesky 14:43, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
The fact that certain organisations have redefined certain words (and associations of words) of the English vocabulary doesn't make it right or authoritative. As far as I know, neither the OSI or the FSF are standard-setting bodies. Actually there's something slightly Orwellian in such a vocal and persistent redefining of the word "free"... We're free to use the word "free" but only in the way it's been defined by some guys somewhere, and all people should toe the party line. Yeah, sounds just right. The fact is that POV-Ray has always been free, as in beer and as in speech: you don't have to pay for it, and you can modify it and redistribute it. That was the case before the RSF's more stringent definition of "free software" became popular and POV-Ray users have been enjoying these freedoms for the past 16 years (it's older than both Linux and Apache). This is what should be taken into account, not some definition made up of hijacked English words.
It should be noted, also, that a small but vocal number of free software (in the FSF meaning) advocates have been pestering the POV-Ray community for years with all sorts of whining and downright FUD about the license (saying for instance that it prevents the dissemination of images made with it). These folks typically show up any time POV-Ray makes the news: they do not care about what the software does, or about what its developers and users have achieved with it (which should be something to be proud of, as a fantastic example of what free software can do), only about its oh-so-evil-because-not-written-by-the-FSF license. Needless to say, these kinds of zealots haven't endeared themselves to the POV-Ray community, and give a bad name to the free software (sensu largo) movement. --Gilles Tran 16:00, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
FSF has not defined or redefined any word from English, they have defined a term. "Free software" is not an adjective+noun pair, it is a term with a meaning. Gronky 16:05, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
'Free software' is a natural language term that has had a meaning before and still has a meaning outside the FSF.Imagico 16:22, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
In Why isn't POV-Ray open source?, the POV-Ray team agrees that it isn't open according to a "the currently popular definition." --Karnesky 17:22, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
That's exactly what is written in the article - no one ever claimed the POV-Ray license is (or ever was) OSI compatible.
As already said multiple times neither the FSF, the OSI or the Debian project are in any way authorative for encyclopedic content on Wikipedia. Therefore any argument for removing POV-Ray from that category that is purely based on such biased interpretations of the term 'free software' is not compatible with Wikipedia policy. Unless you start to address this issue this discussion is not leading anywhere i think.Imagico 19:48, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I really don't think this is an issue about bias. The category has verbiage defining itself, and this article doesn't fit into that definition. I think there is a strong consensus that there should be Free/Open Source categories. If you're seriously trying to challenge that consensus, I don't think this article is the place for that to happen. --Karnesky 20:17, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I am pretty sure if you define Category:Free 3D graphics software by citing the FSF or OSI (rather than citing them as examples for software that falls in this category) most Wikipedians will not consider this compatible with Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view. Imagico 20:44, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
We're not making value judgements here. We're simply stating a definition for a category and trying to following it. --Karnesky 21:02, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
In addition, note that while the category gives a summary of what it's definition is, it links to free software for a complete definition, and POV-Ray seems to fail that complete definition of "free". Gronky 15:47, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
What is more disservice to the readers -- Having a program in a software category that does not fit in there according to some opinions or having a program not in that category although a lot of people would expect to find it there? Note the POV-Ray article is very clear and descriptive about the license, there is hardly a risk that a reader is mistaken about the precise nature of the POV-Ray license. Imagico 16:22, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps we should ask on other free 3d apps talk pages to weigh in? My concern isn't just about making sure that this article shows the right category--I agree that the descriptions here are sufficient to give clarity to those who read the article. My concern is that, when you go to the category page, we don't list all of the caveats. The description in the cat doesn't apply fully to this article, so we should either change the description or take it out of the category. --Karnesky 17:10, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Freeware category[edit]

As there is no consensus that POV-Ray belongs in Category:Free_3D_graphics_software, and wikipedians Imagico and Gilles Tran object to its inclusion in Category:3D_graphics_software since it is available for no cost, I propose moving POV-Ray to Category:Freeware_3D_graphics_software (a sub-category of Category:3D_graphics_software and Category:Freeware) along with the following articles:

--Hamitr 18:46, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

That's the ideal outcome for me. Both the "free software" subcat and the "freeware" subcat could have "see also" links to aid readers. --Karnesky 19:09, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
The others have been moved. --Hamitr 19:36, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Maybe it would be better if the freeware category was a 'proprietary freeware' category. Otherwise, all the free software would be also added to the freeware category. Such massive overlap is bad. Just an idea. Gronky 19:36, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I see your point. I think that the description should clarify that by mentioning and/or linking to freeware rather than adding "proprietary" to the category title. What I was trying to achieve is a logical sub-category of Category:Freeware much like Category:Free_3D_graphics_software is of Category:Free_software. I simply copied the first sentence of the freeware category description without the "This category should not be confused with free software." --Hamitr 20:09, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think such a category makes sense in the way you propose it. First of all Category:Free_3D_graphics_software would have to be a subcategory of it since all programs in Category:Free_3D_graphics_software are 'available free of charge'. Furthermore 'available free of charge' is no way a well defined category - for example Maya (software) could be formally placed in that category (since there is a version available for free) but is hardly seen as 'freeware' by anyone.
But as said if you create (or change) a category in a way that clearly defines its scope and thereby excludes POV-Ray that complies with Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view i have no objections not to include POV-Ray. Imagico 19:48, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Yet Category:Free_software is not (and should not be) a sub-category of Category:Freeware. I'll work on clarifying the difference in the description.
This is somewhat off-topic here but unless you can point out a program in Category:Free_software or subcategories that is not available free of charge it should be a subcategory of Category:Freeware as it is defined right now. Imagico 20:33, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
As far as certain versions available for free, I tried to add only articles for the freeware versions (e.g. TerrainView-Lite rather than TerrainView). --Hamitr 20:09, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
People still seem to miss the point that the original POV-Ray license, for all intents and purposes, is a free beer/speech one, just different from the FSF one. Several graphic freewares quoted above don't have the source code available and are 100% proprietary. The POV-Ray development model, with its user-submitted patches and its user-created versions, is much closer to the FSF-endorsed one. Frankly, the best solution would be to amend the free software definition to take care of special cases like this, saying for instance that while free software encompasses mostly FSF software, there are also some non-RSF software in it for historical reasons. There were patched versions of POV-Ray in 1993 and people could already tinker with the source and disseminate it.
I understand the concern of those who want to stick to precise definitions, but excluding POV-Ray on that sole basis is like saying that the Wright Flyer wasn't a plane because it wasn't certified by the FAA (and the FAA is at least authoritative, unlike the FSF...). --Gilles Tran 20:22, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think people are missing anything. There is general consensus that
  1. POV-Ray "isn't 'open' according to the currently popular definition of the term (meaning that it isn't available to create derivative works other than fully functional versions of POV-Ray)."
  2. WP should have categories representative of that popular definition (which is agreed upon by the FSF, the OSI, and many, many others).
WP is describing the modern convention (which POV-Ray has acknowledged) here, rather than prescribing one. --Karnesky 20:39, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
No, and please stop claiming consensus on something without citing a source for that. Mere popularity of an opinion has never been a valid argument in Wikipedia. POV-Ray 'is not open source according to the OSI definition of the term' - nothing more, nothing less. Trying to vary this and thereby trying to claim something broader will not lead you anywhere. Furthermore you fail to address any of the arguments brought up by Gilles. Imagico 20:59, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Can you please say which point you're disagreeing with? (1) is a direct quote from the POV-Ray team. (2) is evidenced by the numerous free software cats that do use the definition as I've applied (to the methodical exclusion of Pine (e-mail client), Scilab, and others). This is much stronger evidence than any you've presented for why you believe there was consensus to keep it in the free software category. --Karnesky 21:09, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I disagree with
  1. (1) saying that there is consensus that 'open' means 'available to create derivative works other than fully functional versions of X' (X meaning POV-Ray here).
  2. (2) that there is consensus that the 'Free 3D graphics software' category definition should be directly based on the FSF, OSI or Debian definitions.
  3. your explanation of (2) that the definition of 'Free 3D graphics software' category already uses the FSF, OSI or Debian definitions. Imagico 21:43, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Other examples of "almost free" software not in free software cats: rn (newsreader), Angband (computer game), figlet, MAME, Snes9x, agrep, clustal --Karnesky 21:51, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I can't help noticing despite repeated invitations there has not been any argument mentioned for not including POV-Ray in Category:Free_3D_graphics_software except the repetition of referring to FSF, OSI and Debian definitions. Imagico 20:59, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
(Definitions which are acknowledged by POV-Ray!) And I can't help but notice you don't offer arguments to keep it here other than that you don't like that definition and that you see some-sort of "consensus." --Karnesky 21:09, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
My argument is the same as in the September 2006 discussion. You (and neither anyone else) did actually address this. I cite its central part here again:

