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Why is OSE so quiet lately
  • Has something happened in the organisation, we haven't a decent communication or update in months. No new prototypes being published of any GVCS.

    This webpage is the main gateway to the community that supports this effort. Good communication is essential.

    i'm a true fan.
  • 82 Comments sorted by
  • All of the onsite developers/staff have left due to various challenges or personal reasons. Marcin attends TED conferences and gets lauded by the press, but has significant difficulty maintaining a team in the trenches. The organization is undergoing much needed backfill for legal compliance (audits/insurance/financial records), but has unfortunately burned many bridges with talented volunteers. Many of the passionate folk who have come onsite to develop the open source economy have left disillusioned with the organization's management and culture. 

    Not trying to stir shit up or troll, just adding what I know from speaking with those who have been on site. There's a lot about OSE and FeF that isn't publicly discussed. So much for 'Radical Transparency'. 


  • What was it they didn't like? Were the reasons of political nature or was the management impractical, hindering progress?
  • The latter. 

    They all of course agree with the aims (open economics, open source development, distributed enterprise and so forth), but had difficulty working with/under Marcin. I can't speak to individual experiences as it's not my story to tell. If you want more info find people who did dedicated project visits and contact them.
  • It is worth noting that OSE is hierarchically structured and that direct democracy is completely absent from its values. Folks should push for a democratized OSE/FeF giving participants democratic control over the group.
  • Yep. One of the reasons I stopped donating.

    There were developers who left because there is no profit sharing for development work and labour when stuff got sold.
     ie, you put a lot of time and effort improving the GVCS, and the piece gets sold, you get zilch of the net after material expenses. All went to OSE/Marcin. 
  • So how many people are left developing GVCS? This is a brilliant idea and shouldn't be allowed to die out because of some people issues.

    All I see lately is voting to win money, etc. I understand the crowd funding thing didn't take off as envisioned. So no more bi-weekly ose mail? no updates anywhere (meaningful updates)

    I was just really looking forward to a gasifier and an open source battery. Maybe that robotic arm also, for shits and giggles.
  • does anyone feel like doing a weekly or semi weekly focus session on one of the gvcs designs? graham got an internet group together to do some microtrac designs. i think we had some good discussions but slowly everyone got busy with other things. i think it'd be cool if we had a calendar of things the internet community could research on. i know we're limited from actually building stuff but we could plan up to that point. thoughts?
  • i think that is a great idea.
  • ill check and see if we can get a mass email going
  • So I just discovered this project and it's kind of disheartening that it's on "hiatus."  Are there local groups in other metro areas where people meet and work on projects?  Sort of a club or affiliate model I suppose.  I'd be interested in working on a CEB press variant in the Denver, CO region.  I like the internet focus session idea though I'd like to interact and build.
  • So nobody is living and working at Factor E Farms? Is that true?
  • The curse of kings.
    This is the number one killer of group projects that I've been involved in - a single charismatic leader-type who has trouble delegating, and isn't into sharing power.
    They always have a good reason for it - preserve the vision, keep the project focused, etc.  But this is the result...a boom/bust cycle as interest dries up, then is regenerated, then dries up again along with funding.

    It's the same reason why communes didn't work, why socialism has long-term issues, and so on.  A loose association of skilled yeoman farmers and crafts-people, each on their own parcel of land and in charge of their own turf, is the only realistic way to build a new society.  We're still humans, with all the territorial baggage that entails.
  • @RyanMartin,
    Based on reviewing the 'recently updated pages' on the wiki, doesn't look like there is anyone actively developing on site.
    I believe the last two to leave were Yoonseo (Hardware Developer) and Gabi (Farm Manager)

    Gee, sounds like we have had similar experiences :)
  • @eBell
    There were developers who left because there is no profit sharing for development work and labour when stuff got sold.

    Sorry but what kind of stuff is OSE selling?
    I am a true fan and I will keep being a true fan, since this is the only project trying to create open source machines. Someone has to support OSE. Marcin is not perfect but there is no better alternative in this world. As long as he is doing some progress, all the money invested in OSE are the best ever spent money.
    In my opinion, the biggest problem of the OSE is the fact that Marcin is NOT selling stuff. He should also make and sell machines because that's the best way to get more supporters and secure income.
    Also he should start with a few most-popular machines like a washing machine, a refrigerator, a dust buster and such. Those machines will make OSE very popular. Then he will have enough resources to create the complete GVCS set in very short time.
    The biggest problem with Marcin is the fact that he is stubborn and he wants to re-create the civilization from scratch, instead of bringing the next industrial revolution.
    Instead of giving to the world the most desired machines and secure funds to create more machines, he insists on starting with creation of machines like CEB Press which are not known or popular.
    OSE (and projects like OSE) will bring the next revolution eventually, but it will take 20-30 years more than it should just because of such ambitions.

