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Thursday, September 20, 2012

And then there's the retaliation

Okay, this is over the top.

So Makerbot, in responding to pressure from investors and to be competitive with their direct rivals, has abandoned OpenSource to remain competitive in their new software and hardware. However, as I said yesterday, Thingiverse is still there and just as awesome as it always has been. And this is an important point. The Thingiverse Terms of Service have not changed.

But this morning, led by Open Hardware guru Josef Průša thingiverse is being bombarded with "Occupy Thingiverse" posts and reminders about the meaning of Open Hardware. Which is funny because I thought the meaning of Open Hardware was that you were giving up your right to complain about how others use it. Plus, as I said before, Thingiverse hasn't changed. Yes there is a provision in it's legal type that says that the license you choose is a secondary licence and that the first licence is that Thingiverse and it's operators have the right to do whatever they want with your uploaded designs like, oh, put them online for others to download. Which is the point of Thingiverse. Alright, the language is broad enough that they could sell it but does Josef really thing that Makerbot have gone so far over to the dark side that they're going to open a Thingiverse store and sell Non-Commercial licensed stuff? Apparently he does as well as a vocal minority that is filling Thingiverse with this stuff.

Remaining OpenSource would have been a bold move for Makerbot. And maybe right now it's the time for bold. They have a Goliath to slay, and we need to see them succeed. I'm afraid to say I'm going to be a shill on this one, I just wish I had something to upload across the picket line. Ride this out Makerbot. Ride this out, but a little apology to the OpenSource community would not be amiss either.


  1. Makerbot didn't do anything wrong in my opinion. If they, as a business, want to keep feeding their families, produce more generations of 3D printers, then the Open Source model might not be working for them at this stage.

    Thingiverse, to me, has been amazing to watch grow as a community and will continue to do so for some time. For anyone to say it is tied at the hip to Makerbot and in lockstep with their policies is disingenuine at best.

    I don't purport to know the inner workings of Makerbot, but I can imagine that in order for them to continue daily operations and also grow their product line almost demanded this as there is no other viable solution.

    Sure, I'd love to see them possibly have dual lines of Open and closed hardware but that would require as much if not more engineering effort on their part (read: more capital). So once again we're back to the dilemma of generating enough revenue while making physical product(s).

  2. The nice thing that's coming out of this is the thingiverse is getting some competition. Piratebay was okay, but now there's this:

    Well see if it lasts.


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