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A student needs some help !
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    February 2012

    Hey guys ,

    name is Niklas. I'm a student of engineering at the
    University of Kassel (Germany). 
    to that, I want to write a dissertation about „Open Source
    I got a few questions relevant to the GVCS. Therefore, I would be
    very thankful if you could answer them.

    1. Which license do you use ? (GNU or share alike ? or something else?)

    2. Why
    do you choose the open source solution? What are the advantages of
    your project?

    3. How
    du you get your project known? (advertising)

    4. Do the GVCS give a guarantees ?

    5. Do you produce the machines completely open from the beginning or do you
    first developed them to go later open? so the community can "only" improve them.

    6. Why does people join the project ? Are there any "developing competitions" with prices or something like that. Or do they join just because of beeing interested in working together at those machines ?

    I hope you understand my questions and are able to answer some of them. I
    am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks for reading,



  • 4 Comments sorted by
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    February 2012
    1.  What license does OSE use.

    OSE uses a variety of licenses, depending on the situation.  We use the GPL for some things.  There has been talk about using the Open Hardware License (  Documents are published under Creative Commons.
    See also and

    2.  Why Open Source?

    OSE working to support an Economy of Abundance that will replace a Scarcity Based Economy.  In the later, access to resources and information is controlled by corporations and governments.  Breaking the cycle of scarcity requires that information on how to make or build things be as free and open as possible.

    3.  How do you get your project known?

    Our leader, Marcin Jakubowski, is a widely known public speaker.  He has described OSE goals and concepts at TED and other international events.  OSE is widely known in the maker community and has spread by word of mouth.  We do not use any paid advertising.

    4.  Do the GVCS give any guarantees?

    No, they do not.  It's difficult to guarantee the performance of any machine that is intended to be built by third parties.  Performance is likely to vary based on the skill of the fabricators involved.  However, OSE is committed to continuously improving the designs.  An example of this is the forth iteration of the LifeTrac.  The flip side of guarantees is liability.  OSE has been exploring possible product liabilities and disclaimers.

    5.  Are they open from the start?

    For the most part, the answer is yes.  The OSE development process is intended to be completely wide open and accessible to anyone who wants to watch.  However, knowing HOW to watch can be challenging.  OSE activities take place in a wide variety of web sites, software applications, email, conference calls, an on-site meetings at the Factor e Farm development facility.  OSE designs are released under CC and GNU licenses from the very start.  People are completely free to pick up design documents at any point in the process and try to build them.  Recently, several people have starting building the Compressed Earth Brick machine and other GVCS tools.

    6.  Why do people join the project?

    I would say (personal opinion) that most of us are attracted to the ideas communicated by Marcin.  Personally, I love the idea of having direct personal access to technology that would allow me to make farm and manufacturing equipment.  The idea that a set of tools (the GVCS 50) might be sufficient to create a village using a Resource Based Economy is very attractive, though it has yet to be proven.  OSE and the GVCS empowers people to build the tools they need to create a high quality life style for themselves.

    Are there developing competitions?

    OSE has used competitive design approaches recently to create a new design for a quick release wheel connector for the LifeTrac.  See  In another sense, designs are competitive in that OSE is interest in what works.  Approaches that don't work are abandoned.  Price competition isn't an issue at this time since none of the GVCS are in continuous production by anyone.

  • 1. Which license do you use ? (GNU or share alike ? or something else?)

    Actually, I'm not really clear on why licenses are necessary. The only restriction I can see wanting to put on the work would be one to force anyone who builds off of it to also release their work free from all other restrictions. I suppose that's possible, at least in the sense that you can write a license to say that. I'm really not sure if it's the sort of thing anyone is ever going to enforce. Like, if Hewlett Packard releases a commercial 3D printer based on the RepRap, but doesn't make it open source, could Dr. Bowyer take them to court? And, if he did, what would he be awarded if he won? He'd get to spend all that money on legal fees, and the outcome he'd be looking for would just be for HP to publish their design and manufacturing files? That doesn't make any sense to me. 

    2. Why do you choose the open source solution? What are the advantages of your project?

    The first reason is that I don't need more money and I don't get excited about starting a business. The second reason is that open source projects are capable of moving A LOT faster than closed source projects. Because of that, they attract some of the best people in the world. Open source projects are really just about solving a problem in the best way possible. The profit-motive definitely provides incentives to solve problems, but the possible solutions are restricted by the need to turn a profit in a certain period of time. Well, open source projects don't have ANY restrictions on their solutions. Because of that, they produce better solutions, and they produce them faster because anyone in the world can understand and contribute to them at any time. That's a huge pool of creativity; far larger than even the biggest global corporation. 

