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Time to face the music: What's the plan for harnessing enthusiasm better here?
  • I don't know if the current rate of progress is 1/2 prototype *designs* per month or 1/10 per month, but no matter how you work it it's nowhere near enough to meet the 50/2/2 plan which needs more like 6 per month and is supposed to be the focus right now.   Even aside from the fact the plan was started sometime before February.

    So, there's the kickstarter campaign which covers the funding for a few more tools but neither it nor the 50/2/2 plan addresses the sheer lack of person-hours of serious contribution going in.

    Pivotal will help when the details are worked out enough that the rest of us can start using it. (how long?)

      A deluge of attention far bigger than anyone else in this position could ever hope for already came after the ted talk and while it helped enormously, clearly publicity alone is not enough.  Nor is money in the amounts we are talking about with the kickstarter campaign and true fans (which is the bulk of fundraising).

    I think we need,

    A) To  get better at lassoing people who do click through and see the page.

    B) To harness the enthusiasm of the contributors better after they do sign up (on the wiki, which is the de facto way to join up) or otherwise have their attention captured by OSE.

    There has been a lot of stuff done for A, like the elevator pitch being written and the main pages on being improved.

    One thing that has been suggested so far has been to enable anonymous editing on the wiki, another is to improve wiki organization so it's less overwhelming for newcomers (and everyone).

    I suggested the community exploration idea to help with both A and B (and to improve openness), which no one liked.  Marcin won't even deign to answer me when I try to talk to him about it.  Whatever, if you don't like that idea fine, but then we still have to come up with something else, not just ignore the problem.

    So what are we going to do to improve here?

  • 61 Comments sorted by
  • Okay, I just came across which basically lays out a strategy in which all design work is done by paid contractors or employees, instead of learning to work with a community.  Again, if you can get that kind of money, sure.  Although it does send swirling down the crapper a lot of the benefits of the usual open source development process.

    Hopefully some other organization will be willing to work with volunteers then some time in the future.   I guess we might as well go now then.

    Secondly, if this is the plan, I frankly feel burned.  I spent a lot of time on this because I though what I did might make a difference.  Apparently the policy is to ignore the disposable volunteers and just pay developers to do it how Marcin says, instead.  If that's the policy this needs to be CLEARLY displayed on the front page to avoid deceiving people.

  • I think this is a worthwhile discussion and plan on saying more than just that when it is not 3am
  • I though I would be able to cook up a big response, but upon reflection, I do not need to, I think it is easy to respond simply.  I think that we need a professional level of organization, and I think Marcin needs to be freed up (by himself primarily) to focus on his strongest areas, which is tech related.
  • Amateurs can benefit by volunteering.  They can develop skills and become professional.  The designs from an amateur that took him 40 hours to make aren't worth anything compared to what an experienced professional can do in 4 hours.  $50-100 per hour is not high end for professional design and fabrication services.

    We should go farther and offer non-open source design services.  That way we can get immediate cash and we can get experience working with each other.  We collectively have all of the skills to offer full product design, fabrication and support services.

    -Josh Jordan

  • I would say what would give OSE a lot
    more momentum is a coordinated effort to start local groups. As
    someone who has so far just been on the outside looking in, reading
    the forums, and exploring the wiki, there has been this tendency to
    loose momentum from a lack of feeling this is a coordinated team
    effort. It feels like your suppose to contribute to the wiki with no
    sense you are accomplishing the larger effort or that you have to
    start your own project unsupported and hope it will be accepted with
    no financial backing.

    This group needs to be decentralized.
    This group needs face to face contact to build trust in the system.
    This project cannot benefit that much from evangelizism because the
    entry threshold is so large. There is the time getting lost in the
    wiki, finding the correct channels to find a project or where you
    would be useful, finding that all most projects have to self funded.
    And although these problems are being addressed, they'll will always
    be a lose of momentum without transparency and the trust that

    To ease this transition people need to
    be inspired and engaged personally so that they feel valued. Local
    groups are more inspiring and engaging, are more capable of raising
    the money, and can hold up a sustained workflow since there is more
    pride and personal accountability. Instead of just throwing
    everything into a kitty we could have a local approach to fund
    individual prototypes through the members, their friends and familys,
    or events. These local events could also fuel membership.

    I think the "Join" page
    should change to reflect this. Maybe we could use or have
    team locations on the crowdmap in a visable way on "Join"
    page. Here are some potential ideas for guidelines:

    • starting a local chapter

    • how the meetings would go

    • coordinated projects with the
      larger group

    • a place to put meeting minutes

    • guides for presentations and

    • Presentations on contributing to
      the wiki

    • Fundraising planning and events

    This would also be a good way to
    roll-out documentation and explaining videos as people would prepare
    summaries of their work for meetings. It would also be a great way to
    recruit people and give a greater security that their investment was
    going to be used effectively since they personally know the people
    they are giving money too. It would also be a great way to bring in
    more press, bring in non-technical people, documenters, and introduce
    people to practical ways they can contribute if they are at an entry
    level. It would also bring more technical people since they could see
    tangible results, have a following, and be truly thrust into
    leadership positions.

    Potential problems could be deciding
    what to talk about at meetings. I suppose they could start
    informally. Just for lunch maybe. People could talk about what they
    hope to achieve, what their experience is, if they have made any
    contributions. Then gradually they could picks projects of interest
    and get resources to work on it or makes reports that could be added
    to the wiki. They could then start pulling people in and have
    fundraising efforts.

    Some expanding on this idea may be

  • @fitzsnaggle _ Exactly my friend!  We need to shift our dependency on OSE central and make this truly Open Source.  I have the very beginnings of an independent Open Source network here locally.  Anyone can do this.  I would love to see 5 or 6 more groups formed in the next year or so.  This would turn this whole thing around.

    The Dawg
  • Patience, gentlemen.  Work is happening on getting OSE better organized.  If you want to get a better view of this, have a look at

    Your suggestions are good ones and many of them are being worked out.  As you might imagine, most of the people involved in running OSE as an organization are also very involved in its mission critical technical projects (including me).  It's difficult to balance everything at times.  Rest assured that suggestions are being listened to (by me, at least).

    Ever hear the expression "aim high, shoot low"?  Having lofty, even difficult to achieve goals is one way to achieve excellence.  Are we likely to nail every goal?  No, I doubt it.  However, that shouldn't stop us from trying.

    I do not think that the best interest of OSE are served by the establishment of splinter groups or competing organizations.  While you are perfectly free to create whatever group you like, it would be unethical to hijack the work of OSE to date to establish it.  If OSE were a defunct organization, there might be some justification for it, but given the level of activity and efforts involved, I hardly think that is the case.  Forking and splintering is not the way to solve this problem.