Nearly all Programs listed in Category:Free_graphics_software (maybe with the exception of those in Public Domain or under some variants of the BSD license) have restrictions imposed to the right of redistribution. The GPL for example has them in section 2, for example 2.b) "You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License." - see Other licenses have other restrictions (like for example related to software patents owned by the one who redistributes etc.). And as said: "Whether the restrictions imposed by the POV-Ray license ... are a reason to not call it free is subject to interpretation.". The description on Category:Free graphics software does not draw a line which restrictions disqualify a software to be listed there and neither would it be compatible with the spirit of Wikipedia to draw such a line based on an arbitrary interpretation. Imagico 17:30, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

And yet, you are actively lobbying to draw a line based on your interpretation. --Hamitr 21:49, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
No, i am not lobbying for any line here. You could argue that i indirectly suggested not to include Maya (software) in that category and thereby drawing a line but i don't think this is subject to discussion (especially not here). Imagico 07:17, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
So you reject the widely accepted FSF, OSI, and DFSG definition, even though it is acknowledged by the POV-Ray team, and would rather employ the Gilles Tran/Imagico definition in order to expand Category:Free_software and its 32 subcategories for the sake of one article. Is this correct?--Hamitr 20:39, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
There are two significant differences: POV-Ray requires all original features and functions in derived versions and it prohibits commercial distribution of modified programs (NOT of rendered scenes, which has been implied in above discussion). Would you be happy if we modified the definition of the free software cat to explicitly state that these rights are important? --Karnesky 14:49, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
As said: if you create (or change) a category in a way that clearly defines its scope and thereby excludes POV-Ray that complies with Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view i have no objections not to include POV-Ray. If you intend to modify the text of Category:Free_3D_graphics_software i would strongly suggest though to first discuss your intended change on the corresponding talk page since it is very likely to raise NPOV issues.
Note 'prohibits commercial distribution' is not correct - there are various conditions but no general prohibition of commercial distribution - see: If anyone has troubles understanding these admittingly fairly complex rules feel free to ask. Imagico 16:13, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
The specific points which makes commercial distribution impossible are 3.2.iii., which states no charge is being made for the granting of a licence over the Software. and 4.3, which severely limits what can be charged. --Karnesky 16:38, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
And these provisions were added to prevent users from being ripped off by unsavory and unethical software vendors, something that had happened in the past... If this is supposed to be a bad thing, the mind boggles. :( --Gilles Tran 16:48, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
That POV-Ray has those terms is neither "bad" nor "good." It just runs counter to the most popular definitions of free/open source software (which are linked to in the category suggestion). This categorization is neither good nor bad, either. Both points are merely facts. --Karnesky 17:29, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
It's relevant, because as Paul Stansifer points out below, POV-Ray is developed in the same spirit as free software (FSF-like). Trying to prevent abuse from shady vendors was done because such abuse went counter the idea of giving software away (something that wasn't exactly obvious at that time). In other words, the past efforts of the POV-Ray developers to create a safe environment for users of free software is now being used to deny POV-Ray the right to belong in a category that it helped to define by its very existence. How many popular free software created in 1991 are still around and kicking, btw?
About the most popular definition of "free software" being the FSF one, sure, if you ask people who are already aware of those license thingies in the first place and who know what "source code" is. For the other people, free software is software that's, uh, free. In French, "logiciel libre" is at least a new language creation but in English the difference between free software and freeware is really in the eye of the beholder (the latter term being derived from the first...). For the umpth time, conflating "free software" and "FSF compliant software" is an abuse of language, only admissible as a practical shortcut in certain circles. --Gilles Tran 18:25, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I would say that POV-Ray is distributed in the same spirit as free software. What we're talking about is a legal technicality, but licenses are legal constructs. Paul Stansifer 17:35, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Let me get this straight for everyone: The mentioned part of the POV-Ray license says that everyone who charges money or takes other compensation for distributing POV-Ray has to make clear to his 'customer' in advance that the money is not a license payment for POV-Ray but a payment for the service of distribution.
You argue now that this make POV-Ray 'non-free' because it limits the ability for the one distributing to charge money for this. Interestingly section 2b of the GPL says: You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License. I have the impression that according to your argument GPL software is not free either. Imagico 17:49, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I thought you were "getting it straight." Read 4.3 of POV-Ray. The total of all fees charged in relation to such making or provision and including all fees (including shipping and handling fees) which are charged in respect of any software, hardware or other material provided in conjunction with or in any manner which is reasonably connected with the making, or the provision, of a copy of the Software must not exceed the reasonable costs incurred by the Distributor in making the reproduction, or in the provision, of that copy for which the fee is charged. Thus, you can't profit. Please show me similar limits imposed in any other free/open license. --Karnesky 18:32, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
If you think allowing to charge more than what is reasonably connected with the making, or the provision, of a copy of the Software is necessary for a software to be 'free' you can reasonably call POV-Ray non-free. It should be fairly obvious however that section 4.3 is intended to avoid someone making money by hiding the fact that POV-Ray is freely available to anyone. Imagico 18:58, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
This is getting amusing. So the definition of free software/FSF is now "Software That Is Free, But, You Know, Sometimes You Have To Pay For It"? The POV-Ray license is at least consistent with one age-old definition of the word "free", that needs not to be repeated because it's bleeding obvious. IMHO, POV-Ray is the only actual free software here :D --Gilles Tran 18:53, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Free software allows, but does not require, developers to charge a financial fee. Furthermore, free software allows, but does not require, developers to be able to remove features/functions or to selectively borrow them. I don't know how either point (especially the second) is murky. --Karnesky 19:22, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
No, that's "free" as defined by the FSF, not "free" as understood by basically everyone else. "Free" in common speech means "at no monetary charge", ie. can be used without having to pay anything. "Free" does not imply "can be modified" or anything like that (except in the FSF's definition of the word). Wopr 14:19, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Wopr, please see the discussion below which addresses that we are not debating the definition of the word "free." Rather, we are discussing the term "free software." Furthermore, the word "free," even as used in common speech, has more meanings than simply "at no monetary charge." Its meaning in the term "free software" is free as in freedom. This definition of the word "free" was hardly coined by the FSF. --Hamitr 15:05, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
There are two things that are being debated here:
  1. whether "free software" refers to something more than freeware
  2. if it does, what specifically does it refer to.
You are challenging (1), which has been countered that it ISN'T just the FSF that defines it this way (see below).
I was clarifying (2) to Imagico and Gilles Tran. --Karnesky 14:39, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Free software categorization straw poll[edit]