    Additionally, open source is self-reinforcing. When you give your solutions away it relieves other people of the need to keep their solutions to themselves; there's no competition, just cooperation. That means you get back several solutions from other people that you never would have thought of. You got those solutions for free and they'll pay dividends forever. Open source removes the need for money. Rather than fight each other over a zero-sum prize like profit, we can work together so everyone gets helped. 

    3. How do you get your project known? (advertising)

    I talk about it to anyone who will listen. I also blog. 

    4. Do the GVCS give a guarantees ?

    Not a safety or performance guarantee. At least, not for work performed by other people. Once the GVCS is completed, OSE is planning on selling training and certification to anyone who wants to start a business fabricating (and maintaining) OSE machines. So those people will be able to display the OSE Certified logo, which might be worth something in the future. 

    But, in the grand scheme, the GVCS is the equivalent of those instructions you buy out of the back of science magazines. Like, "build your own recumbent bicycle." Because you're the one building it, the guy who made the plans can't give you any guarantees. The only guarantee you can rely on is that it's always illegal to encourage people to hurt themselves or others, so OSE isn't going to distribute plans for machines that are grossly negligent in their design. 

    5. Do you produce the machines completely open from the beginning or do you first developed them to go later open? so the community can "only" improve them.

    That's actually a really good question. Open source, as a coherent movement, started in the software world because it's really really easy to trade and experiment with code. Then it moved into the electronics world because, while actually building something is harder, at least electronics don't take up that much space, and there are even business who will build whatever crazy idea you have for a small price increase. Now open source is moving into the world of HARDware, so it is confronting the laws of physics. Brianna Kufa is designing and building the ironworker because she has full access to a working metal shop. But, even with that, she has issues of cost and mass. Stock metal costs real money to buy and ship then, once you get it, just moving it around the shop requires special equipment or several strong men. It takes longer because you literally can't afford to make a mistake. Building something out of it requires college-level math and specialist skills. So you can't even learn how to work with the stuff without money and time. 

    So, while the ironworker is totally open source from the beginning, it effectively is closed source because 1) very few people in the world even know what an ironworker is and 2) participating in the build requires a significant investment of time, money and space. When the ironworker is finally finished, and the design has been validated, and all the plans and fabrication instructions are released, you're still going to be talking about a 6,000lb machine that is only useful if you need to work with an awful lot of stock metal. Very few people in the world are going to care about it. The ones who do care are not going to just "jump in" because even the cost savings of an open source design don't entirely offset the inherent expense of a machine that big. It's not just a matter of the machine itself, you have to pay to transport it, you need a special foundation to place it on, you need special tools to assemble it, and you're not going to want to move it again so you need to have already laid out the shop it's going to be a part of.

    A lot of the machines OSE is working on are industrial/agricultural, so they have the same issues. Sure, they are open source from the beginning, but they aren't the sort of things that get anyone excited and build a following of active developers. So the fact that they are open source is moot.

    6. Why does people join the project ? Are there any "developing competitions" with prices or something like that. Or do they join just because of beeing interested in working together at those machines ?

    I don't think I've ever heard of a prize competition for open source designs. That would probably be missing the point. People obviously don't join open source projects for the money because there isn't any. The reason I join is that I can't stand to see anything working less well than it theoretically could work. Open source projects are the only place where I can get onto the team and help improve the design. Additionally, I like the idea of people around the world gradually creating an entire network of open source options. Because they'll be better than their closed source counterparts, and because they'll  adapt to changing requirements faster, they will gradually replace the things that don't work as well. That will be a paradigm shift in how the human race operates. It's fun to think about being a small part of that revolution.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    February 2012
    Hey guys, 
    thanks for your big help !
    At least i have one question left. 

    Do you think the "time to market" was shorter than producing the machines "closed" ?

    @ Matt_Maier
    There is one i guess. Local Motors started competitions, where the winner gets some money.
    But this is not the point, to me it is only important to motivate the community to support. If they are motivated by themselves, all the better !

    Again thanks for your great supoort !!!

  • Oh, I forgot the Gada Prize

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