What happens when Glow Forge goes out of business and their servers are no longer available? How can you guarantee the life of the product?
Should something happen to us, the firmware on each Glowforge unit is unlocked so it can be changed. We’ve also made our firmware open source to make it easier for other developers to take over if something happens to us.
Seller · May 29, 2020
This is marketing fantasy. The firmware that was open sourced was the minimum necessary to meet the requirements of the licensing of some of the component pieces they used. The hardware is bespoke, the software is reliant on the hardware and better minds than ours spent years trying to crack the nut (OpenGlow) and finally had to hang up their spurs because they couldn’t do it.
Without the mothership, everything you’ve done that’s stored on their servers is gone. We’ll be recreating our projects. None of the server software has seen public light.
If they go away we’ll be stripping the machines to put in new control boards (likely Grbls) and running Lightburn for software.
Most folks will be sending their GFs to the landfill.
a) you should have copies on your hard drive anyway
b) if they don’t disappear overnight, you’ll have time to export them out.
the rest, yup, i definitely agree.
This particular “what if” has gone round and round since before the first Glowforge was delivered. I think it is pointless to pursue again.
Agree with all of above.
You can add on, however, by knowing there is no “local user interface” like a USB port, and the OS/app (“firmware” - it’s just a Linux-based computer) resides on a 4GB flash memory device. It’s not some SD card or similar you can swap out.
Yeah. GF is hiring. They have quite a few openings, including a few for new teams they appear to be planning to build (one I’d consider applying for except I don’t live in Seattle and it’s clearly not a “remote” job). So even though they’re private and financials aren’t published, I’d have to say they’re making money or they wouldn’t be hiring. So it doesn’t look like they’re going away any time soon…
Are you re reading all the old announcements as well?!?! I have been going through them on my morning runs. So much stuff.
Yeah, I figure my glowforge will be dead long before the company is
I just saw it on Amazon’s Q&A’s – I never knew if there was any official Glowforge statement on the matter, and found the reply interesting.
no agenda here.
You may find some of the older forum discussions interesting then.
there has been a dozen conversations, speculating on things (even me early on) but never anything ‘official’ from glowforge, that’s what piqued my interest.
There definitely have been official statements by Dan in the forum. I’ll leave the digging to you, though. You’ll have to go 'way back, I think even before the first machines began shipping.
Yup, what @geek2nurse said.
The earliest Glowforge units (made in the first year or so) have a USB port on the motherboard (it’s internal, and very difficult to access without taking the machine apart). With this it’s possible to get command line access to the machine and it is indeed possible to alter the software and run your own code. Not that you can do much useful, but it’s theoretically possible at least to replace the firmware.
But after that first year they stopped including that USB port. So you’d have to solder one on before you could even get access to the firmware to modify it. Not something many customers would be able to do. And that was with a motherboard identical to the original models… who knows if currently produced ones even have a place to solder the USB port on.
Realistically in order to allow for replacing the firmware Glowforge would need to release a software update that either allows people to SSH into their machines or to provide some other mechanism for replacing the firmware over Wi-Fi. But somehow I doubt that would be high on anyone’s priority list in the event of the company closing down.
I’d say the OpenGlow project was a brave start. I imagine there will be something like this in the wild, if not already, soon. With all the “paperweights” sitting around, it seems like there are plenty of machines to work this out on. Not trivial for sure. I’m feeling fairly positive for the time being though.
Should such a thing happen we can all have comfort in knowing that there will always be the Laser Pecker Pro as an option!
OpenGlow was cool, but when they took down the website, a lot of information was lost that explained and organized many of the images. I used WayBackMachine to scrape the old HTML files and assets, and added them to my fork of the original content, and added links to the actual OpenGlow code repos by ScottW514.
Fork it if you are into that kind of stuff Who knows, maybe someone else has the time to untangle it into new wikipages!
I’ve been rather impressed with some of these diode laser machines coming out lately (not so much the pecker… pro or otherwise). They have a 15 watt diode laser that doubles 7.5 watt diodes to a single beam that looks very promising. I might even get myself one soon as it marks stainless steel without marking fluids. Slow on cutting for sure, but engraving should be comparable to the GF or faster.
I think what we learned from OpenGlow is that the number of people who:
- Have the skills to reverse engineer and write new firmware for the Glowforge, and
- Own a Glowforge (and possibly a second one) they don’t mind destroying in the process, and
- Are motivated to spend their time on this endeavor
was basically <= 1.
I have no interest in turning my Glowforge into a K40 when I could buy one for what, $500? It’s like buying a $3000 Mac and putting Linux on it. The value proposition isn’t really in the hardware at that point, it’s in the integration.
That was the message/vibe I got from OpenGlow: it’s cheaper and easier to “just” build your own laser cutter/engraver from scratch than to hack a Glowforge.