appleseed and /*jupiter jazz*/
appleseed and /*jupiter jazz*/ are two distinct initiatives that, although largely independent, mesh together and contribute to each other when it makes sense.
Many of the tools we develop for our customers use appleseed.foundation, a coherent set of C++ classes that provide low-level building blocks such as Quasi-Monte Carlo sampling, generic acceleration structures, color manipulation, image I/O, voxel grid interpolation, etc. As the name suggests, appleseed.foundation is the core class library on which the rest of appleseed is built.
The single focus of appleseed.foundation is quality: quality of the algorithms for performance; quality of the implementation for performance, reliability and extensibility. The code is covered by more than 800 unit tests and more than 100 unit benchmarks. It's also field-tested: we used it in several products, on several platforms, on 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.
Beside sharing code, we've also got longer term plans for appleseed and /*jupiter jazz*/. One of the ideas we think is worth pursuing is to port some of our commercial plugins and tools to the appleseed platform: we believe that selling unique (niche) software for an open source renderer would greatly benefit everyone: not only would customers of the commercial tools get unrestricted access to a large part of their software stack (the renderer and the core libraries the tools are built on), they would also take advantage of the contributions and improvements made by the community to the open source part of this software stack. In turn, the community would enjoy a richer, more widely used platform as well as opportunities to get involved with tools used in production.
We realize the road to a healthy ecosystem where an open platform and commercial tools evolve together is bound to be long, so we start where it already makes sense: building great commercial tools using high quality open source code.