The discussion is getting somewhat unwieldy to track. In the interest of keeping track of everyone's opinion, I think a WP:STRAW poll is appropriate. This will not be a substitute for discussion and a majority does not necessarily indicate consensus. Karnesky 22:19, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

What category should POV-Ray be placed in?[edit]

Please sign your name using four tildes (~~~~) under the position you support, preferably adding a brief comment. If you are happy with more than one possibility, you may wish to sign your names to more than one place. Extended commentary should be placed below, in the section marked "Poll discussion", though brief commentary can be interspersed.

Free 3D graphics software[edit]

Category:Free 3D graphics software is the current category, which some (but not all) believe refers specifically to free software (as defined by the FSF/OSI/DFSG/etc.)

  • Indifferent yes. I think there might be some further comment in the article about the genuinely ambivalent status of pov-ray whichever way the vote goes, but I also think users can reasonably expect to find it in that category. Why not just accept that pov-ray is an edge case and err on the side of generousity? Tomandlu 22:48, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Yes. The POV-Ray license allows it to be 'freely used, copied, studied, modified, and redistributed' with some restrictions imposed especially to the right of redistribution which vary from those considered 'allowed' by the FSF and other organizations. It is therefore my belief that most readers will expect to find it in that category as it is described right now and that a neutral, unbiased definition of this category does not exclude POV-Ray. I am still interested in clear arguments not citing FSF, OSI etc. based on the actual POV-Ray license terms against its inclusion. Imagico 06:21, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Definitely yes. Wikipedia should follow English usage, not the FSF usage of the word free. If some people want the Free 3D Graphics Software Category to contain only FSF compliant software, then the title of the category should be changed to "FSF Compliant 3D Graphics Software". Beetle B. 15:40, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Seconded. Torf 18:50, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
      • Again, if common usage is the only problem, what is wrong with using "freeware" instead of "free?" --Karnesky 15:40, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
        • This discussion is not about POV-Ray's presence in the 'freeware' category, it is about Category:Free 3D graphics software. If you want to discuss the former make it a new discussion and first address the issue of 'free software' being or not being a subcategory of 'freeware'. Imagico 16:04, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
          • I'm pretty sure that there is, in fact, a poll choice to have POV-Ray in the freeware category. --Karnesky 16:38, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
            • So what? - after all you made that poll. POV-Ray's presence (or non-presence) in the 'freeware' category is not a matter of dispute. Imagico 17:10, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
              • The people participating in the poll who've only picked a single choice would seem to disagree. Please don't try to suppress discussion. --Karnesky 17:17, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
                • I guess those people are able to speak for themselves. Imagico 18:45, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Definitely yes. 1) Free software != FSF compliant software. Not everything you read on Wikipedia is true :) 2) POV-Ray is a significant part of the history of free software (beer/speech). People were tinkering with its source code and were already disseminating patched versions before the internet made FSF-compliant licenses popular with a larger public. Some of the folks who worked on it in the early days, like Tim Wegner or Andreas Dilger, were also involved in the free software movement (PNG specification). There is no reason to rewrite history by excluding POV-Ray from the free 3D graphics software category on the only ground that it doesn't comply with its narrowest possible definition. Again, a better solution would be to accomodate the free software definition in WP so that it encompasses borderline cases like this one. It really doesn't take much. --Gilles Tran 16:31, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Seconded. Flabreque 12:31, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
  • POV-Ray can be "used, copied, studied, modified and redistributed with little or no restriction". It allows freedom 0, 1, 2 and 3 as defined on the Free software article. It does have restrictions, but arguing that these restrictions are not small is bound to be not a neutral point of view, and I haven't seen any arguments yet that don't refer to arbitrary specific software licenses, some of which have their own restrictions. 18:08, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Definately Yes. To include it as only Freeware detracts from the ability to do so much more than just "use" the software for no monetary cost. What Freeware exists that allows you to recompile, add functionality, and redistribute? (see MegaPOV as an example of such a work, based on POV-Ray [1]). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
  • Having used POV-Ray for more than 10 years and having followed its development over that time, I agree that it should be listed in this category for the reasons already outlined above. Noodles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
  • The free and freeware categories should be merged into "Free 3D graphics software" and a new category "Free software 3D graphics software" or "3D graphics software with a free software license" or something else unambiguous created for specifically FS programs. NicM 12:10, 18 March 2007 (UTC).
    • If you agree that POV-Ray is not "free software," perhaps you should be advocating (1)placing POV-Ray in the "freeware" category and (2) changing the name of the "free xxxx software" category to something less ambiguous? --Karnesky 15:34, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
      • I do agree that the names should be changed, but until there is a consensus to do so, I think the category should include all definitions of "free." NicM 00:38, 19 March 2007 (UTC).
  • Free 3D graphics software! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Freeware 3D graphics software[edit]

