Just my two cents...for what it's worth...
It would seem to me that many users choose a 'render' engine mostly based upon whether it's tightly integrated with the modelling software they are already using. Clearly there are exceptions. I have read cases here on the forums that 'newbies' stumble across Lux without any real modelling experience and/or knowledge. Blender is a great 'FOSS' modelling solution for them. For professionals and commercial users, however, they probably have learned to use their preferred modelling tool and are not likely looking for the prospect of 'changing' their preferred modelling tool.
I appreciate that that others have contributed there time to develop 'exporters' that are compatible with other modelling tools other than Blender. I personally don't use Blender to model, though I do understand it's appeal. For my preferred modelling tool, Lux doesn't have an exporter already developed for it. So, for my workflow, I just simply export geometry from my preferred modelling tool and use Blender only to position geometry in my scene and make adjustments to my render settings. I never use Blender to do anything more than Translate, Scale, and rotate my geometries. I do all of my modelling externally. I just use Blender to quickly set up a render scene and the materials to feed directly to the Lux Render engine.
I doubt many of the Lux users would find my workflow to be efficient, but it works for me. I recommend first thinking about what are the advantages of Lux continuing to be coupled with Blender other than it's 'modelling' abilities and tight Render settings GUI. Here are a few that I can think of:
- Camera Settings
- Light settings
- Material settings
- Transforming (positioning) objects in a scene (Geometry, lights, cameras, etc.)
- Oh, and exporting geometry modeled in Blender.
In my opinion, I think Blender is not the best modelling software out there, though it is very powerful...and free too. There are other modelling softwares out there, both FOSS and Commercial. Would the Lux project gain a wider appeal if it had an exporter that was tailored to some of the other modelling softwares out there? Probably. But, even that takes a lot of resources to develop the plugins. Rhino is a really popular modelling tool out there, but Lux doesn't have an exporter for it and it's expensive. Writing a exporter for Rhino would also be expensive.
I've always liked the idea Maxwell had to solve some of these limitations without ever having to develop a full modelling package. Has anyone heard of Maxwell's 'Maxwell Studio' application? The application's functionality assumes that all modelling is done in 'some other' modelling software that one can import into the application. Users are then given the ability to transform the geometries, lighting, cameras. Further, users can setup their camera, lighting and material settings within that Studio GUI. Users can't, however, change the shape of the geometries. The studio then exports a scene file, material, file, and geometric file (ie. LXS, LXM, and LXO). From there the Maxwell Render engine can render it using those files.
I have no idea what some of the users workflows are, but if anyone else is not happy with Blender, maybe only use Blender to model and export LXOs and/or convert to PLYs that can be directly imported into a 'Lux Studio'. Does anyone continue to actively 'model' and manipulate there geometry while they're refining their render settings? The advantage of developing a 'Lux Studio' over the continued fight with 'Blender' devs is that Lux becomes instantly more adoptable to others out there already using their own preferred modelling software. Developing a 'Lux Studio' is really just making a huge GUI, like what Dougal has done with LuxBlend, an geometry importer (STLs, PLYs, etc.), an exporter (LXOs), a light window that allows one to view their scene with the objects, and some simple tools to transform those objects.
I recognize that one looses the tight integration of Lux Blender going this route, but maybe that's the 'thorn' in side and what is causing the frustration we are all experiencing with Blender devs.