User:Traumflug

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Self-employed mechanical engineer from Germany. One of the admins of this wiki and the reprap.org server.


Contents

Attitudes

A collection of personal view angles around the RepRap project and open hardware.

RepRap is about replication

Adrian Bowyer, the founder of RepRap, said it many times: RepRap isn't about designing or buying cheap printers, it's about replication. For example in this posting to reprap-dev-policy.

I couldn't agree more. That's why everything I bring in to RepRap is evaulated wether it can be made with most simple tools. Wether is can be printed or replicated with current RepRap technology. The vision of grandma working on her kitchen table is a good vision to achieve this.

Actually, designing for simple fabrication is more difficult than to design for industrial shops. I should know, I work for both.

NC is good for Open Hardware

-- September 1013--

There's a lot of discussion about non-commercial (NC) licence clauses. Some consider them to be evil and typically refer to the Open Source Hardware Associations' (OSHWA) definition of Open Source Hardware, others consider them to be neccessary to attract developers. Remarkably, the famous Arduino project doesn't comply with clause #8 of OSHWAs definition due to its registered trademark.

Currently, two licences with non-commercial clause and hardware in mind appear to exist, the Creative Commons *-NC-* ones and the TAPR NCL. Interestingly, the latter is marked as "deprecated", apparently because TAPR messed up a project using this licence in the details (I talked to a TAPR person).

Still I see a lot of advantages:

  • Even with a non-commercial clause you can look at the sources, learn from it, modify it, make a derivate, make a copy, even pay somebody else to make a copy. Just don't sell copies. The strength of open hardware, rapid invention, takes no hit at all.
  • Most of us are educated for capitalism and as such, it simply hurts if others make ten times more money than yourself with a design which is all your work.
  • Designers need food on the table, too, so they have to compensate for their often poor marketing skills somewhat. :-)
  • The market advantage of shops only taking, not giving, is simply not justified.
  • If an open hardware project isn't attractive to developers, it'll sooner or later die.
  • Way to many RepRap developers moved into their own shop, away from RepRap already.
  • Nobody is enforced to put a non-commercial clause onto his design. Licences with and without -NC can co-exist peacefully.
  • A -NC clause is in full compliance with our founders' statements. There's no hint he sees the ability to make profit without designing something to be important for the success of the RepRap project.

That's why I firmly believe -NC licences should be at least accepted. They can raise the fun, strenghten the community.

A community trying to part into pieces

-- October 2013 --

Sometimes one really gets the impression the RepRap community tries hard to get rid of it's self. Tons of cheering towards new commercial entities promising (not even delivering) things, cheering about developers going to blogs or companies elsewhere, blasting at those who try to make the RepRap community - wiki, forum, mailing lists - a more comfortable and more successful place. Recent incidence: "No, by all means, don't try to pay developers in the RepRap community! Let them go to Kickstarter instead and/or open their shop somewhere.". The talk was about plans for a system allowing to fund developments, bugfixes, minor enhancements in the RepRap universe without urging developers to go commercial. Funding would hurt Open Source Hardware, they say.

Do these people ever look into other open source projects? About every project starts with great ideas, develops these and then, sooner or later, attracts the commercial guys. As soon as the latter happens, developers loose their fun. These others collect the cash, after all, so it's their turn to bring the development forward, isn't it? True or not, that's what one can observe in discussion forums.

As a result, the commercial enterprises flourish, the community halts. Eventually the enterprises halt, too, because they can no longer take from the community. Back to square one.

In comparison, apparently all successful open source projects do have funding. Either by direct funding or by contributions from third party paid developers. The Linux kernel, Blender, CERN Open Hardware, even RepRap at the times it grew as a community. Go, figure :-)

Speeches

File:Traumflug Granulat-Extruder.pdf (german), held at OS3DC on 21 Sept. 2013.

File:Traumflug Granulat-Extruder 2014-05.pdf (german), held at Linuxwochen 2014 in Vienna on 10 May 2014. It's an extended version of the one held in 2013.