  • @mjnHear, hear
  • @mjn - As I see it, diversity is one of the keys to a healthy open source community.  Much like the way the Internet works by routing it's way through available nodes to get to its destination.  There's nothing wrong with having like minded groups forming around OSE. 

    Marcin has made it clear that he does not intend to fund off Farm projects.  So, if projects need to fund themselves, they may as well take a stab at creating a better organization at the same time.

    As everything is being done via the Open Source model, I see no conflict with being involved with more than one of these groups.  We're all headed in the same direction anyway.

    The Dawg

  • I am not advocating splintering, but I
    generally agree with Dawg. A lot of the projects that contribute to
    OSE are independently funded. A lot the work that has been done was
    just added to the project or expanded on (Solar Fire, RepRap,
    etc...). What I am proposing is local chapters under the OSE banner,
    so that they are easy for new members to find and participate in but
    with more autonomy than is being planned.

    Looking at the plans
    for OSE Europe, I would be better off raising and handling its own
    money with its own leadership. It is not wise to require all members
    to become True Fans (but rather encourage them to), to have Marcin
    de-facto leader until GVSC is complete, or have all donations
    channeled through the main branch. This kind of hierarchy will cause
    a lot bottlenecks and kill momentum when the people who are affected
    are not in direct contact with the arbitrator.

    This has the potential to create too
    much bad blood and thereby lose potential collaborators as you lower
    sense of ownership especially those who are not highly-technically
    proficient or completely self-motivated. We will not be able to
    engage people properly or hold them accountable to do their work if
    they feel they feel expendable.

    The process will always affect the
    product. This project needs as many implementations and ideas as
    people are willing to put out there. If they can raise the money to
    make their design, they should and still be able to call themselves
    OSE. It doesn't have to be arbitarily accepted, but it should make it
    into the wiki so others can benefit.

    Having all the tools in one place is
    all well and fine, but it is shortsighted because it doesn't address
    the process of creating a community. How will the first community run
    if people feel like they are just living on someone else's land, if
    they don't feel like they are being listened to.

  • @dawg
    >  As I see it, diversity is one of the keys to a healthy open source

    Oh, I agree, actually.  However, diversity is a strength when it is cooperative in nature.  It contributes far less when it is competitive.  Are you proposing a cooperative project project outside of OSE?

    >  Much like the way the Internet works by routing it's way through
    available nodes to get to its destination.

    I don't quite see the analogy there, Damien.  Internet routers generally run the same software, the same protocols, and offer the same services - if on slightly different hardware.  Diversity is not the strength of internet routing - flexibility is.

    >  There's nothing wrong with having like minded groups forming around

    What exactly are you proposing?

    >  Marcin has made it clear that he does not intend to fund off Farm

    Indeed?  Somehow, I got a different message.  It has more to do with capabilities and project coordination than maintaining a secret skunk works in Missouri.

    >  As everything is being done via the Open Source model, I see no conflict
    with being involved with more than one of these groups.

    What groups are you referring to?  Creating new project groups outside of OSE that are focused on the same concepts, ideas, and technologies?  As you say, the nature of open source doesn't prevent you from doing that, though it seems a bit wasteful to me.


    >  A lot of the projects that contribute to 
    OSE are independently funded. A lot the work that has been done was just added to the project or expanded on (Solar Fire, RepRap, 

    Well, that's true to some extent, though SolarFire is receiving funding from OSE.  However, you are talking about cooperative ventures here.  There is certainly a place for that sort of thing in and out of OSE.  I think OSE is quite prepared to work with any other organization prepared to make a significant contribution to furthering our goals.

    >  What I am proposing is local chapters under the OSE banner, 
    so that they are easy for new members to find and participate in but with more autonomy than is being planned.

    OSE Local Chapters will have a fair degree of autonomy, as currently defined.  They will be encouraged to build and tinker with all of the OSE and GVCS technologies.  I would also think that new ideas from them or suggestions would be welcome.  As I see it, there is nothing to prevent someone in Peoria, IL from starting a local maker or fabrication club.  If they want to talk about or tinker with OSE stuff - more power to 'em.  However, if they want to be associated with OSE "as an organization", it seems reasonable to me that they would be willing to accept the guidelines being established for said local chapters.  Do you think the proposed guidelines are onerous or truly limit autonomy?  I'd be interesting in hearing more specific comments.

    >  It is not wise to require all members
    to become True Fans (but rather encourage them to), to have Marcin
    de-facto leader until GVSC is complete, or have all donations
    channeled through the main branch.

    Why do you feel that way?  Personally, I think that being a True Fan should be optional, but many organizations have dues.  Perhaps there should be different classes of membership?  As for Marcin as the de-facto leader, you might want to consider the fact that Marcin IS the de-facto leader.  He is the founder of OSE.  He holds the vision.  He is the director, dictator, and final arbitrator of how things will be done.  That will remain the case unless or until he decides to step down or delegate his authority.

    >  This kind of hierarchy will cause
    a lot bottlenecks and kill momentum when the people who are affected are not in direct contact with the arbitrator.

    Oh, I don't really think so.  Yeah, bottle necks are possible, but also far more likely in a decentralized organization than a hierarchical one.  Momentum is perhaps an issue, but there is more than one way to measure it.  If people decide to stop posting to the OSE forums in droves, does that really prevent progress on the projects?  I kinda doubt it.  Ultimately, progress (and hence momentum) will be measured by results.  We may not hit the lofty goals that Marcin has set for us but all progress is good progress and will benefit all.  As for those not in contact with Marcin - I've never met the man.  Never been to FeF.  It hasn't affected my ability to contribute in the slightest.  I would like to meet some day, however.

    >  This has the potential to create too
    much bad blood and thereby lose potential collaborators as you lower
    sense of ownership especially those who are not highly-technically
    proficient or completely self-motivated.

    LOL  In any social organization there will be pissed off people, bad blood, and outright hatred.  Marcin isn't taking away ownership.  My belief is that he would love to give full ownership to virtually any GVCS project to someone he trusts, but therein lies the rub.  Who to trust?  It is very, very hard to find capable, committed, competent, dedicated, people for tasks that often involve high technology, significant education and experience, and compete with corporations for the same people.  Faced with such a daunting task, is it any wonder that Marcin chooses to oversee most of the projects himself?

    >  We will not be able to
    engage people properly or hold them accountable to do their work if
    they feel they feel expendable.

    Trusted, valued people are never treated as expendable.

