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An internal struggle between the "we" and the "me" on the community and IP

Posted by Simba 
Re: An internal struggle between the "we" and the "me" on the community and IP
October 26, 2013 05:11PM

RepRapPro[Any RepRap shop] may make money by selling atoms, but the IP is all released Open Source (AFAIK).

IP makes the value of atoms, so they also sell the IP. With hardware, these two are connected. With software built upon Open Source, like a Linux distro with closed source installer, too.

Generation 7 Electronics Teacup Firmware RepRap DIY
Re: An internal struggle between the "we" and the "me" on the community and IP
October 28, 2013 08:53AM
johnrpm Wrote:
> This post was a genuine attempt for a simple
> solution to a complex problem, I tihink if some
> thought was put into it, it could
> work, but this has largely been ignored.
> johnrpm Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > As I said before, I am more than happy to share
> > with fellow tinkeres and experimenters, but not
> > with someone who just wants to make money.
> > therefore, this may be a naive idea, but why
> not
> > have an area of the wiki for NC, clearly stated
> as
> > such, developers can choose to post their work
> > in the gpl or nc area.

> > I am the first to admit that I have not thought
> > this through fully, and it may not work.
> >
> > P.S, some people like to post ideas to stop
> > patents, others just don't want their ideas
> used
> > commercially.
> I was shocked to hear from a member of the core
> team,
> [reprap.org]
> @johnrpm
> is it just me who is not running a shop?
> @Traumflug
> My estimate is, you're one of very few. No
> objection with this, I'd like to do development,
> only, too. But I had to decide wether I wanted to
> do RepRap stuff 100% or another job and only 10%
> RepRap. My choice was the former.
> I have tried to listen to all sides of the debate,
> but can not see a solution to this problem for the
> forseeable future, there are as many opinions
> as people, so achieving a consensus will be very
> difficult, but I wish you all luck, please leave
> me out of the debate, thanks.

johnrpm: Below is the reply I made earlier to your post. It addressed your simple solution which proposes what is already in place. People do read what you have to say and comment on it, we do appreciate you in the conversation. Flagging the development pages with the chosen licence model serves the same purpose and is already in place. However some do not want the licence model to be anything other than GPL so the same people would ask that the -NC section of the wiki should be closed down. Obviously there needs to be a desire for license options before people will accept various ways of indicating the options.

No need to reply to this if you wish to bow out from this rather heated debate, I think you have ideas to share and a part to play when it suits you.

Don't mind the core team, they are just random people who make assumptions the same as everyone else. I think the barrier to entry in that club are still pretty low and the dress code seems to be informal. I am also not a shop but only because I have not found a product yet that will be less work to sell than it is worth, either way having a shop or not does not detract from my wanting developers to be compensated for development time. I do not want developers to leave RepRap because it is not of value to them. The bounty system may turn out to be great for much of the development and rewarding those who fill specific needs, the innovative designer still has to find a way to get paid before he publishes a revolutionary idea that no-one even knew to ask for. It would be a neat idea if the ownership of the bounties ideas went to all RepRap users (held by the RepRap Foundation) and was available under licence to all RepRap shops to fund new bounties and speculative development.

> > johnrpm: From this it looks like you are having exactly the same dilemma as all the
> > others who would like to limit the abuse of their ideas. That is exactly what this thread
> > is discussing and you are unlikely to find a better platform to air your views. The wiki
> > already has a place on the development pages to specify the licence model. The only
> > problem is that there is a portion of the community that believes only GPL should be
> > allowed in that variable field, almost as if it should not be an editable.

rumba Wrote:
> I really enjoy this discussion spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

rumba: Glad to be able to entertain. Nice to have a new voice in the room.

jac Wrote:
> Kalle,
> The list I gave do indeed provide remuneration for
> designers of parts. Set up a kickstarter and you
> even get the money before you spend any time
> working on the design. Using your experience as
> evidence to get a new job also helps you
> financially, in an indirect way. Donation buttons
> bring in as much money as people are willing to
> give.

jac: I am not a USA social security number holder so am not able to use KickStarter. Also as discussed in other threads, KickStarter is not a shop for products and trying to peddle the publishing of an idea will likely get you 5% of what you hoped to gain after having to disclose publicly much of the detail without any protection. KickStarter is what it is but it is not a development remunerator. Indigogo is similar and open to all but there are no guarantees of getting donations for development work before disclosure and less after.