How to be successful with open source hardware

Let's have an (admittedly somewhat vicious) look at how some (most?) of the most successful open source companies work:

  1. Forget about collaboration. Happens in software projects, never with hardware.
  2. Tout big on being open source. That's _the_ most important marketing checkbox for technical stuff outside the industrial market, these days.
  3. Put a blob of your design somewhere into a corner of your public server.
  4. As you've fulfilled the "open source" checkbox now, don't further care about making things more accessible, like running a repo with issue tracker. That's a waste of time.
  5. Make sure the design is not easier to copy than neccessary and people have less work when buying at your shop.
  6. Keep the sources private as long as possible, i.e. publish them the day you're shipping. Not earlier. That's your headstart against the freeriders.

So far the dos and don'ts list. A few more general considerations:

Forget anything in the sense of freedom, as written down by the Free Software Foundation. That's just an invitation to take away your work. Copyright licenses are moot for hardware anyways, you have to steer the ship by other means.

People expect to get everything for free these days. Developers asking for a reward on their work are considered to be silly ("Why? It's open source!"). Bright exeptions exist, like paoparts.com and reprap-france.com.

Hardware projects can't be accessible _and_ successful at the same time. Can't find one. Arduino comes closest, still it doesn't develop in public and also relies on trademark protection. As soon as the commercial freeriders kick in, freedom dies.

Have fun!

How I reached this observation and conclusion

For two years I worked hard on being as open as possible. Took a lot of effort into making my designs available, ran a Github repository reflecting every single step of development, spent some 80% of my time in writing documentation and helping others - and failed. Not with the technical development, that's excellent. But my doings produced an outright war, people considering making a Generation 7 Electronics were yelled at until they choose something different. No argument was stupid or wrong enough to not be spoken out against using a Gen7. People showing up in the chat, when initially being fascinated by doing everything on the kitchen table, finally bought something (else). Sad for a community having "Replicatable" in the name. Good for me: lesson learned.

Today I've removed 145 commits from Gen7's Github repository. What a relief!

--Traumflug 19:16, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Contributions

My Take on Non-Commercial Licences

Note: this was written in October 2011 and as Open Source is always evolving rapidly, things might have changed since then. For example, I consider non-commercial licenses are these days more accepted than before. --Traumflug 11:51, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Recently quite a number of people told me about their discomfort with the non-commercial licence I put on each of the newest versions of my hardware designs. So I'll try here to explain why I do this and why I expect this to be a good thing for RepRap as a whole. Yes, as a matter of fact I think using non-commercial licences strengthens RepRap and most, if not all developers should do that.

What's a non-commercial licence ?

First of all, a non-commercial licence doesn't prohibit you to make a copy of a design. Not at all. Make as many copies as you want. I actively support that. In fact, Generation 7 Electronics has a number of instructions and design changes just to make this even easier for you.

You can also give these copies away, as long as they're free.

Just ask for permission (and prepare for a minor fee) if you want to sell them for money. That's all.

Quite obviously, this neither touches developers (because they always have something non-money to trade), nor does it touch Wealth Without Money (because this wealth has no money), nor does it touch development (because everything is open source and modifications get accepted). The only parties slightly restricted here are those doing sales only.

Are licences enforceable? Perhaps, perhaps not, I don't really care about that. If people start playing foul by disrespecting the intention of the licence applied and the community welcomes that for one reason or another, I'll quit working on RepRap. It's that simple.

My view on RepRap

To me, RepRap is first and foremost this Wealth Without Money thing. In this article Adrian Bowyer nicely explains how having replicatable machines makes big parts of the traditional industry obsolete, in favour of having more freedom, more comfort, in short, a better world. So, the goal of RepRap, as I see it, is to make machines replicatable. Obviously, this requires very huge amounts of development, as RepRap has reached a first step with the Mendel design at best. We can print plastic parts, but not much more. But to get independent from traditional resources, we also need replicatable electronics, replicatable metal parts, extruders working with naturally existing materials like corn, sand, water, air, whatever our planet has plentiful.

So, for me, development is far more important than getting as many copies out as quickly as possible. Likely, these many, many copies will come into existence without putting any emphasis on this part of RepRap. We need developers, more replicatability, and more developers. The rest will align nicely on it's own.

On what hurts developers

For now, however, we live in this traditional world. A world where money rules, almost more than anything else.