    >  This project needs as many implementations and ideas as
    people are willing to put out there. If they can raise the money to
    make their design, they should and still be able to call themselves

    If money is being raised based on the reputation and name of Open Source Ecology, then it seems quite reasonable that Marcin should have a say in how it is allocated and spent.  If they do not want to work with OSE as an organization and abide by it's guidelines, then why call themselves part of OSE?  Groups such as OSE have a group dynamic and culture.  Part of that dynamic is to determine who can be part of the organization and who cannot.  Different groups have different mechanisms to determine inclusiveness.  Ours is based on merit.  Your worth to the group is determined by what you contribute (or how much you take away).  This is a very common paradigm in open source organizations.  Apache is run this way, for example.  Also note that there are degrees of belonging.  Someone who throws out the occasional idea in a forum is one level of contributor.  Another who actively gathers material and enhances the wiki is another.  Someone who puts in significiant time to generate technical designs, drawings, and CAD models is still another.  Etc.  These people are NOT equal in the eyes of OSE as an organization.  Merit equals worth.

    >  How will the first community run
    if people feel like they are just living on someone else's land, if
    they don't feel like they are being listened to.

    You are making some pretty major assumptions about how OSE intentional communities will be organized and run.  Help build one and your suggestions are likely to have a lot more merit.

    FWIW,  Mark Norton

  • Thanks for setting me straight. I've sitting on the edge of the pool and not sure if I want to jump in. Some people say its too hot, a couple people are getting out because its too cold, and I'm too embarrassed to get in shallow end because I can't swim. I'm really frustrated I have to get in the shallow end and I'm thinking the organization should be organized that way to accommodate it. But that's not really realistic at this point.

    Anyway, that settles my paranoia. I see what you mean by going by the OSE label and by the hierarchy. I guess my frustration comes from not finding an appealing way to jump in and worrying that will always be the case for everyone.
  • Well, MJN, that really NEEDS to be posted somewhere people will see it so they know *ahead of time* ALL such information about how this place is run, and the REAL plans for the future.  Given that it conflicts with what is implied elsewhere. 

    Contributors absolutely have a right to know this sort of thing early on and are being given entirely the wrong impression.  It's unacceptable to have it squirreled away on the forum or wiki where they will never see it.   And immoral.

    In fact, was the information you just shared even anywhere on the wiki or forum at all?  Because I certainly never saw it, and I have been looking for information on this sort of thing!

    The opacity of this place goes way to far.  This is no longer about poor management or procrastination about getting things up on the wiki.  This is an abuse of the trust of contributors, the inner circle is doing one thing and implying another.  This is fundamental information we deserve to have right off the bat.


  • Oh, and including the fact that this place is being converted to a conventional for-profit "non-profit" corporation under our feet.  501c3 status or whatever is one thing.  Planning to do all the work with paid contractors and employees is something else entirely.

    Perhaps you can tell us which other Open Source Development Projects you know of do things that way?

    Did anyone else here know there was a nonprofit director just hired for something like $65K ? How much more than the average American makes is that? 30% or something? So much for nonprofit!  If someone is making a salary like that, they're profiting, buddy.

    EDIT:  OMG, no, that hiring was in May!  WTF??  What bullshit!
  • @gregor
    In an ideal world, we'd have good planning, a roadmap of the future,  a well organized web site that leads people to relevant information, etc.  In practice, we're working on these things while struggled with growth at the same time.

    >  Contributors absolutely have a right to know this sort of thing early on
    and are being given entirely the wrong impression.

    A "right"?  It would be nice, but I don't think there is a constitutional right to know.  We can agree that communication is a good thing.  Keeping people informed prevents upsetting breakdowns.  There is too much to do and not enough people to do it.

    >  It's unacceptable to have it squirreled away on the forum or wiki where
    they will never see it.   And immoral.

    Perhaps I should point out that no matter where such information is posted, it will generally be swallowed up by the massive amount of information now available.  Putting information in the wiki or the forums isn't quite the same as hiding it.  It is not intentionally being obscured.  I would also point out that you are fairly well informed.  You are using the tools provided to find the information that is of interest to you.

    >  This is an abuse of the trust of contributors, the inner circle is doing
    one thing and implying another.  This is fundamental information we
    deserve to have right off the bat.

    You are entitled to your opinion, Gregor, but I don't agree with you that abuse is present.  Information is being shared.  Effort is made to make OSE transparent.  Yes, it could be better organized and made more visible but I do think that people are doing the best they can.  Excessive criticism without suggested solutions doesn't help the matter at all.  What would you suggest that OSE do differently?

    - Mark

  • @fitzsnaggle

    >  I guess my frustration comes from not finding an appealing way to jump
    in and worrying that will always be the case for everyone.

    How would you like to contribute?  What would you like to work on?  Have a look at  Perhaps that will help you figure a way to jump into the deep end.  :)  If not, write to me and I'll do what I can to help (markjnorton (at) earthlink (dot) net).

    - Mark
  • @mjn - I read some of your words and get the feeling that the Marcin you know is different than the Marcin I know.  Who's Marcin is the real one?  Maybe neither is?

    Here is a quote from his manifesto:

    Marcin said"Since I believe in a decentralized organization, I will not be building a
    huge organizational infrastructure that can become an inefficient
    bureaucracy. I favor a light and agile structure in the nature of the
    distributive, open source ethic.

    Personally, my loyalties lie with "the Open Source ethic", not with OSE per se.  If I see that the organization is off track I might decide to go elsewhere.  Furthermore, when I see talent heading out the Open Source door, I feel it's better to have them in another organization than be lost altogether.  Would you not agree?

    Above you describe what I would call the standard corporate structure mentality.  It's Marcin's group and he gets to do what he wants.  I see him as a figurehead, not a CEO.  This is crowd funded Open Source.  Skilled people are being encouraged to freely give hundreds of hours of their free time towards lovely goals.  Do you think it is realistic to expect them to operate under a dictator?  Should there not be some sort of committee in place to guide things along?  You know, checks and balances.

    When I spoke of the Internet, I meant diversity of paths.  Hit an obstacle, move around it.

    Regarding funding, I am trying to find a quote for you but have not had any luck.  But Vann wrote a message that stated clearly that only on site projects would be funded.  If you read Marcin's own manifesto, you will see some reference to how he feels about funding.

    At the time, Vann was "on site".  Maybe he can respond to this himself.  Or maybe even Marcin might want to respond.  Wouldn't that be great?

    All I have said here is done with the utmost respect for you Mark and the others that are giving freely of their time and knowledge.  This isn't all bad by any stretch.  There are problems however.  I hope we can work them out in good time.