Category:Freeware 3D graphics software denotes software that doesn't cost anything, but which doesn't expain whether or not the source is available

  • Descriptions are clear and follow the most popularly held definitions. Other "almost free" software is in "freeware" instead of "free." --Karnesky 22:28, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I would dispute that they are the most popularly held definitions. The top twenty or so Google hits for "free software" is at best 50-50, and I wouldn't say that was really an unbiased sample. NicM 12:15, 18 March 2007 (UTC).
      • I was merely paraphrasing what the POV-Ray team, themselves, had said. Furthermore, no one has provided a current WP:RS which says "free software" merely means "no cost software" --Karnesky 12:25, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
        • Uh? The POV-Ray team has never said, to my knowledge, that POV-Ray was not "free software". They do acknowledge that it is not "open source", for the very good reason that this term is a neologism, coined in 1998 precisely to avoid the "ideological and confrontational connotations of the term free software" (says the WP page on open source). This is why "POV-Ray is not open source" is clearly indicated in the WP page. Nobody has a problem with that and it's an official POV-Ray policy. OTOH, if you really want to know the position of the POV-Team about whether or not POV-Ray is "free", you can ask them... About "reliable sources", it's been said countless times: one doesn't need a reliable source to redefine the English language. Go down the street (if you happen to live in an English-speaking country), avoid the tech-savvy districts, and start asking random people what [free]+[sofware] can possibly mean. If more than 5 people out of 10 are able to give you the FSF definition without blinking, you win :D --Gilles Tran 13:23, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
          • Let's remove the "Domain-specific programming languages" cat, because there's no way that you'd get 5/10 people to tell you what that means.Karnesky 15:32, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
        • The category doesn't say it is "free software" it says it is "free." That doesn't need a reliable source, it's standard English usage, any dictionary will tell you that "free" has two meanings and one of them is "without charge." NicM 12:52, 18 March 2007 (UTC).
          • The category description does say that it is for "free software." --Karnesky 15:44, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
            • It is not enough, and I think the fact that this debate is even happening is pretty good evidence. We should strive for the category title to be as clear and unambiguous as possible and in this case there are many options. NicM 00:42, 19 March 2007 (UTC).
        • The assumption that the POV-Team has at any point said POV-Ray is not 'free software' without referring explicitly to the FSF definition is without basis. And to my knowledge there has not been a statement WRT free software at all, official statements generally refer to 'open source' - in most cases even more precisely '... according to the OSI definition' or 'OSI-approved' (as correctly put in the POV-Ray article, see also Imagico 15:57, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
  • It should be in "freeware", thats where it belong. POV-Ray is not free software. -- Frap 22:15, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • POV-Ray definitely falls into this category since it is available "free of charge." The widely accepted purpose of the Free category should not be changed for a single article's inclusion. --Hamitr 22:21, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Fortunately, POV-Ray 4.0 is expected to really be free software, and put an end to this. But, as I understand the term is used on Wikipedia, POV-Ray is currently just freeware. Paul Stansifer 22:46, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Haven't thought about it, but I was asked to comment, so: yeah, this works for me. —Tamfang 23:49, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • I think this category would be fine. --ZeroOne (talk | @) 23:57, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • freeware. Gronky 08:58, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Poll discussion[edit]

I was the one who initially created the Category:Free 3D graphics software, the intention being that POV-Ray should be included in it. I'm sorry if I have worded the category description ambiguously. I think POV-Ray should be kept in that category and the category description changed accordingly, if needed. It's just yet another regular Wikipedia user who created that category, it wasn't written into stone by a god... I think this category should include both free-as-in-speech and free-as-in-beer pieces of software. Many different categories for such a minor topic, 3D graphics software, seems like an overkill. Too general categories named like "Freeware" won't help anyone either and just bury the article deep into the seventh sub page. --ZeroOne (talk | @) 23:03, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

It'd be in Category:Freeware 3D graphics software, which is still very specific. --Karnesky 23:27, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia has over 50 categories using the naming convention "Free"+type-of-software which are for software that is free software. Having one category that uses the same naming convention but has a different definition would be very confusing - and there's not even a compelling reason to do this. Gronky 09:04, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I see the alternative choice of this poll a bit problematic since as outlined above 'Free 3D graphics software' should be a subcategory of 'Freeware 3D graphics software' as the definitions are right now since all items in the former also fit into the latter. I would encourage anyone giving an opinion in the poll to also participate in the discussion and to actually give concrete arguments for or against inclusion in the 'Free 3D graphics software' category and to address those arguments made by others. Imagico 06:17, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure this is appropriate. Free software is not always freeware. Free software can be sold, for any price. Gronky 09:06, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
As said i am pretty sure all programs in Category:Free software are 'available free of charge' - would be happy to see a counterexample though. So unless the definition of Category:Freeware 3D graphics software/Category:Freeware is changed there is no reason why it should not be a subcategory. Imagico 09:29, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
It isn't an "alternative choice," as the phrasing If you are happy with more than one possibility, you may wish to sign your names to more than one place. is meant to make clear. It also isn't a "vote." If there is consensus that it should be in the free software category, which should be a sub-cat of the freeware category, there's no reason that can't happen. I think they might be two separate questions--should POV-Ray be in free software & should free software be in freeware. We're trying to generate consensus for the former. The latter will require input from more people & discussion shouldn't be centralized on this page (though thoughts/discussion on that topic could certainly influence the immediate choice of which cat POV-Ray belongs to). --Karnesky 14:15, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
For whatever it is worth: I think POV-Ray belongs in freeware and doesn't belong in free software ("yet"). I don't really have a strong opinion on if free software should be under freeware. --Karnesky 14:15, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

There have been several comments throughout this discussion that the meaning of the words "free software" have been "hijacked" by the FSF, "free software" should only be used in accordance with the "English usage, not the FSF usage of the word free", etc. Yet, as user anon pointed out above, "free software" is a term which happens to use the English word "free." Many other terms do the same: free market, free trade, free will, free energy, etc. These terms have significantly different meaning than the combination of their component word definitions. "Free software" is also a term with deeper meaning than its component words. --Hamitr 18:20, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

