The founder of the free 3D graphics suite Blender, Ton Roosendaal, announces in the blog of the project some planned changes for future software releases. The most important innovation is that the team wants to publish certain versions with long-term support (LTS) for the first time in the project history.
In future, these LTS versions are to appear annually and will initially be supported for two years. Maintenance should then only include bug fixes and support for new hardware. As the first LTS version, the team also plans to declare the upcoming version 2.83. Above all, this contained small improvements of the past months and relatively few new or even experimental functions. This is a good starting point for an LTS version.
That the Blender team starts at all. Offering LTS versions apparently arose from the wishes of the users and the community. In the future, the LTS versions should ensure that projects started with a Blender version can also be completed with the same version. This especially helps studios with larger projects as well as with the maintenance of addons by third parties.
In addition, the Blender team has one "surprising amount of requests" obtained from studios for official LTS agreements. These come from companies with strict rules and processes for software installation, which means that not every user can simply download and install the current version of Blender. An LTS version with the possibility of controlled installation should be able to be used significantly. According to the announcement, the Blender team plans to pursue this issue further and work on it.
In addition to the LTS versions, Blender will also get a simpler versioning in the future. Accordingly, Blender 3.0 should appear in August 2021, the smaller version number should then only be increased for two years, until Blender 4.0 could follow in August 2023.