    The Dawg

  • If the designs are open source, anyone is allowed to build and sell them in their garage.  Hopefully you will benefit OSE by making your improvements open source.  I have not heard of any dues required to do this.  What exactly are people hoping for?  Everyone to get paid by Marcin for everything?  You want to get some of the money when things are made and sold at Marcin's workshop?  I am having trouble understanding what people expect.
  • @robotjosh - I can only speak for myself when I say that ideally, the crowd funds should be controlled by "the group".  A discussion regarding what the priorities would be and who would be funded should happen openly.  In an ideal world, a collective would then hand Marcin his allowance. 

    So ok, maybe I'm dreaming.  But somewhere in between would be nice.  Marcin should have to sell his ideas and priorities to a collective just like anyone else.

    As far as what to fund, I think that any out of pocket expenses should be covered at the very least.  For instance, Mark has put a ton of effort trying to breath some life into the Steam Engine project.  Is he expected to pay out of his pocket for the materials to build the engine?  He may be willing, but it shouldn't be expected.  He's already investing massive amounts of his free time.

    I think the people donating money would agree.  For that matter, why don't we ask them?

    The Dawg
  • @dawg
    The dictator model is actually a well proven one in open source projects, though it does rely on a leader that people can accept and follow.

    >  Above you describe what I would call the standard corporate structure

    I don't think it can be avoided, Damien, manifestos not withstanding.  Tax implications alone will force OSE to become a registered, non-profit corporation.  There are other considerations as well, such as protecting intellectual property under open source licenses.  I don't know how familiar you are with OS licenses, but all of them are worded such that some legal entity actually owns the rights to the ideas (etc).  Otherwise, there is NO legal protection.

    I have worked with several large, open source projects.  All of them are corporations.  The Apache project, for example, is practically the epitome of open source, yet it is a corporation.  Eclipse, Mozilla, and many others also use this model.  It provides a legal structure in which monies can be received and accounted for.  It allows people to be hired, contracts to be entered into, etc.  It can also free up individuals from tax consequences of financial donations.

    To be fair, I've also seen many open source projects that are not governed by corporations.  SourceForge is littered with them..

    - Mark
  • @Dawg
    Really great points. I can think of a couple of ways to address these problems. For one, a monthly budget or account of expenses for the organization would relieve some tension. My aforementioned suggestion of actively making local chapters would help as well as it would delegate a lot power automatically and increase lateral communication.

    A good supplement to the current method of raising money would be funding individual projects to fund individual projects with a paypal link on active project pages. There is the issue of projects competing, but you can have an overflow method; just have a proposed amount and have everything beyond that put into the kitty or have the link disabled. The money could be in selected project leaders control. If this method is just used for out of pocket expenses and not to pay salaries it could be very affective for moving projects forward that might otherwise not receive so much attention, but are able to garner a lot of enthusiasm. You could also have 25% into the kitty and %75 into a particular project or have methods to directly donate parts once it is time to build a prototype; for instance making an invoice for pieces of the prototype. That way donors feel more actively involved and way bring in subject matter experts more readily.

    I think a method of immediately talking to someone in a leadership position without an expectation of accomplishing something or wasting anyone's time would engage a lot of people. Just a now there is a human being on the other side and to get some guidance. I think for non-technical people, having them dive into recruitment and fund-raising is the best option as it requires little or no coordination and is something to do while they gain skills if they are so inclined. Joining a local group could solve this as well and I think it should be encouraged.

    I think gregor has a point about using contractors as a means to avoid engaging the community, though maybe that is just an intermediary stage to finish the set. Maybe Marcin figures he will not find people willing to do the work or with the resources to do it.

    I don't think the decisions being made are particularly bad for the group or malevolent. I think it is the lack of a strong leadership role that is hurting engagement, transparency, and trust. The power structure is for the most part fine, though a committee would be nice. However, I'm not really sure what kind of communication goes on between Marcin and the project leaders.

    What goes bump in the night, so to speak.
  • @fitzsnaggle

    > Maybe Marcin figures he will not find people willing to do the work or
    with the resources to do it.

    I think there are lots of people who are willing to work on these projects.  However, almost all of them really don't have the skills needed to design high tech tools from the ground up.  Frankly, I include myself in that category.  Though I've don't a lot of work on the Steam Engine project, I do not consider myself anywhere near an expert.  Finding truly qualified people to design, develop, and build the GVCS tools may very require throwing money at the problem - especially if you want it in the next two years.

    - Mark
  • The idea is good, I've seen it have success before. I think there were some free sites like it being planned years ago, there should some built up by now. If not then a account would be good for an OSE organization to fund.

    Like rhizomes OSE organizations must spread out at the roots and grow.

    The important part of OSE is the idea of it. It is the goals. As long as the goals are shared then all paths will lead to them no matter where someone else starts.
  • It may be difficult to harness enthusiasm except for the people that are directly benefitting from what they are helping design or improve...

    For myself for instance my top priority is to get a tractor. I really need two things to make it work in my situation - a car/truck sourced engine to drop the cost to more like $2500 for the tractor and flat tow ability, and if at all possible a weight under 3500lbs. (this may not be doable with a heavier car/truck engine though) Once I have that in my hands EVERYTHING else becomes possible - I can build it here in the city and flat tow it out to the cheap land I want to build on once I find the land, and tow it with my sedan. I can churn out CEB blocks which is the next machine that I need immediately... which might need arced bricks to produce arches for cheap roofing... once minimal housing and barn is built out of that i'm suddenly able to start looking at the other machines more intensely because then it's of interest to dig a well for instance and build a greenhouse. Once I have a house and a well, I no longer have the house bills and suddenly have more free time. Until I reach that point it's hard for me to justify alot of time spent in other topics unless i'm either fostering goodwill that I can reasonably expect repayment for or doing some direct barter exchange.

    What about DESIGN EXCHANGE CURRENCY? Call it some kind of a microeconomy... something like lets say credit or goodwill is granted to people who help you figure out some problem you need help on... and in return you owe them hours or favors... the credit is paid back when you focus on helping someone else solve their problem. Or vice versa - maybe I come onto the board with a good idea, and solve someone else's problem. Everyone can see I have (x) goodwill waiting 'in the bank' so to speak if I contribute alot. Ideally i'd like to contribute alot, in the real world I have alot of my own problems that need solving before I have much time or energy to give freely though. Heck i'm struggling to survive at all right now but if I had the tractor and CEB press, I could get myself out of the money sink house i'm living in and become more able to give back later.