    Well, 30 years is much better than never so there is no reason to stop supporting OSE.

    Those people who were not happy because they don't get shares from the profit should try first to convince Marcin to produce profit, by selling some popular machines.
    After that, there will be enough money to share. But as long the money are in short supply it's obvious that Marcin will try to invest the profits into future development instead of sharing it.
    As long as he refuses to take the organic path, no wonder Marcin will put unhealthy pressure on his team. And it's the team who should convince Marchin that he should give up a strange ambition and follow the natural path: Give to the world what it needs now, and then the world will reward you with a lot of cash and support.

  • Also, I have noticed a strange vision here on the OSE: People who insist the future should be like everyone having it's own workshop, which is utterly impractical. The vision of transforming the OSE into a "toys for boys" project. Rich people playing with open source machines.
    Which is not at all what the humanity needs.
    Sometimes I think that probably the big industrial monopolies like Samsung, Philips etc have all the interest to transform OSE into a "toys for boys" project.
    The world doesn't really have an industry. We are facing some monopolies who call themselves "industry". We will have a real industry when the people will be able to replace or to make their own parts, when small companies will be able to produce parts for machines and sell them to the consumer at a decent price.
  • They sold a CEB and powercube with a significant amount of profit from input costs of materials.... The model for a time appeared to be bootstrapping through GVCS sales...

    Money is definitely not in short supply at OSE... look at any of the financials Aaron has completed.

  • @Gonzo,

    Totes agree with the 'toys for boys' angle. While it's important to have the whole life-cycle and chain for industrial components, it's not a great business model. Too much regulation. Better to go after a decent, cleanly designed vacuum or refrigerator or furnace or something that is a consumer durable. Get some traction with that before trying to reinvent the entire economy.
  • Get some traction with that before trying to reinvent the entire economy.
    Exactly! Especially when the process relies on creating a community where "people live in harmony" and agree with anything.
    In order to get traction, they don't have to be any better than a company team. As long as they deliver (sales OR popularity), everything is fine.

    Do you think we can make a petition to Marcin? We should try to gather the people to ask Marcin to make at least 2 or 3 popular machines in order to make the project popular, get money and traction.
    After all, we are not Marcin's fans, we are just open source hardware (eco design) supporters who only found OSE taking that path until now.

    Honestly, I would not be surprised if there are some people inside OSE who represent the interests of the big industrial monopolies like Samsung, Sony, Philips, etc. Any progress they can make into slowing down OSE means enormous profits for those (mafia) companies who shamelessly call themselves "industry".

  • Still, it's a relief to hear that Marcin also agrees to sell the machines OSE designs. That will give courage to those who will think about producing machines on their own.
    Because I thought maybe he only wants to design the machines.
    So it could be worse.

  • Gonzo said: Marcin is not perfect but there is no better alternative in this world.
    As long as he is doing some progress, all the money invested in OSE are
    the best ever spent money.

    This is the third "mass leaving event" I know of in OSE history (others were in 2009 and 2011). There has also been a steady stream of individual volunteers leaving because of the poor management. Money spent on OSE has been wasteful thus far because the management has been wasteful - constantly destroying and rebuilding the community. This might well have been the last blow on OSE and widespread bad press will follow for the first time and the money sources will dry up. Sorry, but I'm just being realistic.
  • I respect your opinion but I think you are too pessimistic. The money were not wasted since the OSE already delivered designs and build machines. The progress was probably slowed and could have been better but as long as it's going forward, at any speed, the project deserves support. Even if someone thinks Marcin doesn't deserve, still, it worths to invest in OSE. Because the designs can be used for future projects, which won't depend on OSE.
    If I would work at the farm, I think I would not be interested about sharing profits from sales. The more money and profits go into the project, the faster the GVCS designs will be done. And that's the most important thing - to get it done. After that, there will be plenty of opportunities to join teams that create machines and share profits.
    I prefer to get as fast as possible to a better society instead of getting rich in an autistic or dystopian society.

    But because Marcin wants to re-create the civilization from scratch, the progress is slow and I understand that the people lose patience..
    No matter how much you love to improve the world, 20-30 years to do it is kind of too much..

