This is a response to the very thoughtful open letter posted by Ton Roosendaal on the COLLADA-Blender efforts.
Just a note before I jump in, I have some bias as we use COLLADA in Betaville.
I’ve always been very much in favor of the COLLADA format, as I see it as an essential keystone in the process of creating fully open-source content (from tools and assets all the way down to final display format). While Ton’s words made the business case for either making real progress with COLLADA or resigning to the idea that it may never live up to its potential, there is a larger question at hand that goes beyond the Blender foundation.
One of his points is that the level of FBX, a closed format, support in Blender is the same as, or better, than the COLLADA support. Its sad that so much time and energy has gone into a well-intentioned project to be largely overtaken by a proprietary format. This is less a plea for saving COLLADA than a plea for saving what COLLADA is supposed to be about. Formats will come and go but the ideological divide between the power of open formats as opposed to proprietary formats will be around for a long time to come. If companies continue to feel confident in promulgating proprietary formats, the efforts will shift (as they have in the past) from making great tools to keeping up with release cycles and fixing incompatibilities in perpetuam. If we don’t want to have another VRML on our hands, then we all need to get behind the effort.