    The payback could either be required to be from the person getting the benefit, or it could be a gift economy, though I have rarely seen gift economies work very well in the real world... if I could offer something of value to help someone else get their design of tropical housing or whatever working, I would hope that I could be repaid say, designing my snowblower, or whatever for my need. Simply giving into the ether and 'hoping' someone will repay hasn't worked real well in the past in my experience... more direct exchanges, promises to pay, accounting for who does or doesnt repay their debts, etc are probably more likely to succeed. This can include what money does better than barter, three way or more exchanges. I help your tropical housing, you help Bill design his greenhouse, and then Bill helps engineer my snowblower solution, with an agreed upon social currency changing hands at each step.

    Also some kind of public posting of DESIGN JOBS with formal tracking of who volunteers, contributes, and is granted credit of some sort for the help they offer could help. If its broken down into smaller bites so that someone can look at a part of a problem (research and design a better and compatible three point hitch that works with mid 1900's proprietary attachments), instead of looking at the whole picture (ie - design a microcombine) feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. Even someone who is not a specific engineer or designer might be able to help break down the process if they just have a logical mind, or to do background research to find how others have solved a certain problem, or to see what features others have come up with (example - a tractor that can work at steeper sidehill angles for those in hilly terrain) which, if they are analyzed early and put on the eventual feature wishlist, may help future designers come up with a more future proof design rather than requiring a total ground up redesign at some point by failing to account for future expandability and specialized needs enough.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2011
    >  I can build it here in the city and flat tow it out to the cheap land I want to build on once I find the land

    Not sure if you've looked at land prices lately, but the prices for good agricultural property has been spiraling upwards.  Many new farmers complain that the biggest barrier to entry is the cost of land.  Given current trends, you may want to consider buying the land first and then working your way up to a tractor or CEB.  I have a 15 acre farm that I work with my wife - largely by hand.  We have a small garden tractor, a chipper/shredder, and a rear tine roto-tiller.  Frankly. that's pretty much all of the power equipment we need to grow ALL of our own food.  Furthermore, we could get buy with out them if we had to.

    If, on the other hand, you view future farming as a business, it's a very different picture.  Field crops do require equipment like a tractor with implements.  If I were starting a farm as business, I'd research local markets very carefully and look for a niche to be filled.  You will not make money growing corn, soybeans, etc.  You cannot compete against BigAg.  Successful starting farmers these days grow things like organic micro-greens, specialty herbs, free range meat animals, exotic vegetables/fruits/nuts.  Think about your energy needs, too.

    Please don't take this as discouragement - I think you are on the right track.  America needs more small farmers.  Speaking of which, check out Small Farm Journal in your local library.  It is a gold mine of info on starting or running a small farm.  It does lean towards farming with draft animals (horses, mules, oxen, etc.), but much info applies to mechanized farm, too.  The main point is that this publication supports the development of small farms everywhere (they have quite an international subscription list).

    - Mark
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2011
    even bad land costs a lot, and i doubt its going to fall.

    i was looking at stuff in ghana.
  • I have, and the costs are impossible. But i'm not looking for "farmable" land, just cheap land, on a pretty darn small area under 10 acres for sure. Small scale intensive farming has raised all the veggies you need for a family of four in 1/10th acre afterall. My plan is to use Square Foot Gardening (which uses a form of 'synthetic' soil, so soil quality doesnt matter) with raised beds inside a greenhouse, and probably aquaponics as well also inside the greenhouse for four seasons food production. At most the land would have to support some grazing animals like a goat, or maybe some chickens outside which get tossed their feed anyways. The need for the tractor, CEB press and the rest of it however is for building the house, road access, doing snow removal, etc. I need the tractor FIRST so I can start building the house from earthblocks as soon as I have access to the land. Because once I have a liveable small house and storage for my stuff I can move out of the expensive city permanently. Alot of the construction will be earth sheltered or partly underground, using an annualized geo solar thermal store so there is no heating or cooling bills. After these major projects i'm hoping to possibly use the tractor to do odd jobs for others once in awhile for some side income when available but by simply allowing me to build my own house it pays for itself already. I can't even rent equipment for what I could build it for when i'm far enough out where the land is cheap here once I factor in transport costs and the fact that I cannot work as fast as others getting maximum use out of the machinery. They want $1000/day for a decent sized dozer.

    My interests are primarily growing my own food, once that's stable I would consider exploring some kind of commercial growing... there is a four seasons greenhouse in minnesota that already provides winter produce to some of the organic places. They dont make any money, they about break even. I'm hoping to replicate it with less costs with a different greenhouse design and recycled materials and possibly actually make some money at it.

    **See my post on advanced greenhousing under Food if you find what i'm saying here interesting.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2011
    Your plan is similar to ours, in some ways, but we are bit further along than you.  We raised our kids in a suburb of Boston.  Nice enough, but a very expensive place to live and not exactly close to nature.  So once they were grown and off on their own, my wife and I started looking for a place to relocate to.  We looked all over the northeast - up into Canada and as far south as Pennsylvania.  When we found the Ithaca area in upstate NY, we knew we'd found the region we were looking for.  That took a few years, then we spent another few years looking for land.  After looking at dozens of homes and farms, be bought a 15 acre parcel that has a single wide trailer on it.  Living in a trailer is primitive, to say the least, but the real selling point was that it came with a septic system, a well, electrical hook-up, even cable TV!

    Most of that 15 acres is forest.  It's never been lumbered that we know of, so it has mature trees on it.  It also has a year round stream running through it (though it slows to a trickle in August).  Water was an important consideration when we were looking at properties.  We've lived here three years now.  This year, we broke ground on a new house a bit up slope from our trailer.  We scraped enough money to get the foundation, frame, and roof professionally done - we are doing the rest.  You can see why I might not have the time or money to build a LifeTrac.  :)

    I did have some financial advantages that worked in our favor, though not much after putting the kids through college.  The wife and I are in our fifties, so we view this as a pre-retirement project.  Given the direction of things in this country, just being food independent is going to help a lot as we get older.

    Were I you, I'd start looking for land now.  It ain't getting cheaper, but the more you look, the better you get at looking.  The realtors get to know you and might come to you with a deal or two they might share with you before it hits the rest of the market.  Even 3-5 acres would be plenty, if you don't need trees for lumber or firewood.  I wish you well in your search.

    - Mark
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011

    While Ive only been part of this community a very short while, I thought I would give my imput on enthusiasm. I find that formyself, to maintain my enthusiasm about something external to myself there needs to be a steady or regular stream of inspiring or enthusiasm generating stimuli. This usually comes in the form of updates, photos or videos about whatever has drawn my iinterest. I am much more likely to donate money or time to something that seems to be moving forward on a day to day basis than something that seems to inch forward month by month. So for me, regular updates (photo or video if possible) are nessesary to maintain enthusiasm.

