Re: [rp-ml] Open source whatchamacallits

From: Brock Hinzmann (
Date: Wed Aug 10 2005 - 09:11:13 EEST

Steve's examples point to a future of abundant resources,
rather than to the past of limited resources. In the past,
companies were able to accumulate power by acquiring and
controlling resources, whereas in the digitally networked
age, resources can be easily multiplied. If I give
something to someone else, they have it, but I also still
have it.

With open source, companies have to figure out a different
way to make money on the commons. The grass isn't limited
to a certain number of sheep grazing there. An infinite
number of sheep can graze on the same grass. An infinite
amount of information in virtual space can occupy the same
physical geolocation. As that infinity begins to spread,
how can someone make money by making it easy for someone
to find their way across the commons? Authorization,
authentication, quality control, digital rights
management, social networks, and so on.

This discussion is already underway in many other
industries. How does it relate to RP & M, fabbing, SFFing,
freeforming, desktopia or whatever?

Brock Hinzmann

On Tue, 09 Aug 2005 17:53:09 -0700
  Steve Baker <> wrote:
>Marshall Burns wrote:
>>I've pondered going open source before. When James
>>Howison and I gave our
>>"Napster Fabbing" talk a few years ago at a P2P (peer to
>>peer) conference, I
>>tried to get into a few conversations with some open
>>source sw gurus about
>>how the idea could apply to hardware. I didn't come to
>>see how it would, but
>>then again, I still don't really understand how it works
>>for software. As a
>>struggling entrepreneur, I would look at people like
>>Linus Torvalds (creator
>>of Linux) and I'd say to myself, "Well, he's got a job,
>>he doesn't have to
>>worry about making a living from this." I haven't held a
>>paycheck job for
>>more than a few cumulative years in my half-century life,
>>so I have to think
>>about ways to turn what I do into revenue.
>I'm an OpenSource contributor - I have written quite a
>body of software that's
>released under GPL licensing.
>I'm skeptical about the ability of significant numbers of
>people to make
>money doing it. But that's not how it works.
>Most (almost all, actually) OpenSource software
>developers have paying
>day jobs writing or maintaining closed source software.
>OpenSource software tends to be a hobby activity. People
>have been doing
>programming 'for fun' since the very beginning of
>personal computers - but
>it's only with the advent of the Internet that it's
>really been possible
>to give away your works.
>Why give your software away? Well, generally, what you
>write is only a
>small part of some large piece of software - so it's not
>sellable as a
>separate thing. Mostly, you write something because you
>need it yourself.
>Then, you might as well give it away as hoard it to
>yourself. There is
>even a positive benefit to doing that - other people pick
>it up and improve
>it. They fix bugs, they add features, they document it,
>clean it up, port
>it onto other computer platforms...and they do it for you
>for nothing.
>Then there is a 'community' feeling - you make friends
>with fellow OpenSource
>people - you chat to them about software - more software
>gets written.
>OpenSource does come from other routes - big companies
>write software for
>their own internal use - they discover that if they
>OpenSource it, other
>people will fix bugs in it and maintain it for them.
> For a small company,
>that can be a huge win.
>>But I'm very intrigued with the open source idea and how
>>it's been at the
>>core of some very interesting software projects, Linux
>>just being the
>>best-known example. And I'm wondering, is there is some
>>productive way to
>>turn the Offset Fabbing technology into an open source
>I'm 100% certain that if domestic 3D printers don't
>forcable lock
>out 'OpenSource' designs from being fabricated (which
>they might), then
>hundreds and then thousands of OpenSourced designs will
>I might need a container for pencils and pens for my
>desk. I design something.
>I fabricate one for myself - and because it's easy, I
>dump a copy of it onto
>a web site where other people can get it.
>Sometime later, I discover that my pen holder is a bit
>top-heavy and it falls
>over a lot. Looking back at my web site, I discover that
>someone has already
>gone in there and widened the base for me - there is a
>long email thread
>about how people have decorated my pen holder design -
>and another person has
>made my design work with other kinds of 3D printers - and
>yet another has
>made a 10x bigger version to store garden tools in their
>Great! What do I care? Nobody was ever going to buy my
>design for a
>wobbly pen holder anyway. It's worth more to me as an
>improved design
>than it would have earned for me if I'd tried to sell it.
>If even just a few hundred people in the world design
>things and give them
>away for free, there will be thousands of designs out
>there on the web in
>amazingly short order.
>Will someone think of using a 3D printer to make another
>3D printer?
>Of course! Providing the technology allows motors,
>sensors, circuitry,
>etc to be somehow incorporated in the finished product.
>That's a project that a whole team of people might get
>together to make.
>They'd do it so they could control the design - improve
>upon it. They'd
>do it just for the meaning it gives to their lives to be
>part of a team.
>They'd do it for fame - because it would look great on
>their resume.
>If you want a better feel for how things might be, take a
>look at:
>...this is a site that will take your 3D graphic models
>and either sell
>them (you get to name the price) or give them away (if
>you prefer). You'd
>ask "why would anyone ever give something away when they
>could sell it"?
>Well, take a look. You'll see that maybe a third of the
>3D models they
>have there are given away for free. The ones you pay for
>are generally
>better quality models - but not always.
>Turbosquid is the exact kind of web site that would be a
>resource for people
>seeking designs for their 3D printers.
>---------------------------- Steve Baker
>HomeEmail: <> WorkEmail:
>HomePage :
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