As pointed out several times by several people the term 'free software' was a valid english language term before the FSF and it it still understood by many people in a way that differs from the FSF interpretation. Also note adding additional specifications to a combined term can change the meaning - 'free nuclear energy' is probably not understood as a special form of 'free energy' by most people. Imagico 20:24, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Do you have any reliable sources for your claim that the term 'free software' is "still understood by many people in a way that differs from the FSF interpretation?"--Hamitr 22:21, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh come on - a quick search on google:
Needless to say that this list could be easily extended beyond belief. Note this list does not need to fulfill the criteria of WP:RS since it merely demonstrates the use of the term and is not supposed to be used in encyclopedic content. It demonstrates clearly that a lot of readers will expect something different under a free software category than the FSF and it is not Wikipedia's purpose to teach them a new use of language. Imagico 06:14, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
So despite being pointed to reliable sources for "free software" referring to "free" in the "open source" sense, you're unable to provide a reliable source which agrees with your reading? --Karnesky 14:48, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
So i am pointing out several prominent uses of the word 'free software' in the sense of 'available without charge' and the possibility to find probably hundreds more and you continue claiming that 'free software' is only used in the FSF sense. BTW what was the reliable source for that again? Imagico 15:53, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
For what it's worth, Microsoft calls Media Player & al. "free software"... One may dispute the lack of bias of the source, but it certainly shows that they have a legal standing to do so, and that they do not worry that much about Media Player being mistaken for "free software" à la FSF. --Gilles Tran 22:45, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

As Category:Free_software and its subcategories (Free_*specific_area*_software) were created to contain articles about "free software" (the term), our discussion should focus on what this term means in modern language without resorting to original research or philosophy. For these reasons, I support Karnesky's category description(s) that include FSF, OSI, and DFSG approved free licenses (not just copyleft or GPL-compatible), public domain works, and any other licenses which satisfy the "four freedoms." Does anyone else have any accepted sources for free software approved licenses or criteria?--Hamitr 18:20, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

From what ZeroOne said above this is not correct. And as already said approval by FSF, OSI and DFSG is not authorative for encyclopedic content in Wikipedia. Imagico 20:24, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
If they are authoritative enough for the free software article, I don't know why they wouldn't be authoritative enough for a category name. The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing and the Jargon File both have definitions in line with the FSF/OSI/DFSG. The former is authoritative enough that WP has sourced it. --Karnesky 22:14, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Interestingly if you look at the history of the Jargon File (, see also the critical notes in the Wikipedia article) and study the development of the entry on 'freeware' you will see that until 2000 it has been defined as free software, ... - then changed into freely redistributable software. It is also obvious that both dictionaries you mention share the same content in a lot of things. Imagico 07:50, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
So if we were having this debate 7 years ago, you might have a point. The two dictionaries are independently written and each satisfies WP:RS. --Karnesky 14:48, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
So the FSF did not hijack the term free software since all other uses of it stopped in 2000 - long before... oh wait!
Yes, independently written, the already mentioned freeware explanation:

freeware: n. [common] Freely-redistributable software, often written by enthusiasts and distributed by users' groups, or via electronic mail, local bulletin boards, Usenet, or other electronic media. As the culture of the Internet has displaced the older BBS world, this term has lost ground to both open source and free software; it has increasingly tended to be restricted to software distributed in binary rather than source-code form. At one time, freeware was a trademark of Andrew Fluegelman, the author of the well-known MS-DOS comm program PC-TALK III. It wasn't enforced after his mysterious disappearance and presumed death in 1984. See shareware, FRS.


<legal> Software, often written by enthusiasts and distributed at no charge by users' groups, or via the World-Wide Web, electronic mail, bulletin boards, Usenet, or other electronic media.

At one time, "freeware" was a trademark of Andrew Fluegelman. It wasn't enforced after his death.

"Freeware" should not be confused with "free software" (roughly, software with unrestricted redistribution) or "shareware" (software distributed without charge for which users can pay voluntarily).
That looks quite independent, right? See also Imagico 15:53, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
What sources do you propose would qualify for encyclopedic content in Wikipedia? Google Scholar seems to indicate that Stallman, DFSG, Perens, ESR, and OSI are reliable enough to be cited in papers, journals, etc. regarding "free software." Why wouldn't they qualify for Wikipedia? --Hamitr 22:21, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
See WP:RS - especially note Questionable sources may only be used in articles about themselves. It is OK to mention the FSF definition in a free software article as long as it is made clear that this describes an opinion and not an universally accepted fact. You will find anything published in a reliable scientific paper about the free software movement will write about it with an appropriate distance like X regards software as free if it fullfills the criteria set up by Y and not Software is free if it fullfills the criteria set up by Y. And note Google Scholar includes many publications that are not generally considered as scientific work. And scientific works regularly cite things like company publications, product manuals etc. without those becoming scientific works themselves. Imagico 06:14, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Everything is ambiguous[edit]

Much has been said about ambiguity of "free software" and of "open source." May I point out that "3D graphics software" could be just as ambiguous? The term has been used to refer to anything which uses 3D graphics (games and even browsers). Even lengthening the title to "3D graphics creation software" won't do--CAD/CAM software would still fit. Of course "render" has all sorts of conflicting definitions too, so it is out (and many programs in this cat aren't renderers). In the specific case of POV-Ray, perhaps we could actually mention the much less ambiguous "ray tracing" in the cat title (but even fewer of the programs are ray tracers).

The way to disambiguate categories is NOT to name them so precisely and incontrovertibly that they are complete phrases and exclude most articles. We should, instead:

  1. Give precise definitions on the category pages
  2. Add and link to categories which fit the other definitions of the ambiguous phrase (like "free" and "freeware") --Karnesky 23:52, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
So you want to remove POV-Ray from the 'Free 3D graphics software' category because it does not belong into '3D graphics software'? Or do you think both categories should be deleted alltogether because they are not well defined (this could be a valid point - i am just not sure if that is what you want to say). Imagico 07:54, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
  1. Of course any category should have a precise and WP:NPOV description. This does not mean it does not have to fit the category name. There are lots of categories without description that are completely clear what they mean from the name. Imagico 07:54, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
  2. This should be done by subcategories - if two categories have very similar definition and content they should both be a subcategory of a common parent with relation to that similarity. Imagico 07:54, 20 March 2007 (UTC)


User:Arnero's latest edit is a list of features that Povray doesn't have — "Not featured but suitable for a ray tracer". I changed the introduction line to make it marginally relevant here, but it might be more appropriate to remove the list and put it in a more general article on ray tracing. —Tamfang 20:05, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Probaby this is the same person that turned up on the POV-Ray newsgroups quite recently wanting to know if a similar set of features to those he's added to the article were available, as he wished to use the programme for optical design. POV-Ray is not an optical design simulator but a ray-tracing renderer. Both may involve the use of raytracing but they have different requirements and outputs. You may notice that he's also added "lasing" to the list of features. POV-Ray does not simulate lasing in a way that would be accepted in an optical design simulator, it was never meant for that.