     Harnessing this enthusiasm once it has been generated is tricky. It is mainly a personal thing and while some people may feel empowered to danate money, many others will be inspired to do something physical about it. The former will obviously help out with the GVCS in terms of finance, but the latter might not so much. Living in a small town in central Ontario I can say I will not be volenteering to build anything in person where OSE is based. And chances are I would not have the finances required to start to build one of the GVCS machines at all. Even with a group of 10-12 people it would not likely be financially viable to build one of the machines from the groud up with all the required testing and prototyping.

     What I CAN do with my enthusiasm is to begin an open source project that is within my means, while drawing inspiration from OSE and the developement of the GVCS. In turn I can update the community and perhaps inspire others with this project. In time when I can connect with other locally we may decide as a group to persue a facet of the GVCS.

    Anyways, that is just a bit of insight into my mind at least regarding enthusiasm. You may take it as you will :)





  • Definitely project management. Someone needs to be the single-point-of-contact for newbies so that they know exactly what they can do to help. That SPOC could collect requests from all the various project leads so that they know where to farm out the newbs as they show up. Then, once they're handed off to the project leads, they would be told how they can help with that specific project.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    I'm finding these comments very interesting. If people can contribute I would think this would only add to the enthusiasm. It's easy for someone that has computer skills that are needed to contribute over the net. I myself being a millwright with lots of fabricating experience which doesn't carry over the net as well. I have diagnosed engine problems over the net with video clips. The whole idea of open source is public contribution. I think there's been great strides made in this department. I hope it will only increase to be all inclusive as much as possible.
    From reading the comments it came to my attention that this is a 501c non-profit corporation. The IRS will probably have a say in the running of it. This may answer some of the questions about reasonable wages and many other things. 
    I have couple question though. Who are the voting members. And who sits on the board of directors. Do a kickstarters contributor get anything monetary out of it.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    >  Definitely project management.

    It's been tried and largely has failed.

    >  Someone needs to be the single-point-of-contact for newbies

    I volunteered, but the offer wasn't accepted.

    >  Who are the voting members?

    To my knowledge, OSE has no voting structure of any kind.  Marcin makes most decisions.

    >  And who sits on the board of directors?

    There is no formal OSE board.  Marcin has a number of advisers that he listens to (sometimes), but that's about it.

    >  Do a
    kickstarters contributor get anything monetary out of it?

    Not that I know of.  There are some rewards named in the kickstarter, such as participation in a workshop.  That has some value, but not actual cash value.

    - Mark
  • Vote Up0Vote Down December 2011
    >>  Definitely project management.

    > It's been tried and largely has failed.

    Failing is not a reason not to try again.

    I maintain that project management is the key to success, the past failures are merely finding ways to not succesfully manage this project.  We need to keep trying until we find a way that DOES work.

  • @mjn Do you remember any specifics regarding why it didn't work?
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    It's fairly simple, actually.  OSE doesn't encourage a project-based approach to new development work.  Rather, development efforts are ad-hoc, short term efforts largely based at Factor e Farm.  Many people have suggested a project based approach and many projects have been started.  The wiki is littered with them.  In general, such efforts are unsustainable because they lack support from central OSE management.  Virtually all decision making for OSE development activity is done by a single person.  That person has a long history of starting and stopping development efforts as setbacks are encountered or new opportunities arise (distractions).  I don't see how it could be otherwise, really, since it is far too much work for one person to do - given that approach.

    A project manager almost always exists in the context of some larger organization - usually a company, but also in an open source organization like OSE.  A project manager is trusted by that organization to make decisions regarding priorities, design choices, recruitment, resource allocations (including money), etc.  Historically, such relationships have broken down for OSE projects in the past.  As such, there is little trust in the project process itself.  Until that changes, I have very little hope that project management can make much of difference in OSE development activities.

    Open source projects like OSE, in general, are quite dependent on volunteer contributors.  In my opinion, such volunteers need to be nurtured, directed, motivated, and generally cared for.  OSE has a track record of exactly the opposite.  Volunteers are discouraged, rejected, dropped arbitrarily, and generally scorned. Instead, a process of hiring subject matter experts and fabrication houses has been used.  Personally, I see some serious problems in that approach, but as long as there is funding, it can be made to work.  Since it involves considerable expenditures of capital, it will very likely remain under the close control of the OSE Director.

    One final thing.  I am a veteran of several, large scale open source software projects.  I have seen how effective a geographically distributed, volunteer based approach to development can be.  I mean successes so large that it would be difficult for a commercial effort to even come close to matching.  During my involvement in OSE, I've come to appreciate that there are some pretty serious differences in hardware development.  Software development is fundamentally an abstract effort.  The end product are text files that can make computers do useful things.  Hardware development is fundamentally a concrete effort.  While the design may be abstract, the result is real - something that you can touch.  The tools and skill sets are extremely different between the two kinds of efforts.  Hardware development requires tools that manipulate atoms, while software manipulates bits.  Energy costs (and thus tooling costs) are substantially different.  The challenge to OSE is to determine how unskilled, unequipped volunteers can be guided to making useful contributions that simplify the task of those who do have skills and tools to make a prototype and eventually a final product.  I have suggested ways to do that, but they have not been accepted or put into effect.

    - Mark

  • @Mark: I am genuinely interested in your ideas on how to harness the volunteers better. We're starting to assemble a cadre of CAD people all at varying levels of expertise. But in addition to that I want to bring up people with zero experience into the CAD/design world. Do you have any past posts where you talk about this? Or has it just been via e-mails with Marcin?
  • I completely understand a desire to withhold resources. It makes sense to want to see some history of experience on the subject of development if not actual proven expertise, before allocating money to the project.

    Given the expense of hardware projects, you can't accept the same percentage of failures as you can with software projects. It also makes sense for OSE to be wary of even a single expensive failure at this early stage. The only hope for a project this large and novel to succeed is if it can satisfy the skeptics at every stage, the first few being the most important. Most people, particularly most of the engineers and accountants who are so important to this project, are going to assume it will fail. OSE needs accountants because it needs money and it needs engineers because it needs machines. Neither of those groups are known for their desire to take risks. They're going to carefully analyze what OSE produces; going over it with a fine-toothed-comb looking for evidence of malice and/or incompetence. If they find a hint of either, they won't support OSE, and without resources like money and expertise it willl die.

    ...and that's not even touching on the idea that the two groups most important to OSE's effectiveness are likely to be threatened by that success.

    So, that being the case, I completely understand the approach of collecting donations and then hiring experts to produce the promised results. If I had 100K, and OSE asked for it, I probably wouldn't belive them if they said a hoard of unaccountable, untrained volunteers could produce a universal power supply (a vision that has elluded well-funded experts for some time).