Quite a number of RepRappers think of RepRap as a project with the goal to put out as many machines as fast as possible. At this point another artefact of the RepRap project joins the game: copy shops. They grab RepRap designs, send them to some manufacturing facility, sell the result. To these many-machines RepRappers, these copy shops are welcome. More than welcome, they see copy shops as an essential part for RepRap's success.

Maybe they're right? What is success? See above.

Currently, every few days an new copy shop springs to life, selling this and that for RepRappers. The unfortunate thing about this is: these shop owners rarely do development. They do nothing but copying and selling and make money with that. Lots of money.

Now guess, where this all important money goes. To these shops, or to the developers?

You guessed right. Copy shops make the money, developers do the hard work. Because developers can never ever run a shop better than a person running a shop only. One day lasts 24 hours only, for everybody.

This is where a more open licence, like the GPL, starts to hurt. Each hour of development is an hour of lost sales. Accordingly, doing development is unattractive for anything else than filling in leisure time.

Not yet taken into account here are considerations regarding development not only costing time, but also costing real money. For example, if a developer brings a set of electronics through EMF certification, this costs a good share of cash, like in 2'000 Euros or more. The shop-only person won't pay a single one of these Euros, yet receives the benefits of this certification as well.

Last not least in this chapter, even if a design is intended to be replicated, copy shops can always go the mass production route. Mass production is always cheaper, so most customers will go there. Yes, injection molds for Mendel parts are said to exist already, so, printers, prepare to compete with € 5.- Mendel kits.

You see? Even if you put less emphasis on development, developers need compensation of some sort or another. Seeing others having substantial advantages in the market and seeing others making a lot more money isn't ecouraging to develop even more, it's a clear sign to stop. Altruism is a noble attitude, few people go as far as being happy with making others rich while staying poor for them selfs.

Why do shops not simply compensate ?

They simply don't. Gen7 received a few requests from copy shops wether they can sell a Gen7. The commercial licence offered in return (less than 10 Euros per set) was declined. So far, all of them.

There is no attitude among RepRappers to encourage compensation, much less a mechanism to enforce it. Clearly, this has to change.

What do open source software developers do ?

Good question! Open source software is said to work, so why not simply apply what they do?

As you probably recognized already, the big difference between open source software and open source hardware is, one can request money for just reproducing a design on the hardware variant. Compiling a piece of software is so simple and requires so few resources (a PC, a tiny bit of electricity), almost nobody pays for that. There have been tries to do this for printed parts as well, like giving away a set of printed Mendel parts for free, but this didn't stick. Today's general attitude is to pay some € 5.- to € 10.- for every hour of just reproducing a design, a lot more than the costs for raw material and electricity.

Some developers have a place in the market from being prominent. Well, that obviously works out for very few people only. Like Adrian Bowyer, Josef Prusa, perhaps a few others. If everybody would be prominent, nobody would be prominent.

Collaboration. For reasons I still investigate, this doesn't work in the RepRap community. Gen7 started with two persons and the GPL licence. As this second person recognized it can't be as prominent with Gen7 as me, it stopped working on Gen7. Gen7 received no other contributions since then, GPL or not GPL. If you look around, RepRappers love starting from scratch, avoiding working together. For whatever reason.

Making money with adjectant work, like installing printers, writing books. Good idea. Works for the non-developer just as fine, so this is not really a compensation.

Get many copies out, so the work is widely accepted. This actually works to some extents. It enforces you to be fast, so you always have more and more recent supply than the copy shops. Having a replicatable design slows things down, so you have to give up on that. Still, this is about the only reason to apply a with-commercial licence.

How do other open hardware projects do ?

Quite a number of them simply don't. One example is Ronja. Such projects reached their zenith when the design started to be reliable and the copy shops kicked in. Not long after that, development ceased, the project started to die. RepRap is in that position with shops kicking in now, I hope very much RepRap doesn't go downhill from here, but raises even more.

Then, a lot of people once very enthusiastic in RepRap went away as soon as they were successful. Most prominent example is Makerbot, but there is also BfB, TechZone, Mendel-Parts, German RepRap Foundation and a number of individuals. They once did great things for RepRap, but they go their own, independent ways now. They have their independent machine design, manage their own customer forums, advertise their own products only. This brain drain is the last thing RepRap wants to encourage.