  • I didn't say the money was completely wasted, but that the management has been wasteful, because the community has constantly shattered. Do you think it's more worthy to continue to invest in OSE or to the current projects of the people who left and who were involved in the GVCS building and designing and now are doing their own thing ("forked projects")?
    You are pondering on this most recent issue of sharing of profits, but it isn't black and white like that (don't focus on profits, get it done) as there have been "ragequits" all the time over several years. Note how Yoonseo said he left also due in part by certain behaviour and comments by Marcin.
  • The most important result of this project is the idea. It will not die with OSE and it will not die because of Marcin.

    It was one of the first things I wrote when I found this board - I think a couple years ago or so - that there is a community governance concept of similar quality and goals as the technological ones missing. Reading here that Marcin in fact is not the people person (what is usually true for engineering or natural science Phd. people) is a bit disturbing but not surprising to me. What is frustrating, is that despite all their intelligence such people don't learn in areas they are not familiar with. And make their ship sink with it.

    But as I wrote, the idea will remain, and that is what really counts. Anybody can pick it up and make something out of it.
  • @Gonzo Honestly, I would not be surprised if there are some people inside OSE who represent the interests of the big industrial monopolies like Samsung, Sony, Philips, etc. Any progress they can make into slowing down OSE means enormous profits for those (mafia) companies who shamelessly call themselves "industry".

    Heh, take off your tinfoil hat man. There isn't anyone else 'inside' OSE right now except for Marcin, his cabal of 'advisors' and Aaron M, who is doing some significant slogging to get the financial stuff up to par. Mega kudos for Aaron's efforts btw.

    I guess in essence I want to support an organization with similar goals to OSE, but without the personal liabilities that Marcin has introduced. It's a shame that the organization is getting so much money to support Marcin's quest to become an effective executive director of a global NGO with an extremely aggressive programming (in the operational sense, not computers) schedule. He doesn't have those skills of leadership, community building and management. For OSE to really survive, I think they'll need someone else with a lot more experience and ability in NGO management. He's a scientist, and needs to get back to doing that. Unless there is a big change in the strategy and structure of OSE, I'm afraid what @Beluga said will happen.

    Rabert just wrote the comment I was writing.... weird.
  • Do you think it's more worthy to continue to invest in OSE or to the current projects of the people who left and who were involved in the GVCS building and designing and now are doing their own thing ("forked projects")?
    If those forked projects exist then I'm ready to support them. Especially if they plan to create some popular machines (washing machine, refrigerator, etc).

    I guess in essence I want to support an organization with similar goals to OSE, but without the personal liabilities that Marcin has introduced.
    I would support any organization with similar goals to OSE as long as they make any progress. The most important thing at the moment is to get to the turning point, no matter who is doing the job.
  • I lived at FeF for about 5 months total, and I agree with all the listed reasons of why ppl left. 

    As for me, I left for a few reasons.

    -Money. I was working out there for $10 per hour. Very small for the type of work I was doing- design and fabrication of the ironworker. I saw Marcin unwilling to pay even the most skilled labor more than $2k per month. If you aren't even willing to pay that, how on earth can you expect any quality results? At best you will be getting college students, like me, wanting to contribute, who don't have the skills to make a quality product. Or, you will be getting people doing it as a side thing, guaranteeing no results. I saw the bank accounts, and knew the organization had more than $400k in the bank. As a result, there was nobody there designing the machines. I didn't feel qualified to be designing this stuff. I felt like there should have been experts out there designing it so I could built it. There was nobody. I felt like I was defrauding the investors.

    -Lies about the quality of the products. The brick press produced shit for bricks. They didn't have one flat surface on them. I personally built 4 of these, which were all shipped out without proper testing. One was shipped out a year after it was supposed to be. The power cube worked for a week AT THE LONGEST. 

    -Unsafe living conditions and insufficient infrastructure- when I was there, the well water was contaminated, and Marcin refused to fix it. There was literally algae the water tanks, and he was doing nothing to fix it. We had to either buy all water at the store, or drink from the RO system, which I had to personally install. The RO hardly produced 1/2 gallon per day to be spent among 15+ people because of the low pressure coming from the pump at the well. The well was also not producing enough to accomodate all the people there, so we could only use toilets to poop, and had to have VERY short showers.

    -Everyone I talked to who was working there had told me, independently, that they had felt "decieved" at their recruitment. That they had been lied to to get to come out there.

    My 2 cents...
  • That's even worse than I thought it is. Pity.

    When Marcin wants to see where he will be in 2050 with this attitude, he can travel to Florida and look what Jacque Fresco has achieved in about 40 years.

    Engineers tend to simply forget that they are dealing with human beings, and that those operate completely differently compared to technology and machines.
  • Yoonseo here. Just want to clear things up with the facts about what's happening with OSE.

