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In a few short years, Blender has gone from being a closed source commercial application to one of the most talked about 3d modellers around. The Blender Foundation orchestrated a buy-back of the copyright to the Blender source code, a first in free software. Now, the Blender team are embarking on another new adventure - creating an animated short with Blender, and funding the entire project with community donations and sponsorship.

In July 2002, Ton Roosendaal, one of the founders of the company NaN, creators of the 3D modeller Blender, pulled off something of a coup.

With the company in trouble, he created the Blender Foundation, and persuaded NaN's investors to sell the copyright to Blender, so that he could then give it away under the GNU GPL. The "Free Blender" campaign sought to raise 100,000 EUR so that the Foundation could buy the rights to the Blender source code and other intellectual property.

With an enthusiastic group of volunteers, among them several ex-NaN employees, a fund raising campaign was launched to "Free Blender." To everyone's shock and surprise the campaign reached the 100,000 EUR goal in only seven short weeks. On Sunday Oct 13, 2002, Blender was released to the world under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Blender development continues to this day driven by a team of far flung dedicated volunteers from around the world led by Blender's original creator, Ton Roosendaal.

This year, Ton is again doing something never seen before. Project Orange is a partnership between Montevideo and the Blender Foundation to produce a short film, entirely created with Blender and other free software tools. The primary source of funding for the project is once again an enthusiastic community. DVDs containing the Project Orange short, including a documentary on the making of the film and the .blender source files for all of the films content, are now being sold on the website.