Another group showing up at RepRap simply designs closed source. Examples include RepRap-Fab nozzles, Phillip's carbon heated bed, R2C2 Electronics, GSG Electronics, the OKKA extruder and a lot more. For all these, RepRap apparently isn't the project to contribute to, but the project to generate customers from. I think everybody agrees, closed source is a lot worse than just restricting commercial use of a design.

One open source hardware project apparently doing well is Arduino. Arduino doesn't have a non-commercial licence, but a number of similar restrictions. Like the name "Arduino" being trademarked. This is the model I try to mimic with a NC licence. Restrict usage where it hurts, but be as open as possible.

Conclusion

Yes, about all of the above are words of defense and I apologize for not outlining a glorious vision of success for everybody. This path has yet to form, I'm sure it'll exist one day. In my brain, in everyboy's brain.

Here's my conclusion about the current state of developing for RepRap:

There are benefits of having an all open licence, but the drawbacks weight in a lot more. If RepRap wants to keep being attractive, developers need some form of compensation. Short of having such a compensation in place, putting a licence with non-commercial clause onto a design is a disappointing step, but the best compromise a developer can do at this point in time.

Also, non-commercial licences aren't as bad as they look at the first glance. After all, they have the benefit of encouraging people to do things them selfs. It makes real RepRappers having more choice and (hopefully) better designs than those just plunking down shabby money.

--Traumflug 00:56, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

 

P.S.: all my software work, like Teacup and all my research work is GPL and/or FDL and there is no intention to change that. The above take applies to hardware only.

 

Comments to this take on non-commercial licences

You're welcome to comment the above. Please do this here:

Ljyang, 27 October 2011

So I tried the NC route in my hardware designs. I got a lot of flack from people about it, and their misunderstanding of what the limitations of the NC are. Everyone parroted the "if you have one NC component in your printer, you can't sell anything you make in it." People didn't seem to understand that the limitations were just to limit resellers. It got to the point that no one would buy my boards until I gave in and removed the NC limitations. Of course as soon as I removed the NC part of the license, others took my designs and resold them. They did purchase the first few batches from me, but not the full kits where I had any margin, but insisted on purchasing only the PCBs where I made $1/each. So I made $1 for each board instead of the $20 markup to retail per kit. The retailer made the $20 instead of me as the designer. There needs to be education on what the NC means and what the limitations are and what they are not.

--Ljyang 27 October 2011

Thank you for the comment, Ljyang. I took the freedom to add your user name at the bottom (which can be seen in the history anyways).
This "can't sell anything which is made with something with a NC licence" is often seen in the open source software world as well. Nevertheless, it's totally wrong. If this were true, no machining shop could sell anything, because all the traditional machines are closed source, patent protected and thus under a NC licence. As we all know, machining shop are doing healthy business with their manufactured parts and machine vendors are happy to see this.
--Traumflug 11:50, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes, there needs to be education on what the NC means. I'd prefer to not use it, but at the same time I want/need to recoup some of the money I spend on various prototypes that I build, and some small bit for my time/effort. Board runs cost me ~$30/each minimum for just the PCBs. BOM costs to build up the prototypes can vary. I often end up doing 2-3 prototype runs to shake out designs/bugs. If someone takes those final designs and just sells them and I get little or nothing to recoup my average $100-300 costs incurred during development/design, I lose my desire to share my designs openly. For my new electronics I will have an NC and be firm about it this time. If people want to resell, I will license at reasonable fee or wholesale kits. I don't know what to do about the education of users who maintain the incorrect ideas of NC.
-ljyang 27 October 2011 16:17 (utc)
Chrissketch, 17 November 2011

I think it's awesome that you're taking a stand on this NC issue. I'm not sure what the solution is to making expensive projects open source, but to a certain extent I think that the Makerbots and Ultimakers have the right idea. They're still open, but they can profit from their development by fostering a community around their quality work(RepRap is a bit scattered). I really disagree with the Wealth without Money article as decoupling wealth and money generally requires powerful institutions that don't have great track records. I'm not keen on financial advice from people supported by public institutions. Good luck and cheers. --Chrissketch 10:11, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Waste, 1 December 2011

I'm all for CC kind of licenses. As you have stated encouraging copy-shops getting all the surplus value from all the work the developers have made, is kind of problematic as it recreates the same conditions that apply in commercial applications (from the part of the developers).