I've removed lasing outright from the feature list, and I copy the "missing features" section here for convenience in case anyone wants to move it to the raytracing article:-

POV-Ray does not have any of the following features which might be found in a more advanced ray tracer: 16:15, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

I could be wrong, but I believe POV-Ray is also missing an atmospheric propagation model, which would include the tendency for distant objects to become bluer, and contribution to ambient lighting through scattering of light from distant sources. I think Maxwell Render does that. In any case, POV-Ray was never meant to be a true physics-based raytracer. -Amatulic 16:31, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
There are several atmosphere-related features in POV, some based on scattering models and some ad-hoc. Irrespective of that, I don't think any of these packages are relevant to optical design, it's a specialist area that requires specialist tools.
Lack of "pure forward raytracing" is, IMO, a question of definition. If by "pure" you mean "the program does not perform backwards raytracing at all, everything is done with forward raytracing only", then you are obviously right: POV-Ray does most calculations by backwards raytracing. I believe the vast majority of raytracers do. However, POV-Ray implements the so-called "photon mapping" algorithm which is a "pure forward raytracing" algorithm in the sense that it truely sends rays from light sources and calculates where they go from there (by hitting, reflecting and refracting from objects), with no backwards raytracing involved in it. Photon mapping can be used to simulate optical systems. Wopr 14:15, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
By forward raytracing I think User:Arnero probably meant an implementation suitable for use in optical design, which POV-Ray's (and most other raytracers meant for anything but optical design) is not.

Remove "unreferenced" yet?[edit]

Any objections to removing the unreferenced template, which has been up since August? Several references have been added to the article since then & I think that the we're at the stage where a more specific citation request template would serve better. --Karnesky 23:58, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Scripting example/s[edit]

I was wondering if this page could use some examples of the scene description language script that the software uses. I would be happy to provide some examples that describe simple scenes or what the iteration/decision constructs look like. --IMBJR 18:47, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Nice idea! RedAndr 22:42, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
Here's a start: POV-Ray script examples --IMBJR 19:14, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

The example currently in the article is quite bad for several reasons:

  • It does not feature anything that requires a raytracer to be rendered or even makes a raytracer particularly suited for rendering it (like reflections or refracting, transparent surfaces or curved geometry).
  • Understanding the rotation in both the plain and the scripting example requires knowledge of POV-Ray's interpretation of rotation vectors and expansion of scalars to vectors - this is not explained in the article and would require the reader to look fairly deeply into the docs.

A good basic example would be the Checkered floor sample from the insert menu/templates. Imagico 16:54, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Feel free to improve the scripting examples along your suggestions. However, it may prove difficult to encompass a lot of what POV-Ray can do in such examples. I was merely aiming to show a piece of scripting to give a flavour of what it looks like, rather than to demonstrate specifics - the only reason for mentioning items such as rotation was to point out that was what the script was doing, not how it was doing it. --IMBJR 12:22, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, I think using advanced lighting examples, photon mapping and caustics (effects in which ray tracing is well suited) will make the code exceedingly complicated. Not sure if your suggestion would work, even though it makes sense. — Kieff | Talk
None of the points i suggested to change would make the example any longer. In fact you can make a decent scene example much shorter – i once did the following as an example for the SCC, it would make a much better example for the article than the current one i think (after expansion of course):
sky_sphere{pigment{gradient y color_map{[0rgb<.9.8,1>][.7rgb<0,.1.8>]}}}light_source{9,2}plane{y,-3pigment{checker rgb 0rgb 2}}sphere{9*z-y,2finish{specular.6reflection 1}}
Imagico 20:09, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Free software?[edit]

Wow! Was trying to do a bit of gnoming here, had no idea there was any way a more specific categorization could be at all contested.

With POV-Ray, though, while it is freeware, it doesn't meet the definition of free software. From that article's very top:

This article is about free software as used in the sociopolitical free software movement; for non-free software distributed without charge, see freeware. Free software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions only to ensure that end users have the same freedoms as the original authors.

(emphasis added)

Here's one portion of the POV-Ray license:

Nothing in this agreement gives the Distributor:...any rights or permissions in respect of, including rights or

permissions to distribute or permit the use of, any Derived


If you can't modify the code and distribute it, it's not free software. It's freeware, and they may even allow distribution of it relatively openly, but that fails it from free software.

Finally, here's the statement from the "free" category as to what it's for:

This is a category of articles relating to 3D computer graphics software which can be freely used, copied, studied, modified, and redistributed by everyone that obtains a copy: "free software" or "open source software". Typically, this means software which is distributed with a free software license, and whose source code is available to anyone who receives a copy of the software.

(emphasis added)

There are additional issues with POV-Ray being nonfree, but the lack of license to modify means it is not free software (even by the category itself's definition). "Freeware" means free of charge but not fully free to modify and distribute, so that's the proper category. Seraphimblade Talk to me 08:11, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