Most people are not going to change jobs on the bais of some open source disclosure they have made. There is also little reason to disclose in most cases because most companies will not give the time spent on developing an open source project all that much merit, just draft it in your portfolio and hope it impresses the recruitment guy. This is also only useful if you plan to look for a job in a similar industry which would be a tiny market here in South Africa.

Yeah, have you tried a donation button, I wonder how may places disclose the amount of donations they get per visitor. It is not about how interesting your idea is mostly but of how many page views you are likely to get. I donate occasionally to projects if they have saved me actual cash but am also slow to donate when it is a hobby project that I could have worked around, not a sure fire way of getting a salary.

> Of course you aren't being paid royalties for each
> item made. If that is the way "Open source"
> hardware is to work it would be indistinguishable
> from what we do now.

jac: No, closed source is what is inside your 2D printer firmware. Open source is what is inside your RepRap firmware. One forces royalties, the other has none. Jail-breaking and reverse engineering exists because most things are NOT open source. Getting royalties is not an inherently evil thing. If you design something for me and I sell lots of widgets that I could not without your design it seems the nice and nble thing to give you some of that profit. Nothing sinister in it if it is done openly and fairly.

> If everyone refuses to release their super secret
> ideas so they can make a few pennies themselves
> (and let's face it, there is not much profit in
> RepRap hotends) then the community collapses.
> We've already all gained from the freely released
> designs of existing printers and components. As
> with software, if no-one is contributing to
> development the project will cease or else become
> closed source and we are back to the bog standard
> "I sell it, you buy it" world. My understanding
> was that the Open Source hardware movement was
> about taking some of the lessons from software and
> extending them. Afterall, Linus Torvalds doesn't
> have the time to write a complete OS on his own
> that could run the internet, but once people (and
> companies) see the benefits they get from everyone
> else's work it makes more sense to collaborate.

jac: The companies that benefit from Open Source Software are the ones who use it or can leverage the market to purchase some of their other products, make no mistake, they are not charities. The small hardware developer does not usually have a massive use for incremental improvements in his own design from the community (though eventually he would integrate them) and he seldom has a secondary market for the designs unless he is a manufacturer. So in your analogy it would make sense for StataSys, HP, MakerBot and others to fund open source 3D printing so they can steal the ideas honestly but it would still not be a fair exchange, because they have the capital they do not have to share their ideas and as such it plays into their hands. Now if they were the ones who had to pay licence and the end users and DIY crowd would get it for free it might make sense, unfortunately the GPL licence model does rather favour the big guy in a collaboration.

> Yes there will be freeloaders. I for example might
> never contribute anything constructive to the
> RepRap project. However, I hope that with hardware
> we see the same benefits as we do with software.
> Even with freeloaders giving nothing back, the
> product made as a result of collaboration is
> orders of magnitude beyond what is made with a
> purely competitive attitude.

jac: You are not a freeloader, you are a participating community member, however you are not being paid for it so you are a donor or a volunteer and one day you might go do something where you are able to have more input on how your time is valued.

Open Source Software exists partly due to unethical licensing models that large companies have and still use which has angered the end users. It also exists partly out of fear of the big players in the industry that cannot be beaten by any other company working alone. It is pretty much the same problem that politics has to contend with. If the majority party are not doing a perfect job then you should always cast your vote to any other party. If they majority still wins they will be more nervous and that is the only way to keep them from being too greedy, if they do not win, hopefully you selected the party best able to serve the needs of the society, in the case of software, Open Source is the other party that is needed to keep Microsoft etc. on their toes.

> Are Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds
> billionaires like Bill Gates?
> No.
> Is linux better than MS Windows?
> Well, one of those runs TV boxes, CT scanners,
> nuclear power stations, mobile phones and
> basically the entire internet. The other lets
> grandma email you pictures of cats.

jac: They do not have to compete. However for linux to compete it has to offer the same service level agreements and take the responsibility for the software, linux on it's own cannot which is why there are distributions that are commercial that are prepared to take these responsibilities. I think the same for RepRap, while it can guide and nurture, it is not in a position to be responsible for all breeds of printer out there.

Lahti, Finland
The only stable form of government is Open Source Government. - Kalle Pihlajasaari 2013
Re: An internal struggle between the "we" and the "me" on the community and IP
November 04, 2013 04:21AM
I saw the following via Facebook, interesting project (open smartphone), not 3D printing related but very much an open Hardware project.

They have secured crowd development finance of US$20'000.00+ in 5 days via a donation portal.