Having a 3D printer was a strict, expensive and commercial product. But the parts and the technology was accessible and all those people started the development of this nice open project. In a sense with DIY 3D printers, they de-commercialized the commodity called 3D printer, and showed that it can be made for a ridiculous price (comparing it with ready made 3D printers). So that has created a price/value gap. You could buy a ready made commercial 3D printer for 4000eur or you can make one on your own for 500 or so. And that gap was filled by the copyshops now charging around 1.200 for a ready make assembled one. And thats unfair for all the people that had spend hours and hours for this project, because the surplus value/profit (from 500 to 1200 minus the assembly costs) goes to the copyshops.
By all means I dont want new a bill gates at my front door. No thanks. But CC kind of license is a license that cannot create a new bill gates. It just shares that surplus value between the copyshop and the developer. It is still free for everyone as long as you dont want to make a profit out of it. Because lets be fair. Not all of the people are technically minded nerds. So some people will want to buy a ready made machine and that's ok. But because most of those ready made machines have a surplus value (which means that the parts cost + assembly cost + shipping is < asking price) then is should be fair that this profit be shared between the people selling and the people developing.

--Waste 22:59, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

BP

It sounds like what you're describing on your page is a lot like what QT does. They have a dual license where their code is GPL but if you want to use their code to sell software, you have to pay them for a commercial license. I think mySQL does the same thing. Also, so what if people bitch and moan about an NC license, that's their problem. They're just pissed that their free ride is gone. -BP

Well observed, BP. --Traumflug 02:27, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Dslc, 5 April 2012

Your stance seems entirely reasonable to me Markus. Also, in case you're interested, Markus, I raised this issue on the Open manufacturing discussion group: here. --Dslc 07:03, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

KalleP, 25 April 2012

I have made comment on the Gen7 page about your licence and other bits but not seen any activity.

After having read the above your stance is clear to me but my one complaint still stands about the licence. On the page where the various electronics are compared your licence model is not listed because it is mixed up with the GPL for the other PCB I think. This makes the reader wary of what your licence might be, to help there could be a link to this page in that comparison table and in the info box on the Gen7 main PCB page so those like me who like to follow rules and understand the exceptions can get a grip on what it means and why it is in place.

Another thought I have after reading this is that as people here and on the forums freely give advice and bug fixes then the developer is no longer a single person, so the work is a collaborative effort, in art circles a collaboration (unless agreed otherwise) entitles all to an equal portion of the benefits, while this is not usually fair when there is a large imbalance of development input it does bear consideration. The free developers are now prevented from sharing in the fruits of their labour unless the licence holder gives them preferential rights to market in return for their input. There is no question that this is a complex issue and the amount of explanation needed above shows just how involved it is, there is no do/don't answer to how one should proceed. The reason for the open licence in open source and GPL hardware is that often there is freely given input from others. It seem you hint that other developers will be looked after but how is not clear.

One thing though about making money from the DIY folk and other end users is that it needs to be REAL easy for them to make choices, impulse choices can often be made to work in the developers favour too, and to this end the price and source of supply for anything that is for sale (that could benefit the developer for his time) should be 'in your face' and even if it cannot perhaps be placed on the RepRap.org site it should be at most one click away from there he is keen to make a purchase.

I am planning to make a Gen7 purchase at some point when I am ready but will be sad when I have to send email/s and wait for reply/ies to establish prices, versions, availability, shipping costs, possible future resale licence fees (if as pleased with product as I expect) and so on. It seems like a old/estimate/guide price would make more interest and maybe allow for more retail sales, popularity and eventually lower licence fees and more interest from other developers.

I am working my way to a RepStrap and will be using it and would love to do development with it and some of it in new directions but as a mostly hobby project it needs to find a way to start on a budget and pay for itself if it wants to grow beyond the minimum 3D printer, enabling others to get a RepStraps going is a goal I have.

KalleP 14:22, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

KalleP, 25 April 2012

While browsing the forums and thinking a partial solution just came to me.

