Replicator controversy

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NOTE this is just a skeleton page. No guarrantee it will get out of that stage though. It seems difficult to get all the info here.. (or in my head..) It would be handy to have citing enabled.

The controversy started when Makerbot stopped releasing all sources with the Replicator 2.


Reasoning from Bre Pettis/Makerbot

(dont put counterarguments here, just summarize his points), He was at the Open Hardware summit aswel.

He links to the Makezine blog 'The unspoken rules of open source hardware, probably for stuff like 'Cloning ain’t cool'. However it also mentions "We actually do open source hardware." And Open source (nearly)everything by a github founder, talking about practical benefits for open sourcing things, but strategically makinga few things closed for the benefit of your own success.

From others

Tom Igue argues that compromises need to be made, that minds need to be changed. "There are a lot of people in the corporate world who need to be convinced that open source is a good thing. We won’t change their minds with overthrow."


They committed to open source by praising, and claiming to represent it, and their origin. For instance by making videos like this . Basically, they're using open source as a marketing and (maybe) research tool, and not attributing. (example)

Tom Igue claims we need to convince people. But why do we need to convince those in the corporate world?

Further, this does not look like 'strategically' making things closed source. I looks like making damn near everything closed source. Filing patents is also not nice. It also doesn't quite look like a specific-design patent(?) so it may have prior art.

Zachary Smith aka Hoeken, a co-founder of makerbot said: "The best information I have found is a load of corporate double-speak bullshit that has come to characterize my interactions with MakerBot in recent memory." and "For me, personally, I look at a move to closed source as the ultimate betrayal."

What actually was and was not released

Makerbot has a github account. In the slides of the open hardware summit, he lists explicitly what was open sourced:

And what was not open sourced:

  • Design files for the Replicator 2 body.
  • The makerware gui

Thingiverse TOS

Issues about the thingiverse TOS was probably ignited by it aswel. Sourceforge had similar issues, one issues is that if you're deriving from a free license, it may not be possible to give thingiverse full copyright in any case.

It hasn't been much of a problem with sourceforge, but the problem also isn't necessary; Github completely works around the problem so they should put the worry to rest anyway.

3d-printing specifically, it may not be fair that people posting stuff for printing for personal use find it to be printed by others. Question: do non-commercial clauses stop people from printing and selling?(I dont know)

Criticism toward reprap community response

Lack of documentation; the reprap page at that time was terse to say the least.

Little reviews of what sources actually were and weren't there.(did i miss?)

What do we want companies to look like, how do we get it 'evolutionarily stable'? And once we have some kind of answer, what did makerbot do wrong?

Discussion didnt seem constructive enough. Perhaps such discussion should get a wiki page earlier.

Not quite ended?

This was(currently) mere weeks ago. We can still ask/demand:

  • Be consistent, if you say "we'll just close-source some strategic stuff" actually closed-source just strategic stuff, with a rationale. (Obviously if we want to ask this as a community, we first need to agree if that strategy is a good one.)
  • Would it hurt them much at all if they open sourced the closed stuff after X years? Or after it is no longer strategic.
  • Ask for a more github-like TOS

Aswel as deal with ongoing affairs and discussion related to questions raised above.(and improve this page)

Raw list of links of discussions