    But that doesn't mean the rest of us can't keep trying to find a way to organize an open source hardware project that is a little more 2.0 than just buying the required experts time and releasing whatever they produce under a creative commons license.

    Personally, I think either a program or a suit of programs is going to have to be at the center of any solution.  The only reason open source even exists as a philosophy is that people used shared programs to collaborate over the internet. We need a hardware design program.

  • I was thinking on how to organize and this is the result:

    * Ultimately, if one person wants to maintain control over anything and everything done in the project's name then the ONLY way it can work is if they hire professionals to do all the important work.
    * That being the case, if there is room for those who are unaccountable to do things in the project's name then there is room for volunteers and a greater potential for growth.

    I think what it comes down to is that any novel project (particularly something with resources) will attract people who want to help, but don't know how and probably aren't any use anyway (if not actively destructive). The challenge is filtering through them to find volunteers that will add value to the project and then manifest that value. Here are some suggestions for thought/discussion:

    * The project should have two main groups; full-time administrators and part-time volunteers. Anyone else should be considered either an employee (fiduciary relationship) or an observer (no relationship). 
    * The volunteer group should have "force" applied to it such that the volunteers naturally separate into strata by "weight." I would define "weight" as the combination of means and motive. The better the combination of their willingness to work on the project and their ability to produce good work the higher they should rise (I suppose the metaphor just broke down since technically those with weight should sink). 
    * Basically, administrators should be selected just like they've always been selected. Volunteers should be 1) sought out and 2) managed according to the "weight" they've demonstrated.
    * There needs to be a sort of "centrifuge" which, over time, allows the volunteers to differentiate themselves in a controlled environment. Hopefully while getting something useful out of them (IE: "allow them to contribute") no matter how long they stay or where they end up.
    * Projects that literally ANYONE who meets some basic requirements can contribute to need to be identified. That is where ALL the volunteers start.
    * Next, identify projects that require commitment but not skill. 
    * Next, identify projects that require commitment and skill.
    * Next, identify projects that require a significant commitment, but average skill.
    * Next, identify projects that require both significant commitment and significant skill.
    * Objective criteria for offering volunteers more opportunities should be defined.
    * The management of volunteers should, at a minimum, be a "significant commitment average skill" level job.
    * Ideally volunteers would be managed by an administrator.

    Why go through this hassle? I have some suggestions for ways that each level can contribute:
    * Anyone: the best thing they can do is evangelize the project. They can post links to it online. They can write an article for whatever paper is most accessible. They can give one of those free lectures that libraries are always offering. They can can seek out other organizations with specific related interests and nurture contact/communication. They can contribute ideas to the main project. They can spellcheck and otherwise do housekeeping on the main wiki. They can perform simple organization jobs like watching videos and adding tagging them appropriately. They can ask dumb questions that can point out how the project is being misunderstood by the mainstream.
    * Committed: the best things they can do is encourage the previous group and document the project. They can keep the wiki up to date. They can blog on the specifics of the project and/or subprojects. They can organize the raw output of the project like illustrations and instructions.
    * Committed/killed: the best thing they can do is brainstorm on specific aspects of the project. They can discuss the various goals and how to balance them against each other. They can contribute informed design suggestions and articulate pros/cons. They can do useful research and/or light experimentation in support of project goals.
    * Very committed/skilled: the best thing they can do is provide peer-management of previous levels. They can run project management software to keep schedules and task lists up to date. They can encourage and provide constructive criticism. They can promote meritorious ideas up to administrators.
    * Very committed/very skilled: the best thing they can do is provide free expertise towards the completion of project goals. They can produce finished designs with supporting analysis and documentation. They can produce functional prototypes. They can get their work published in the popular press to advertise the project and its progress. They can create and lead local affiliates of the main project to demonstrate replication. They can represent the project to the relevant professional trade organizations. They can outright finish work that supplements the main project like custom paperwork, organizational tools/structure, and adaptation of unrelated-but-proven projects to the main project.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    There is some good thinking here, Matt.  I like your characterization of the levels that people can contribute on.  Commitment levels are also a good thing to understand.

    I I understand what you say correctly, you suggest that professionals can be hired to provide high-skill labor and volunteers can be leveraged to back-fill and support them.  While I agree, I think that there will need to be a strong organization and management structure in place if this is to succeed.  This is especially true when hiring professionals.  Work to be done should be designed in detail (if possible, though that may be what's being bought), a contract should be drawn up that specifies what is to be done, by when, and for how much.  In my opinion, this is an area where OSE needs to improve and may well be the reason this approach has broken down in the past.

    I also think that organizational structure is needed to manage volunteer labor.  There needs to be someone who's task it is to guide new comers, get them up to speed, and guide them into the process of contributing.  Given the amount of activity planned for 2012, such a facilitator role will be essential (IMO) if we are to leverage volunteer contributions.  Generally, the people working on projects are too busy to figure out how to use new people, even if there is a need for them.

    To be fair, I have seen signs in the past few days of improvements to the OSE organization.  Some of this is around the GVCS 0.1 release and some of it is planning for the 2012 development push.  More is needed, especially in area of contract management.

    - Mark

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    I came for the tractor plans and stayed for the aluminum from clay project.

    I am starting my own open source enterprise based on Marcins concept. I have sent letters outlying my desire to participate in the project but have not heard anything. Don't really need his permission, but I feel like my contributions asides from $ are not wanted.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    @Metz  I assume you sent those letters to Marcin.  While I do not represent him directly, I believe that he's under a lot of self-imposed pressure to get the OSE-Xmas-Gift-to-the-World out.  Since part of that "gift" are the tractor plans, a bit of patience is in order.

    Recently (like in the past few days), Marcin has called for people to step forward as project managers for various OSE projects.  Mike Apostel has volunteered to serve as the LifeTrac project leader.  You want to communicate with him to see how your efforts might be of use to that particular OSE project.

    - Mark

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011

    I agree with Mark -- Matt has some great ideas.  If Marcin is calling for people to step forward as project managers, maybe he would be supportive at this time for someone to be the point of contact for newbies?  I agree with a lot of folks here that there's people-energy that could be mined.

    - Lisa

  • I suppose it comes down to the question, "who's allowed to make decisions?" If the DVD 0.01 release is any indication the core OSE project group has bitten off more than they can chew. If the group of people allowed to make decisions is so small they can't meet their self-imposed deadlines then there's no way they're going to handle outsiders.

    That doesn't mean they're poorly organized, it just means they aren't communicating clearly. For example, I was asked to do some video editing but only one of the videos I found links for was even open for editing (remixing) and that one was so straight forward it didn't need editing. My assumption is that there was a breakdown in communication somewhere.