    First and foremost, everyone on-site left OSE after the huge conflict year-end 2012 between the team and Marcin.

    Now between Marcin, his advisors, and Aaron working remotely on the finances, ose is recruiting a new team.

    Now you know what's going on, to an extent. There's certainly lot more to the story than just that though.

  • I hope your project will be successful and I'm ready to support it.
    Please, if possible, create some popular machines, the world needs some open source home appliances, re-creation of civilization from scratch is way too slow..
  • Could we start some remote groups not exactly affiliated with OSE? Just use the designs? they are open source, so if people do it themselves for fun then the projects will be better stuff will get done and progress without the boom and bust cycle.
    I personally would be interested in a Northern Colorado/ Denver Metro area group.

  • What were the reasons that Marcin and or his advisors didnt want to share profits? Also what are the reasons that the project is hierarchical?

    In my opinion, any argument must take into considerations both the people that work there the and the probability that the project will succeed.

    Certainly though, the project has a zero probability of success if noone wants to work there.
  • @ eat_those_lemons

    Of course you can start an OSE group in your area. Just do it. I think, that was the original intention of the project anyways, to have as many local groups started as possible to multiply the project and its ideas globally.

    Don't know if Marcin has any (or claims to have any) copyrights at the term "OSE" or the denominations of the tools OSE has developed.
  • @openspeed

    ohai Yoonseo! I heard you were working on your own open-source hardware project. What exactly are you doing? How's it coming along?
  • @rothj

    Yeah, I'm starting an open source hardware cooperative with Aaron- Open Tech Forever. We'll be developing open source hardware, producing and selling some for income, and doing some training and capital assistance programs. Johnathan is starting an organic farm on-site so lots of collaboration ahead. Taking a different route than OSE though- the goal is the same, economically empowered collaborative communities in an open world, but the approach will be starting with widely useful tech we can sell for financial stability, and that'll really get open hardware out there in use and in publicity, followed by tool development as it gets more and more relevant. Relevance is key, because it ensures the use and replication of open hardware, the reasons for which it should be produced and documented in the first place.

    We're off to a great start. Recently finalized a zero-cost agreement to develop the coop at 40 acres of industrial-zoned land in Denver, Colorado, and got in-kind material donations and a lot of zero-cost equipment leases from an awesome local collaborator. We're all pretty excited and hoping the major next steps go smoothly. The technical side is handled down-pat since Aaron and I have tremendous experience from our time with OSE, so it's just the initial financial and legal stuff we're trying to work out. We're launching an indiegogo campaign soon (early April) for us to get started with the facility construction and initial round of fulfilling pre-orders, development, and production- from there we'll be able to bootstrap ourselves into further development, production, and the programs we'll provide later on. Training and capital assistance complementing documentation equals knowledge + direct experience + tangible resource triple combo for ensuring the success of other businesses, projects, and community involvement in the open source hardware movement.

    If everything works out, we've got a great future ahead of us.

  • Has anyone heard of Sensorica? They are an r&d group who wants to manufacture-research things in a p2p way.
    To achieve this, they break each manufacturing process into a graph of steps/interdependencies and then they assign a price on each step.
    Then they allow any person to join them and start working on any of those steps.

    In effect, they are using a p2p erp-system.
    Here are some links:

    their inventory:
    on value networks:
  • Yoonseo, I will make donations and will become true fan as soon as you will make it possible.
    It's great news to hear that you want to make popular machines.
    How about starting a Kickstarter campaign for one such machine? Maybe you can get consistent funding.

  • Speaking of quiet, does anyone know how to reach JerryShaw? It looks like he hasn't been here in over a year, and I'd love to chat with him on some of his diesel ideas for open source.

  • That all sounds horrifying, and par-the-course for Utopian ideologues; it's really a shame how willing the idea-folks of this day and age are to victimize collaborators. It's unbelievable how rarely people get a voice when such things happen to the public. It's the information age!  

    I have a collective of makers that just received a space grant in upstate NY that are making a list of first projects to focus on, and the OSE Liberator and CEB press are near the top of the list. Hearing that the Powercube design doesn't hold up to use and the CEB press being almost useless scare the heck out of us though. Does anyone on here know who purchased these preorders, or anyone that is using actively any iterations of these pieces? I'd love to hear about their experiences.

    Building the set would severely diminish our reserves (we would be reaching hard to finish them) and if they ended up nonfunctional 'set pieces' it would be possibly ruinous. 
  • Hy Ryan,

    looking at the current scene from offshore, I am not really surprised. I have heard a lot about the poor working conditions at FeF over more than a year and several people on the forum probably now me for my critics on poor designs and sub-standard manufacturing practices in OSE and FeF.
    Myself I have no complete knowledge about CED press and PowerCube; always believing these machines were the better results of OSE development.