While Generation 7 is Traumflug's project and mostly his work and we would like to keep the copy-shops out of the free ideas grabbing while still allow developers to formally have some access to the fruits of their labour. Not to say this should operate retroactively but might there be place for a model where development works that are non-commercial (which sounds very scary for someone who wants to licence something) but still collaborative projects could be managed by RepRap.org on behalf of the DIY and the developer community. That way personal use is ok, resale must be licensed and royalty amounts to be arranged in some measure by vote (which would see traumflug get the lions share here) but there would not be a loss of the communities input to the individual that is holding the licence. I'm all in favour of primary developers getting their share of licensable designs (I might be in that position one day) but it would be nice if the RepRap community gained what they have put in terms of debugging and incremental improvements. Perhaps it would not be ideally suited to projects where there are more primary developers but such matters could be discussed. It just seems that the NC licence is counter to its name as licensed commercial use is accepted. While I agree the GPL etc is too open in cases where individual development is under threat from the copy-shops and a way to protect that should be found if the individual developers are to be encouraged.

Lastly something that may not be practical, possible or desirable but could be considered is that the future profits of personal development could be paid for by the RepRap community by using crowd funding like KickStarter to collect small amounts from fans and larger amounts from copy-shops (to get an early licence) to buy the IP for RepRap.org, this can be done for small projects and not just complete projects like the Printrbot. I don't know if this could work but it seems like a lovely way to get the value out for the developers and putting the designs into the open market to grow and sell as best they can. It would get the developer his return on investment much faster than selling a few dozen boards a week for a year while the design grows slowly. I proposed this in another forum but out of 600+ members on a group there was one lukewarm response as I think people are mostly rather apathetic.

KalleP 18:58, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for writing down your opinion, KalleP. Somehow I missed your comments on the Gen7 page earlier, now I answered them. I think this NC vs. GPL discussion will continue for quite a while. --Traumflug 09:50, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Bobc, 5 May 2012

I always wondered how "open source hardware" was going to work. Open Source software is a nice model to follow, but software is fundamentally different to hardware in one important respect: software has no real manufacturing step - there is no physical incarnation, although a physical medium can be used to carry a copy. I can just email my software to put it on a website for download. OTOH, hardware requires a manufacturing/delivery step to be useful. That step costs money, in purchasing, assembly, delivery and compliance testing etc. I can't email a printer to someone.

So there is a real value being provided by people who sell hardware, and it seems reasonable to recognise that with an NC condition when the design is shared. That does mean it is not truly Open Source though. There is also the tricky question of how to handle derivatives.

These are questions relating to the spirit of cooperation. In legal terms, there is no copyright protection for electronic designs (only for documents). Copy shops can and will copy PCBs whether open or closed source. I had a colleague whose closed design was copied by the very distributor he was supplying products to!

I guess there needs to be a word meaning "Open to NC" to apply to hardware designs.

Bobc 12:12, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the comment, Bobc. As you can download all Gen7 design files, it's open source, of course. What you probably mean is, it isn't as free as you'd prefer. A valid opinion and I'm one of the observers, how NC vs. free for commercial use develops, too. So far there's no winner in sight. --Traumflug 14:50, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Spiritdude, 2 August 2012

You wrote "Today's general attitude is to pay some € 5.- to € 10.- for every hour of just reproducing a design, a lot more than the costs for raw material and electricity.", my question: can you give me your estimate or measurements you did of an hour printing on a RepRap? Spiritdude 10:51, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

No exact measurements done. I even consider it pointless to measure this type of work by the hour. The point of this sentence was to show how manufacturing work is valued a lot higher than development work. --Traumflug 11:43, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Maxy, 27 January 2013

Have a look at the CERN open hardware talk at RMLL for another take on this topic.

For my own point of view: I'm developing open source software for several years in my spare time. If you think there is a lack of will for collaboration on hardware projects, let me tell you from experience: neither do software projects start out as collaboration. That's what they become, sometimes, after they have established an user base. I see no reason why this should be different with open hardware projects. It can't have to do with the size egos - if they were much bigger than the egos of software developers, they would burst like bubbles.

You may think open source software "works" because people have figured out how to get a salary for their work. Some have. But my guess is that, especially with end-user applications, there is still a lot volunteer work. I follow four active software projects (GIMP, MyPaint, Krita, Battle for Wesnoth). I'm pretty sure that for all of them, the majority of work done is volunteer work. Only for one (Krita) there is a serious attempt to increase the amount of paid work.

