RE: We’ll release a GPL-licensed firmware for Glowforge

here’s a commitment we’ll make right now: When we launch Glowforge, we’ll also release a copy of the firmware under GPL.


So the Glowforge is launched and mine is supposedly due in days to weeks so I’d like to get started looking at the firmware.

Where has this been released?
I see glowforge has a github but it has no public activity.


I believe their intention was to release the firmware after they stop making major changes to it.
I honestly wouldn’t expect it until the new year




This was a thread that got kinda heated a week or two ago and I don’t get it - what’s the big deal about seeing the firmware at this point? I assume it’s just a curiousity thing?

(I ask this as a non-programmer & because all the heavy lifting is cloud based)


I don’t think replicating the cloud software so the glowforge could be used offline would be an easy task. This is something that the glowforge software team has been working on for ages.

I guess it could be the first step in setting up wireshark so you could monitor network traffic to see how everything works together and EVENTUALLY get there with a group of software developers in their free time but from what I remember being said the firmware is pretty basic.


It might reveal the power mapping, the coolant temperature limits and lots of other details that GF refuse to disclose. It would also make it a lot easier to interpret what wireshark sees.


I think it is about seeing if the company really will follow through with this. You could see promising this to get folks over the hump of being afraid of being stuck with a paper weight when the startup fails. But then when the company is strong, pointing out that people don’t need the firmware for this purpose any more and saying we’ll definitely release if we fail, which they won’t because failing can often include investors hoping to sell off assets, etc.

There may be a few folks among us that are a little sore about how MakerBot made promises on this front that they later weren’t able to keep. They either promised too much too early or they promised correctly, but broke the promises anyway, depending on your point of view.

So a release now, before they get their expensive device would be reassuring to some of us. But is also difficult for a little company that still has a long road ahead before a liquidity event and/or a less desirable outcome and has competitors chomping at the bit to offer the same stuff only cheaper. Not to mention that reasonable people can disagree about the potential market size for a maker tool even if you call it by a name that people psychologically think of as a something every house might have.


That’s not what was said and as software development goes they will probably never reach that point unless the company goes under.



1: We don’t know what the device is doing and what information it’s collecting or sending to / from Glowforge’s servers.

2: IOT security is a big mess nowadays and even internet connected teapots are being loaded with malware and zombie processes that steal your electricity to run whatever software the malware author intends which includes trying to infect other devices, running DDOS attacks, collecting network traffic, etc

3: As Dan has said about his cloud connected CNC router that got shut down it’s important our multi-thousand dollar tool doesn’t turn into a paper weight if their cloud goes down

4: I don’t want to depend on an internet connection to use my device. I literally have to tether a cell phone in my window to get internet and it is not reliable.

5: I wish to decouple my device from being forced to use any one else’s services.

6: When people read they were going to opensource their firmware on launch it may have been a deciding factor in making the purchase. Open source is very important to a lot of people.

7: Because they said they would


is there a wireshark dump out in the wild? if not what if traffic is encrypted

Don’t mistake releasing a copy of the firmware with open source. Don’t remember them saying anything more than promising a single version. Rather have a more mature version than what they have today. For example, want it to include control over the head camera first.


I doubt there is a wireshark dump out there right now.
I am a software developer at my day job and I do get why people are so privacy concerned, but what it comes down to is right now the firmware is most likely still being changed frequently where the cloud software is still in beta. When that all becomes more stable I can see them releasing the firmware. Then those who have the knowhow and free time can start on an offline version of the Glowforge UI.

Most people have stable internet, Glowforge as a company is doing well as far as we know, and I’d trust Google’s server stability over most companies. Because of that I think the GF staff is more concerned with building the advertised features and delivering product.


I’m in embedded systems engineering and while my specialty is BCI I’ve done work on CNC/3D printer code before and I don’t even care if it has so many bugs in it that it doesn’t compile. I started making a gui to do client side prints this morning and already i’m at a point where no more work can be done without knowing how to talk to the thing.

I also don’t know why anyone would even mention waiting when it was clearly stated


as for open source the link used to be


You may have made a purchase foolishly then.

It has been stated since day one, you need an internet connection, it is cloud based, it requires the Glowforge servers and if Glowforge ever implodes, they will have released the firmware (which is not a day one timetable nor guaranteed to be fully open sourced).

With Point 3, are you sure he wasn’t talking about a wireless router he backed as a Kickstarter:

Point number 7, Dan has stated recently on the time table:


Unless one is in the computer and network security fields, points 2 and 6 kinda don’t make a strong reason for purchasing a Glowforge.

Dan had already stated on the time table

The opposite has been stated

Yes they said when they launch

The original link had the words open source in it

I’m trying to find a cached copy of the original page now.

You are correct I don’t know why I assumed CNC router.

I work in BCI prosthetics, embedded security is a huge concern in my field.

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It was changed the point was the url used to have the words open source in it

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I think it’s reasonable for folks to expect Glowforge to stand by their word on this one. It was stated strongly and some folks were swayed by this. We probably don’t need to browbeat people into a different point of view or to cancel. (And it’s unlikely to work anyway.)

I would point out, however, that it’s likely Glowforge’s definition of “launch” is different than most English speakers would expect. So you may not get any firmware sources any time soon.


The forum has that same post at:

I think that’s a pretty clear indication is that the best case scenario here no longer includes open source. Best case is now a GPL licensed release of the source code at a point in time. One implies maintainers, pull requests, keeping current, etc. The other does not.