I just went back through some of the oldest forum posts and found this statement by @dan:
Glowforge firmware is user-flashable, so you’ve got both an escape hatch (if something happens to us) and a platform to experiment with. If you buy it, it’s yours – you should be able to do what you want with it.
Some firmware was released but it was clear to anyone paying attention that it wasn’t something that would be all that useful toward getting a standalone GF. All firmware, and documentation would be needed and even then it would be a monumental task. Experienced folks that were trying to reverse engineer a solution and had the firmware dump gave up on the project a few weeks ago.
I don’t think it’s fair of Glowforge to describe the machines as having user-flashable firmware. Very early on they stopped putting the console port on the motherboard (which was not very user-accessible to begin with) so I can’t see how it would be possible on currently-produced units without hardware modification. Unless there’s some hidden functionality in the diagnostic mode web interface somewhere. But if so, it’s not documented.
…that’s my point! In fact, the machines seem to be extremely “black boxes” concerning the user. According to the guys from OpenGlow, they even check the cryptographic key of the glowforge servers - otherwise, developing your own “Glowforge server” would be only a network configuration away…
I mean this is pretty well-discussed in the forum, maybe the thing to do now is submit a P&S ticket about it. That’s generally how you submit ideas… and while this isn’t a new complaint or request, the landscape has changed with premium coming into the mix specifically to enable development projects that were just not feasible.
Maybe it’s time for them to get on it. All I know is that us talking about it in the Everything Else category might as well be talking to a wall – Glowforge doesn’t usually read this stuff.
While you’re at it you can get on them about the cardboard globe, and the drone, and the other projects in the promo videos that were supposed to be released.
Horse ghost says: “Hey man, come on. They’re not going to release them.”
It would have been interesting if Glowforge had become a platform for experimentation, but it’s quite obvious that they decided to pursue a different strategy. Hard to say it wasn’t the right choice, after all OpenGlow was essentially one person’s extended struggle to get anyone else to contribute. One could imagine GF spending lots of resources on opening up the machine, only to find that critical mass of competent firmware engineers who are actually willing to buy a $7000 machine and then write their own software for it never materializes.
Then again, maybe Jason Dorie would have gotten one and made Lightburn for it.