What I see as an important problem (both for software and hardware) is the psychological effect when some people are getting paid for the same work that others do in their spare time. The NC dual-license model is a big "Ha Ha Ha" [edit: inappropriate work replaced] to contributors and derivatives. For contributors, because they can't contribute back under the same license that they have received from you - you will ask them for the additional permission to also make money from their work. Most contributors won't mind that others profit from their contribution, but they will mind the inequality you create by keeping an exclusive right for some of the profit to yourself. For derivatives it's a problem because the modified hardware can't ever be commercially produced without your blessing. It also creates a single point of failure in the "freedom" chain - if you lose interest or disappear, nobody is allowed to manufacture and then sell the stuff any more. After that, it will be only ever accessible to do-it-yourself people. When someone makes an "altruistic" contribution, they gain nothing except the knowledge that they have done something useful - which means they want to maximize the number of users who profit from it.

Your analysis that "open source" for hardware is mainly used as a marketing term is correct, of course. Unless the manufacturing of electronics becomes as accessible as the manufacturing of plactic parts has become now, there will always be too much profit involved in the "copying" part compared to software. What people ask for ("open source hardware") does not quite match what they really want ("accessible hardware" would be my guess). Even if money were not a problem: another hurdle to contribute to open hardware is the large time that it takes for a contribution to reach the actual user base, which has a big impact on the motivation of volunteer contributors.

A more political thought, after reading the Wealth Without Money article, I think what we really need is to get this "basic income" idea working, so you are not completely borked if you want to do a lot of unpaid work in your life.

--Maxy 13:47, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments, Maxy. I hope you don't mind too much about the replacement of this nasty word.
I think you score a point with the problem of derivatives. How do contributors to e.g. Firefox or Ubuntu feel? Both are driven by paid workers, Ubuntu is even for-profit and while you can theoretically make a derivative for your own profit, market forces pretty much make this impossible. Do they suffer, like you consider Gen7 contributors to do?
--Traumflug 18:32, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
After watching this CERN video, well, I see a situation quite different from the one at RepRap:
  • With or without being open source, the projects would happen anyways.
  • Apparently they don't market their products, neither profit, widespreadness nor merchability is a concern.
  • Accordingly, open source competes with traditional development models, not with traditional distribution models.
  • There are no copy shops in their picture (entities selling their stuff without doing development).
  • All work is done by paid developers.
  • Actually, they insist on working only with companies which are paid and develop on their own.
  • Apparently, derivatives don't happen. If (partial) designs are copied, they go into new, distinguished products.
--Traumflug 02:30, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Noobman, 13 May 2013

Hello and btw thanks for the work you are doing for the community. I started to work on RDB which is both wired and weird DIY electronics. Because of how weird it is i think will not see much catch at audience. But nonetheless after all that has been said above, i dont want to disturb repraps DIY-electronics area which imho is already too small and too fragile. Everybody is a genius on forums, but nobody does the real work in practice, and in the end the diy area doesnt get enough development. Nobody else seems to make any effort except you. In conclusion, as you are the only one doing real work and development of reprap's DIY-electronics, then i need to ask your advice on the topic of license, e.g. if rdb should be either gpl or cc-by-nc-30. I do not think i can create inconveniences, but still, i feel like i should ask and conform. So i would appreciate your thoughts about this. Thanks and respect.

Hello Noobman, I think it doesn't matter much for Gen7 which license you put on RDB electronics. These are different projects with different names, RepRappers will see the distinction. Anyways, I'm happy to see more people pick up on the DIY-able electronics idea, looking forward for your weird wires! --Traumflug 12:31, 13 May 2013 (UTC)


Dear Traumflug, Thank you very much for your work developing RepRap hardware and helping other people trying to build their own 3D printer.

Pages Generation 7 Electronics and Comparison of Electronics were vague about what specific license(s) (if any) the Gen7 was released under.

As far as I can tell, you released all the schematics and layouts for Gen7 under a Creative Commons By-NC-SA 3.0 license -- right?

So I updated those pages specifically mentioning that license( [1]; [2] ). Please revert my edits if that isn't what you intended.

Again, thank you very much. --DavidCary 19:48, 10 March 2013 (UTC)