It's Alive!

Speaking of which, @scott.wiederhold can you run LaserWeb as the control software for your new board? That’d provide an open source app that would address some of the issues raised about the GF app.

That’s the current plan.


Cool. Someday when I get to visit down under I’m going to take Peter out and get whackered but in the meantime I’ve sent him a fair number of beers electronically (via PayPal) so he would be inspired to continue his work.

Have you thought of providing a way for people to buy you a beer or offset some costs?

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Fabulous work!!!

Would you consider a license other than the GPL?

One of the Creative Commons variants that requires share back, etc, but doesn’t come with the political manifesto nature of the GPL?

I’ve found the GPL to be exceptionally toxic in the industry. A lot of my peers (myself included) won’t work on GPL projects exactly because of the toxicity.

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Glorious. Looks like a nice bodge board in there too.

I hadn’t actually put a lot of thought into it.

I’m not opposed to changing the licensing on my original work. I opened that topic for discussion on the OpenGlow forum.

Side effect of skimming datasheets a little too fast…

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So how do you actually interface with it to run a job? How do you place a job - in-file X/Y coordinates?

At the moment, you can’t. :blush: I am still running through hardware checkouts.

In the near future, though…

I plan to port over GRBL and use LaserWeb as the user interface.

Once I have the cameras operational, there’s a possibility that I may use the emulator I wrote to interface it with Glowforge’s cloud so you could use the GFUI concurrently with whatever other interfaces the community comes up.


GRBL? Interesting. Not a fan of TinyG (G2) or Smoothie? Or the hardware onboard can handle GRBL? Or just easier to port?

The hardware could handle full on LinuxCNC without issue.

As for GRBL, it seems to be the most stable of the projects I’ve looked at. It is also extremely well documented, which will make it easier to port over.

I’m looking for something a little lighter and closer to the ‘metal’, as it is out of my comfort zone and I am challenging myself with this project.

Of course, anyone will be welcome to port over their favorite stuff…

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MachineKit would be epic.

I only question the GRBL choice as it has issues with G2/G3 (arcs) many, many moons ago when I was still using MCU’s as motion controllers- It crapped out on tangents (the developer for chilli pepper blamed it on floating point handling in GRBL and 8bit MCUs). I’ve switched to LCNC & MachineKit and loving it.

Also, isn’t there a 3 Axis limit on GRBL? You have X/Y then the focus in the head assembly. No room for another axis like a rotary?

See, that’s why nothing is set in stone. :smiley:

My focus has been (and likely will be for a while yet) primarily on the hardware aspects.

I will likely release a production version of this board long before any of the software is fully functional (and probably give out a few prototypes to those want early access). This will give others the opportunity to work up better solutions than me.

Is this running on your own server or are you using a hosted solution provided by discourse?

It’s the Discourse standalone edition running in a Docker container on an Amazon AWS EC2 instance.


There aren’t many alternative copyleft licenses out there, the main three are GPL, LGPL, and AGPL. As for the politico manifesto, I’m guessing that you are referring to GNU or Richard Stallman, neither of which are included as part of choosing the GNU license.

Given my understanding of the goals of this project, GPL seems like a great license to prevent people from making changes and keeping them for themselves for either personal or commercial reasons. Even repositories such as LaserWeb are AGPL which is arguably more restrictive than GPL as network distribution is still considered distribution requiring full source release.

Even Discourse is GPL, :wink:


I’d chip in on that offer! I really appreciate what you’re doing here @scott.wiederhold :smiley:


The CCC licenses are much better; much less toxic.

GPLv3: Total non-starter. Tries to dictate what you can and can’t do with the software. The antithesis of free software.

GPLv2: Slightly better, but is infectious. Use the software in something, even inadvertently? Supposedly that something is under the GPLv2. Of course, no court precedent has been set, so just means lawyers get rich.

AGPL isn’t much better. The LGPL is about as close to compatible with being free as all of the licenses in the GNU realm.

All of which is to point out two things:

  1. The GPL is toxic to innovation exactly because it tries to limit what you can do with the free software and, more disturbingly, it tries to infect anything you use it with.

  2. Far more importantly, the GPL is toxic to a very large number of corporations who are otherwise perfectly happy to contribute back to the open source community. Apple? IBM? Microsoft? Yeah-- no GPL ever.

If you want a license that guarantees “share alike”, go with Creative Commons. That is exactly what it is designed to do without the ineffectual political manifesto nonsense that is wrapped up in the entire FSF effort.

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I am reminded of the Fashion industry where nothing is patentable, or copyrighted, but remains very diverse, and folk borrow (steal) ideas all the time. The idea that if you invent something or create a new concept and are protected from folks copying it has some merit in the case of a steam engine design say as long as you are not patenting steam.

While that seems a stretch, the problem in similar fashion goes on all the time. Most programming I have been able to understand (and perhaps that is a part of the problem) amounts to putting together code that is mostly owned by the company that created it, ( the exception like LISP that hardly anyone uses because nobody is trying to sell it) and in most cases, you cannot use anything but the code primitives to do so. Thus they own the numbering system and you own the math, and yet both numbering system and math are not so much creations as pulling out something that was there all along rather like Einstein patenting E=MC2. It did take a genius to see it first but it was basic to how the universe works.

This is my rant that the whole concept of exactly what can be copyrighted or patented, and how much money protects itself but walks right through those who for financial reasons cannot defend themselves needs a total rework The FSM Rant is about software but I would note that what was supposed to enhance innovation has, in fact, stifled it and the problems involved are getting beyond legal issues, and getting worse.

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Let’s just start by saying I am 100% pro MIT / Apache /BSD license for libraries as this is where the “infectious” case can be made and even with LGPL there is potential that you would need to release any derivative code (anything that uses said library). This is one of the few cases I wouldn’t mind a project being GPL as I myself would hope and in the GPL case would require people to release code upstream. This is a platform, not a library.

You use the word “toxic” frequently though never define what that means in relation to a software license or explain what makes one license more toxic than another. The license choice does not make the community inherently bad. There are valid reasons choosing any license, the main one for GPL is to prevent people from commercializing your platform without appropriate licenses and requiring the release of modifications to the source. The software is still free to use and free to modify.

All licenses limit what you can do with software including public domain and a few other non-license licenses, one of the main limitations/protections is that you cannot sue the creator. GPL just tries its hardest to ensure that modifications are pushed back upstream.

These companies all use GPLv3 software daily as the most popular c++ compiler gcc is GPLv3. They also each commit code to the Linux Kernel, primarily GPLv2, amongst other libraries. As for the projects they individually open source, they do so under a variety of different licenses.

Creative Commons themselves recommends against using any of their licenses for software specifically because they do not contain specific terms about the distribution of source code and to instead use one of the better-understood licenses. Ironically, in this case, they link back to GNU and the FSF.

You’ve mentioned a “political manifesto” several times, could you elaborate on this. Maybe where one could go to read it. The only reasoning that I can infer from this argument against GPL is that you would prefer to keep your source to yourself. Which is a fair point :slight_smile:

Some other interesting tidbits, when gcc became GPLv3 there was a debate over whether that meant all code compile using it was a derivative work. It is, however, there is a provision to allow developers to write nonfree software with it.

I believe when you mention the inadvertent use of GPLv2 requiring release that you actually mean LGPL due to the undefined nature of a derived work using dynamic linking of libraries.

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