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matterial is a collection of software for creating art. (With an advanced, shared back-end.) You can think of matterial as an office suite for artists. But instead of working with databases, spreadsheets, contact lists, and documents (as with a normal office suite), with matterial, you work with movie editors, sheet music composers, sound editing tools, graphic editors, sound systhesis tools, classical animation tools, 3D modelers, etc.

One of matterial's strengths is that it allows all these different things (movie editing, music composing, 3D modeling, etc) to work together smoothly. One of the complaints many artists have, including myself, is that going between different tools -- one for sound synthesis, one for movie editing, another one for 3D animation, etc -- is a hassle and often hinders the artistic process. (Especially since trying to make these tools work together is at best a hack, and often a headache.) matterial has been designed from the start to fix this, and makes all these different artist tools work together.


free as in freedom

Have you ever heard the saying:

"You can give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Or you can teach him how to fish, and feed him for a life time."

That's the best way to understand what we mean when we say matterial is free. We are not simply giving matterial for free -- as in a free gift, or free food. (We are not just giving you a fish.) But matterial is free as in freedom. (In a way, we are teaching you how to fish.)

(We are teaching you how to fish, by) making the source code to matterial free also. The source code is the very essence of matterial... or any other piece of software. It is what you need to change or modify to change matterial, or to add new things to matterial.

So why is it important that the source code for matterial be free too? Because it is the only way to give you absolute freedom over matterial.


a license?

matterial is licensed to you, and the rest of the world, under the terms of the GNU GPL. "But wait", you might say, "I thought matterial was free?... why does it have a licenese?". This license is a legal way for us to ensure that matterial is free now, and will always be free.

This style of licensing if called copyleft. It essentially uses copyright in an opposite way to which many (proprietary) software developer usually use it. Proprietary software developers use copyright to take away the users' freedom; we use copyright to guarantee their freedom.

As an artist, you don't even have to think about it. matterial is free and always will be free. Download it. Use it. Give it to your friends if you want. You have the freedom to do with it as you like.

But if you are a developer, you will have to think about the license. We strongly suggest you read the license -- the GNU GPL. But just to give a quick jist of it: if you modify matterial in any way, and distribute that modified version of matterial to anyone, then you must release your source code under the same license. (This is the way that matterial always remains free.)


using matterial

matterial has been created for Linux. So all you need to run it is a computer with Linux on it. (This does not mean matterial won't work on other systems [like Mac, Windows, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX, AtheOS, etc]. It just means we haven't tried them out on those systems yet. [Some porting might be needed.])


Copyright © 2000 - 2002 matterial development team