They claim to be an open platform like OpenMoko (licence unclear) and build on GTA04 which is CC-NC


Lahti, Finland
The only stable form of government is Open Source Government. - Kalle Pihlajasaari 2013
First of all, I want to say thanks, and I'm really happy to see this level of sophistication developing in this conversation. The friction between commercial & non-commercial, free versus open versus proprietary, etc has been on-going – and it's probably because we're in uncharted territory at the moment. Not only is there no consensus on licensing, there is little consensus on whether or which existing IP laws are even appropriate.

I came upon this forum post through a mailing list and wanted to add my perspective, as it relates to the RepRap project and free & open source hardware in general.

My wife and I run a small 3D print shop which has been supporting us full time for 4 months. We produce 3D prints of toys, puzzles, magnets, basic accessories.. some cosplay stuff.. (on Etsy as well as in person craft fairs and events) and we're also producing for a recently successful kickstarter.

Everything we make or sell is 'open source', in that it is all documented and posted on Thingiverse, mostly under a [commercial] creative commons license. This means that some of the things we make are our designs, but many are not. I think this would put us sort of in the same boat as the 'copy shops'.

While we've received mostly positive feedback from designers about selling their designs, there still remains a rift when it comes down to licenses.

As a part-thanks, part-incentive for additional development of replicable foshware goods, we're rolling out the pilot 'DevShare' program.

Basically, 10% of profit is earmarked for people who contributed to the designs. Right now it's an all-or-nothing allocation, but in the future it will be split up amongst anyone who's contributed, based on their level of contribution.

Obviously, the algorithm I describe is not yet robust enough to apply immediately to the RepRap project. But I wanted to get your opinions and intuitions about it. The organization structure I'm suggesting would atomize RepRap (and other foshware projects) into distinct & version controlled projects. New contributions would be rated by existing contributors, and older contributions would eventually decay. CopyShops would sell versioned products, and agree (or be compelled by license?) to distribute the 10% back to the developers, split amongst contributors according to some transparent algorithm.

For foshware to really take off, there needs to be economic incentives for developing and specializing in that, without everyone also having to be a salesman and manufacturer. Neither should we insist that all the design be done by engineers and artists in their off time, having full time jobs at some IP dungeon that is the rest of the economy.

When we think about what RepRap (and replication technology in general) can do for humanity, it's primarily in economic terms.

Even if we're jumping right to Personal Manufacturing. You can make that widget yourself, so you don't have to go out and buy it. Post scarcity won't be a switch that's flipped, it will be gradual if it's going to happen.

But in the meantime, there is this entire other enormous economy, atomized into these little tiny islands, hording and duplicating work again and again as they fight one another, pouring money into things like marketing or patent acquisition which skews demand and increases the cost of things and prevents others from entering the market.

It is my belief that replication technology + free & open source hardware has the potential to do some serious disruption to this system of inefficiency and inequity --- but it will do this by actively engaging in commerce, rather than shying from it.

So anyway.. I have some ideas on the specifics of what a RepRap-compatible DevShare system might look like, but I wanted to first get some gut reactions to the idea.

Thanks for your time!
Re: An internal struggle between the "we" and the "me" on the community and IP
November 04, 2013 01:14PM
It's been said before, but if you have to pay royalties, then it is not Open Source. Merely creating the expectation of being paid royalties for generating Open Source is a fundamental erosion of Open Source principles.

If you want to turn Open Source back into a closed source, to "make it viable in the marketplace", all you have done is destroy the principle of Open Source. You won't get any thanks for that, apart from those people who didn't really believe in Open Source principles in the first place.
It's been said before, but if you have to pay royalties, then it is not Open Source.

Even if the royalties are voluntary? Which principles is this eroding?

I know I said "(compelled by license?)" just to throw it out there, but I tend to be less comfortable with that. I'm mostly talking about a voluntary micro-royalty program, which the casual user could ignore, but the large marketplaces would have a clearcut way to contribute back to development. Which principles of open source am I destroying?
Re: An internal struggle between the "we" and the "me" on the community and IP
November 04, 2013 07:11PM

Which principles is this eroding?

The principles of those who can't swallow that there exist many variations of "Open Source" and also don't see how the their pure religion simply doesn't work for many people of the real world. They're quite happy when developers go away unpaid and cheer when copy shops make millions with other delevopers' work.

I think you're on the right track, @Replications. Sustained development/design can only work if there is some reward and in our current world the medium of choice for this is money.

Generation 7 Electronics Teacup Firmware RepRap DIY
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