    The ironworker competition is another good example. After reading everything I could find a couple times I'm still not entirely clear what the general public was being asked for help on. I assume that has a lot to do with why the grabCAD page doesn't have any entries; no one's sure what is being designed. That and the fact they offered a t-shirt and the chance to move bricks around when all the other competitions offer hard cash prizes. The mediocre prizes strongly implies that OSE just wants a design for a shear blade...but they also secified that the open source ironworker should use a commercially available that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

    I think the overall issue is one of communication. If they actually are interested in getting help from outsiders then, at a minimum, they need to designate someone as being qualified to communicate on behalf of the official project. Someone who won't ignore emails because they're too busy with something else.

    There is, of course, always the possibility that the core group simply isn't interested in volunteer effort. They might not trust the investment of resources in non-professionals. That would make a certain amount of sense :/

  • @Lisa - I'm trying to get a community workshop project going in my area (Between Birmingham and Atlanta). I think in the long run we need lots of groups and workshops besides the one in Missouri. One central place doing all the work is antithetical to the idea of "Open Source".  The question is how can we get them started? There are several hundred "Truefans" who are contributing monthly to
    supporting OSE, but I have no way to find out if any of them are in my
    area.  And there is some kind of message flow coming into OSE, which appears to go into a black hole.  So I suggest a couple of things:

    * Ask people to become contact points in their local area.  Not everyone will want to do that, but hopefully enough will to start seeding local groups.  I will volunteer for this area, which can be anything within a couple of hundred miles of Atlanta to start with.  That can break up later to more local groups once there are enough people.

    * Set up an email list to which general inquiries to OSE get forwarded.  That way multiple people can see the messages, and respond to them.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    @danielravennest - I think it would be a great asset to have satellite groups around the OSE group in Missouri. There may also be another group that we can contact to bring in a more tangible local presence and whose ideals largely mesh with the open source concept. The group is called Transition Towns.
    An environmental group in my town that I am a part of just decided to make the shift into the transition network and there are many people who are interested in OSE and the GVCS. We are only a small group but many of the larger and more established transition groups have more members with a more varied skill set then my own group (mostly gardeners). Has anyone contacted the Transition Network from OSE in a formal or informal manner regarding bringing the OSE ideas to the network? Many of these groups are quite well established with members being within close proximity to each other, and with pooled resources.
    I think it would be a great idea to have a list of contacts setup somewhere for people who are looking for local fellow open source enthusiasts.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    @Danial - Transition Networks looks interesting - as you learn more about them please update the stub page I just put on the wiki:

  • @Danial and @ChuckH:

    Regarding Transition Network (or Transition Town), you may want to see some wiki pages of people with connections to it, or other pages that mention "transition town".

    For that, use our custom search page ( see )

    - Go to the main wiki page ( )
    - Click on "Custom Search" (near the top left corner)
    - Enter your search terms ( try transition town instead of transition network )
    - Click "Search" at the far right
    - To the right side of "Refine results", click on "Wiki" to restrict the results to wiki pages

  • >The dictator model is actually a well proven one in open source
    projects, though it does rely on a leader that people can accept and

    Well back in 2010, I could have accepted that I didn't meet Marcin's standards as manager of the OS Car project. Instead he and I agreed to disagree for a year (2011) in which I would demonstrate my capabilities and Marcin would develop the car his way, and if I proved myself I might be allowed to help with details in 2012. I'm volunteering again because A) I've done my demonstration, irrefutably, and now drive my own low-budget open source 100+ mpg sports car, and B) the OS Car hasn't advanced one iota in 15 months. I don't think OSE will have a running prototype in 2012 if the process isn't begun in the next two weeks.

    Or maybe it has, and it's a secret? Maybe the project has been assigned to Urbee? Or at least, maybe the car has been secretly defined and the contradictory information on the various wiki pages is a smokescreen for the real design? I'm not being facetious; a secret project makes more sense than a 100 mpg tilting tandem tadpole trike propelled by a Power Cube.

    One thing's for sure: it is hard to get on board. Something that would help harness enthusiasm would be a process for volunteering services without getting rickrolled to True Fan Land. The only things that work as presented on the wiki are the myriad opportunities to contribute money. If I click the Angel button, I can be confident that $2400 will be withdrawn from my PayPal account, in 24 easy monthly payments, but I doubt that money would help put the OS Car in operation in 2012.
  • Yeah...maybe you should retire. He seems to be looking for "retired professionals."

    My guess is that he's been working on this project for years and hasn't been getting enough people showing up in the middle of Missouri who are the right combination of energetic, creative, subversive, technically experienced, and willing to not take the project off in their own direction. Go figure. Now he's getting international recognition and some real money, so he's probably looking forward to being able to simply buy who he wants. Can't really blame him if that's where his mind is at. It's not like there are any previous projects to base the structure of this one on. 

    I suggest running with the "open source" thing and just doing whatever it is you want to do. If it's a matter of wanting Marcin to hold the official OSE umbrella over you (and officially bankroll your work) I sympathize. Even a "social justice" project requires hard cash money to move forward. However, as frustrating as it is to want/be-able-to contribute and hear nothing but crickets, it's his money and he can do what he wants with it. 

    Personally I think he's a little too enamored of his own desire to focus on the day-to-day technical work instead of managing the project properly. I think that because the DVD was nothing more than a documentation effort and it's more than 2 months behind schedule. That's kind of sad given the modest goal of documenting four machines that already exist, have already been through multiple versions, and have already been independently reproduced. The only roadblock is that no one on site ever bothered to actually record/provide all the machine details. Instead of going out to the tractor with a measuring tape and providing its dimensions, so the documentation can finally be finished, he's comparing whether helix coils can handle more steam than pancake coils. Is that more interesting? Absolutely. Is it responsible project management? Not really. 

    This project is never going to get any kind of momentum until it can provide turn-key replication instructions to people want to build the machines. Documentation is boring, I get that, but without it the project doesn't even qualify as open source.

    I think a lot of the people who are actually trying to help with this OSE experiment are seeing the same thing and are equally frustrated. In terms of getting funding, I don't know how to help you. If I did I probably wouldn't have to work for a living :-)
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    February 2012
    I'd be willing to throw down work at a local chapter around Sacramento/Stockton, can't say I'd be much help though, I'm a pasty web programmer. But building & designing things, and trying to actually use OSE technologies & engineering framework can only help, right? Hell, maybe somebody will design a car and document the process, and the knowledge gleaned from that experience can be used by whoever marcin wants to use to engineer GVCS. Just get out and do it, people! There's no reason to wait for anybody's permission.

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