    But seeing OSE product quality in general being poor I am not really surprised by the situation of CEDPress and PowerCube.

    The best advice I can give is to start a contact with Brianna Kufa. She has spent several month at Fef, has been active in the development of several machines and to me she seems to be a trustworthy and competent fabricator girl.

    If Brianna states that a Powercube works at longest 7 days, I am pretty sure I doesn't work 8 days without  a breadown. It may be desillusioning but my strong feeling is that none of the existing GVCS designs is fit for commercial or mass production.


  • @RyanMartin

    Hey Ryan, it's actually not so bad. OSE has been doing subpar builds primarily due to haste and lack of care from Marcin, but the general mechanisms (at least for the ceb press and powercube) are sound- we couldn't have done the hablab/workshop without it. To be clear- the CEB Press and Powercube work. Now the only issue is that you have to use good materials and produce them properly (instead of the bad stuff that broke on us over and over).

    The inexpensive surplus engines for the Powercube have frequently caused problems due to breaking magnetos; a bunch of the solenoids broke too. Shoddy commercial parts! So on the powercube side, as long as you get engines with reliable accessories, and long-life solenoids, everything should be fine. Remember to seal the threaded hydraulic connections and tighten sufficiently- hydraulic leaks are bad! Also, I think the most difficult part of the powercube production for you will be sealing and installing the ports on the gasoline and hydraulic fluid reservoirs. Make sure you get this done right else you'll get gas/hyd fluid leaks all over the place. When I was at FeF there's mostly been problems with hydraulic fluid leaking due to improperly sealed connections. No explosions though, heh.

    Now the CEB Press can easily have issues surrounding its compression chamber. If you do not use thick enough steel and insufficiently reinforce the compression walls, you will get bending and that will get you curved bricks. No good. Also the second thing was that the ejection surface must be parallel or subsequent surfaces must be scaled in the proper direction. Otherwise you will get the bottom of your bricks sliced by about 1/4" as it gets ejected. Also make sure that the primary cylinder is high enough so that the pressing surface can actually get to the ejection surface (otherwise you gonna get some more bottom-slicing action). I think those were the major issues. Make sure you put a pressure relief valve on there eh.

    Hope that helps! -Yoonseo

  • The GVCS machines can't be bad. The build quality might be, depending on materials. But the designs should be ok, and they can be improved easy, that's the most important thing.
  • gonzo wrote:

    The GVCS machines can't be bad. The build quality might be, depending on materials. But the designs should be ok, and they can be improved easy, that's the most important thing.

    Well, GVCS designs can be bad! Very bad, there are a couple of developments in progress that don't promise any acceptable result, i.e. Tractor, Bulldozer, Truck. And several where there is no progress at all, like steam engine, CNC multimachine..
    So, GVCS designs at present can be VERY POOR.

    But I must admit, the CEB press doesn't look like a complete design error. Therefore IMO it is the manufacturing quality that makes them poor performer, or maybe only a fraction of them works poor.

    The power cube is a different story. I don't think that the design has severe design flaws. But there are 2 issues which influence the useability of power cubes:

    #1 is FeFs practice of always buying the cheapest raw material and components, preforably from doubtful surplus sources. I don't expect they get their hands on quality components this way.

    #2 is the concept of power cubes. If You buy a (commercial built) tractor or  truck, You can expect the large diesel engine to operate without a major repair for more or less 5000 operating hours.
    And that ist something that You can't expect from the small gasoline engines in power cubes, nearly none of them will come even close to 5000 hours of operation. And engine lifespan will  even be shorter if you buy these engines from susceptible surplus suppliers.

    But generally spoken, its a problem with the power cube concept. Small gas engines usually don't have the lifespan of much larger diesel engines.


  • For the focus group, how bout we knock out the BOM and a basic design for a nickle iron battery? If we all focus on that for two weeks I bet we could make a lot of progress. Its an old technology so just need to sort out the rest. April 8th we could do a little report.
  • @dorkmo yeah, sounds doable. Here I have some iron, a can of NaOH/KOH drain cleaner (hopefully that's all that's in there) and some nichrome wire. Is nicrome good or must it be 100% Ni?
  • I read somewhere that the electrolyte needs to be pretty pure, but they mentioned a good source is pottery supply shops.
    I havent figured the nickel out. On youtube a guy claims hes using a sheet of pure nickel. Then in another video hes plating some copper. Not sure if its nickel 200 or what.

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