All the points you mentioned have already been discussed above - it would be good if you'd address them there individually. I will try to point out some of the most important:
  1. The claim that the POV-Ray license does not allow modifications and distribution of modified versions is baseless - the various unofficial versions that exist (like clearly proove this. Citing myself: Whether the restrictions imposed by the POV-Ray license (restrictions like they also exist in other free software licenses) are a reason to not call it free is subject to interpretation.
  2. Referring to the biased definitions of the FSF, OSI or Debian for the definition of a category with a generic name like 'Free 3D graphics software' would be a violation of WP:NPOV.
  3. The argument that POV-Ray also fits in Category:Freeware 3D graphics software is a non-issue since the same argument applies for all other programs in Category:Free 3D graphics software.
Please take the time to read over the above discussion (it is quite long but covers a lot of reoccuring points quite well). Imagico 08:44, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
BTW although i won't revert your category change again for the moment i like to emphasize there is no consensus on this change and the correct action would be to leave it in the previous long-time state until a new consensus has been reached. Imagico 08:50, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
The fact that they haven't vetoed or sued various unofficial distributions means they're nice people (which, don't get me wrong, I do believe, I love POV-Ray and have the utmost of respect for its developers), but not that it's free software. Their license states "We retain veto power". Whether or not they use it, unless the license specifically disclaims it, the software is not free.
As to the rest, the FSF and the like are not "biased", their definitions contain the widely-accepted definition of free software. "Free" in many contexts has come to mean "free as in freedom", and in software that is very true. Even in our own slogan, "The Free Encyclopedia" does not just mean that it's free of charge, it means that if you want, you're free to fork Wikipedia and change it without asking anyone's permission at all, and with no one having veto power over what you do in any way! The distinctions between "freeware" and "free" in software equate to the distinction between the Spanish words "gratis" and "libre", or in English the distinctions between "free" in the context of "free beer" and "free" in the context of "free speech". POV-Ray is gratis (free beer) software which is almost libre (free speech) software, but not quite. And so long as their license says, in effect, "We reserve the right to sue you for distributing modified versions" (regardless of whether or not they exercise that right), that will be the case. Regardless, however, so long as that category describes itself as containing software which is free to modify and distribute, and POV-Ray's license specifically says you may not do that, placing it in that category is misleading. Seraphimblade Talk to me 09:57, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Saying the restrictions in the POV-Ray license concerning modifications and their distribution make it not a 'Free 3D graphics software' but the restrictions for example in the GPL do equally make it not free is a biased and non-neutral interpretation. The fact that Povray can be freely used, modified and distributed is simply demonstrated by the fact of countless people doing so. Unless you can find a verifyable source making a point about this distinction i doubt many people will see this differently. The fact that Wikipedia content is licensed under a license created by the FSF as well might make it difficult to be unbiased here but Wikipedia at least claims to try to.
As for misleading - as has been pointed out previously the article is very clear about the license matter and not including POV-Ray in that category would be much more misleading. Try seaching google for free software and free 3D graphics software...
All of this has already been discussed previously so i again would suggest you study these previous arguments since they already cover the issues you mention to a large extent. Imagico 11:04, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
I did. :) And your mistake is a common one, but it is nonetheless a mistake. The fact that POV-Ray doesn't enforce their veto power reflects well on them, but it does not make their software free. That would require actually giving up the veto power, not just failing to exercise it. Their license contains a lot of non-free provisions, such as that if you distribute it with a Linux (or other software) distribution that the main purpose of that distribution must not be to support POV-Ray, and of course the aforementioned restriction (enforced or not) against distributing modified versions. Those aren't free terms. On the other hand, the GPL's restrictions only affect changing the license. The definition of free software does not include "ability to change the license" (though some free software licenses, such as BSD or of course public domain, actually do permit that). It's also possible that POV-Ray gave official blessing to those modified versions you speak of. (I don't know if they did or not.) But "free" means "no permission is required", not "permission is almost always given", it means "you absolutely don't have to ask" rather than "they probably won't care even if you don't ask". Freeware is the definition here, free is not. That's not my opinion, or yours, or anyone else's (especially considering that the category definition agrees with me). It's provable fact from reading the POV-Ray license. Seraphimblade Talk to me 11:24, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
The POV-Ray license explicitly allows modifications and distribution of modified versions. There is no toleration of such actions or individual permission required. What you write, for example Their license contains a lot of non-free provisions, Those aren't free terms are biased opinions. You fail to give any verifyable sources to show their merit.
And i don't really think i need to point out what restrictions the GPL contains in addition to those concerning the ability to change the license. Section 2, 3 and 7 in GPLv2 for example, further restrictions exist in GPLv3. Imagico 12:09, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
This newsforge article might shed a bit of light on the issue. It looks like its a debatable topic, basically coming down to a judgement call. After reading the article I'd say Category:Free 3D graphics software is the closest fit. Maybe with a note explaining more about the license. --Salix alba (talk) 18:32, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
But, as that article states, it prohibits commercial use/redistribution (so is not currently considered free/open under the DFSG/FSF/OSI). --Karnesky 18:57, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Please do not state baseless claims about the POV-Ray license. As has been said previously both use and modification of POV-Ray are not restricted in any way concerning commercial activity. Distribution (equally modified and unmodified versions) is restricted in some ways (just like it is in the GPL) but does not generally require individual permission. Imagico 20:25, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
"User is permitted to use the Software in a profit-making enterprise, provided such profit arises primarily from use of the Software and not from distribution of the Software or a work including the Software in whole or part." Commercial redistribution of POV-Ray is extremely limited! This is the very issue the newsforge article is about! --Karnesky 12:46, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
So you agree the claim the license does not allow commercial use is incorrect. Concerning commercial distribution - the GPL restricts that as well (section 3c in version 2). If you think the permission to charge money for the service of distributing software is essential to use the attribute 'free' i would suggest you integrate that into the category description. Imagico 13:22, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Done. I also explicitly mention POV-Ray in the description. I think this is a good compromise. POV-Ray isn't mis-categorized (according to the way "free software" is currently used on WP), but people who browse that category will still be able to find this article (as it almost satisfies the free software definition). --Karnesky 13:15, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Your modification of the Category description says that the POV-Ray license prohibits commercial distribution which is not true - commercial distribution is just restricted by the conditions found in section 3.2 of the distribution license (which are essentially only obligations to inform the user). There are no other references to commercial activity, payment etc. in the license that i am aware of. Imagico 13:54, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
I changed "prohibit" to "limit." Hopefully this is kosher & it seems to be in the spirit of the quote I excerpted from the end user license, the discussion above, the newsforge article, and this article. --Karnesky 14:05, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
As far as the exclusion of POV-Ray is concerned the reasons for this are now made clear to the reader. What remains is of course if the text is sufficiently neutral and verifiably sourced and if other programs in that category would need to be excluded based on this description. This of course is not to be discussed here. Imagico 14:39, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't know why Imagico paints this as an issue of neutrality. I think it is a matter of consensus. Yes, there is semantic ambiguity in the word "free." However, WP has different clearly written categories and articles for "freeware" and "free software" (as defined by the DFSG, FSF, and OSI). There is apparent consensus for the definition WP uses for the latter, as there have been so many other articles & categories that use it in this manner. DFSG/FSF/OSI have not stamped off on the current POV-Ray license. Therefore, in the current incarnation, it is not "free software" in the most commonly used definition that currently exists on WP. If Imagico thinks that he could generate a consensus to redefine how the term "free software" is used on WP, I don't think that this isolated article on one particular piece is the best place for that discussion. --Karnesky 18:57, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
I would tend to agree, and the Wikipedia consensus reflects the wider definition of "free" vs. "freeware" in software development as a whole. If I ask people to help me develop free software, their first question will be "GPL or BSD?", not "Ah, not going to charge anyone to download it?". I'm be honest, puzzled by Imagico's comments above. My "verifiable source" that the POV-Ray license does not allow distribution of modified versions (it does allow modification) was the fact that, well, the POV-Ray license says so! The license can be found here, the relevant sections are 2.4, 3.1.d, 3.1.e (especially 3.1.e.iii, explicitly requiring permission to distribute under certain circumstances), 3.3, and 3.4 (the section which explicitly states that modified versions may not be distributed). I think the POV-Ray license itself is a verifiable enough source, hopefully we can agree on that? Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:15, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
FYI: there are three license documents for POV-Ray: the use license: the distribution license: and the source license: There are cross references between the licenses as well.
Concerning the content of "free software" and related articles and their normative nature for defining categories - it might be useful to notice that WP:CON does not normally override WP:V/WP:NPOV. Therfore my asking for a verifiable source/neutral definition for excluding POV-Ray from Category:Free 3D graphics software is perfectly valid. Imagico 20:25, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
I don't see any consensus that there are significant issues with WP:V or WP:NPOV. Just because you think there are doesn't mean that there are. --12:46, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
It's a reasonable request indeed, but one which I believe has been provided. Category:Free 3D graphics software has clear criteria for inclusion in the category: "This is a category of articles relating to 3D computer graphics software which can be freely used, copied, studied, modified, and redistributed by everyone that obtains a copy...". The POV-Ray distribution license (especially the specific clauses I pointed out) shows that, while the user is always free to use and study the program, they are not in all cases free to copy, modify, and distribute it.
Just like with the licenses of most of the other programs in that category. The GPL and many other licenses contain restrictions to the various rights you mentioned (GPLv2 concerning distribution: section 3, special regulations for commercial distribution section 3c). And you are making a value judgement by deeming those restrictions not prejudicial for the categorization in contrast to those in the POV-Ray license. This value judgement would need a neutral definition based on verifiable sources to be relevant here. Imagico 06:15, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
For that reason, the program does not fit in that category, by the category's own definition of what does. I'm not sure what you consider a "neutral" definition of free software, generally the definitions by FSF and OSI are considered the standards (and those definitions are largely or perhaps wholly in agreement), and they effectively mirror (albeit in more elaborate detail) the criteria the category sets forth. Our own article on free software (also referenced by the category requirements) provides a good overview as well. Seraphimblade Talk to me 21:03, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
The free software article describes the FSF definition. If it does so with sufficient distance and neutrality can be disputed but this is not the topic here since the article itself does not qualify as a verifiable source for the category definition anyway. A verifiable source for example could be an etymological writing about the use of the attribute 'free' with relation to software making a point about the distribution restrictions. Imagico 06:15, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm...speechless here, to tell you the truth. It never even crossed my mind that I would be repeatedly explaining the difference between freeware and free software, and have it quite roundly ignored. FSF and OSI are the source for what free software is defined as.
No, the FSF uses the term free software in a certain way, they did no way invent it and it has been used before the FSF and is still used for different purposes. This has been shown extensively in the previous discussion. What you think free software and freeware are and what the FSF thinks are opinions. BTW you don't need to explain these opinions to me, i understand them quite well, i just do not agree to them and you did not bring up any independent sources to support the FSF opinion. Imagico 08:56, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
You're asking for...what? Something etymological? Those exist, and they are written by OSI and FSF! (There are others, The Cathedral and the Bazaar certainly discusses it extensively. I suppose we can use that if you must have a non-OSI, non-FSF source.) "Free software" is, anymore, roundly accepted to mean software having the critical open-source freedoms. (By the way, if you're talking about GPLv3, clause 3 in effect only says "You can't stop people from modifying the software by invoking the DMCA either." That's not a distribution restriction, it's simply a means to prevent "back door" changes to or circumventions of the license. As discussed earlier, it is not a necessary condition for free software that you be allowed to change the license, just that you be allowed to distribute without having to ask anyone.) GPL most certainly does not say "You may not distribute modified versions", in fact it specifically states that you can. Seraphimblade Talk to me 07:58, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
For the Xth time: The POV-Ray license allows modifications and distribution of modified versions. Read the license documents (all of them as linked above)! If you think there is a fundamental difference between the restrictions in the POV-Ray license and those in FSF-approved licenses write those into the category descriptions and defend them as being NPOV and i will be fine with not having POV-Ray included there. If there is some research about the practical use of the term 'free software' in press and literature in 'The Cathedral and the Bazaar' i would be happy to be made aware of it. Imagico 08:56, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm not seeing that in the POV-Ray license. When I look at the source license, it states that modification is permitted for personal use only, while forbidding use of the code in any other software (section 1.3), only for certain "approved" purposes, not for any purpose (section 1.1), and no other person is permitted by that license to use your modified version (section 1.4). In contrast, GPL'd software (as an example) may be modified and distributed at will, for any purpose and for any reason, may be freely incorporated into other programs with a GPL-compatible license without limit or restriction, and so on. We're not disagreeing that the POV-Ray license permits personal modification; it clearly does. However, it also expressly forbids (as shown above) distribution of a modified version or code reuse (even in other programs with a compatible license). Freedom to distribute is already in the category definition. There's no need to add or change it, it's there already! The POV-Ray license (and the source license and distribution license are in agreement on this) do not permit distribution of modified versions. Seraphimblade Talk to me 09:24, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Section 3.2, source license: You may distribute a Custom Version on the terms of the Distributor's Licence Agreement for the Licensed Version as modified by this clause 3 and with: (a). references to the Licensed Version read as references to the Custom Version; and (b). references to the Software read as references to the Custom Version;. Imagico 09:43, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
That, however, is restricted as well. (For example, see section 2.2, the "Custom Versions" may not, for example, remove features.) Limited modification and distribution is indeed possible, but it is not at-will or unrestricted. Seraphimblade Talk to me 09:58, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Like the GPL (distribution restrictions as mentioned section 3 in version 2, modification restrictions section 2 in version 2). Imagico 10:58, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
But at least we can settle now that the POV-Ray license allows use, distribution and modification including distribution of modified versions. Imagico 10:58, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Is this bit really noteworthy?[edit]

"POV-Ray was the first ray tracer to render an image in orbit, rendered by Mark Shuttleworth inside the International Space Station.[3]"

C'mon, surely this is not in the slightest bit noteworthy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:59, 3 August 2011 (UTC)


The category states POV-Ray is Freeware, however, since 3.7 the license has changed to the open source AGPL 3. I suppose the category can be changed to something like "free sofware"? I don't know the category, so please have a look and make the edit! Face-smile.svg Smile4ever (talk) 19:01, 1 January 2014 (UTC)