Standalone Software

Hello, I think one of the biggest limitations of the Glowforge is the “cloud” software. It is extremely buggy and not to mention it involves the dreaded “cloud”. I’ve spent hours trying to play around with the software, to then have the browser crash on me multiple times on multiple computers and multiple browsers, and because you can not save, it becomes extremely frustrating.

The “cloud” needs to go away as a buzz word and selling point. The “cloud” means someone else’s computer / the internet. Considering the U.S. one of the worse internet speeds / reliability compared to the rest of the world, it means that if you have no internet, guess what? You have no Glowforge or any other tool you rely on the “cloud” for.

I’ve worked in I.T. for over 10 years and I hate the “cloud” with a passion. And internet connection should not be the determining factor if you can, or can not use a product. I know in the end, the industry would like to to never own anything physically again (music, movies, games, etc.) so they can take it away at a moments notice, charge us more money to give it back, or sell subscriptions, but for a device like this, I’d like it to be completely independent of my unreliable internet connection.

For having over $28 million dollars, a standalone piece of software could have been developed by now. I’m not an expert in these programs and the web is extremely basic and limiting. All other “free” / paid programs out there recommended to use with this, is not made for this device, so there is a learning curve. In the end, I just end up Googling SVG files, so I don’t have to deal with the limitations of other formats.

Any plans to get a piece of software out soon, that just treats the Glowforge as a printer to your computer and all you have to worry about is your own internal network connection? Not DoS attacks on ISPs or cloud services, or a storm knocks out my internet, or today it decides it wants to be slow?

Sorry for the rant, but I never liked the “cloud” since day 1 of the Microsoft campaign. I saw what they wanted to do and hated the idea. There is a shirt out there “There is no cloud, just someone else’s computer.” and it is so true. But not only that, No internet, no cloud, and no internet happens more often than anyone wants to admit / believe. And when that happens, guess what? All your devices are bricks.

Sorry again, please come out with a standalone software soon! Thanks!


Agreed. Also, there are some things that I would love to make on the GF, but I can’t due to the cloud. E.g., I’ve got an NDA that says I can use the logo and project name for internal uses, but I can’t distribute. Using a third-party cloud is distribution. I don’t make the rules – but I do have to follow them.

Or to make it more clear: What if I worked for Apple and wanted to make a prototype iPhone 17? With the GF, it would be easy to cut it out and cheaper than sending it down to the fab group. But distributing a corporate secret (like what the iPhone 17 looks like) to a third-party cloud? No way that would be permitted. Thus, I cannot use GF for that kind of project.


It should be saving everything for you now.

I don’t necessarily see how platform-dependent software would be less buggy. Seems like an opportunity to introduce even more bugs.

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Alternative options are being actively developed by 3rd parties.


Wow, you may have purchased the wrong product for your particular use case & preferences…



Even though I personally am a fan of the cloud approach, there are some arguments to be made against the cloud software requirement. But I’m having trouble following your argument, in the sense that I’m not sure if what you’re asking for really solves the problems you seem to have.

If what you want is a printer driver, then treat the cloud app like a printer driver. Set everything up in your design software, save it as an SVG or PDF, open it in the Glowforge app, and press Print. That workflow is completely doable today, many people work that way, and the only thing that would practically change with what you’re asking for is that you wouldn’t have to deal with saving a temporary file and uploading it.

I just don’t understand the bit in the middle about how there’s a learning curve and you don’t want to deal with “the limitations of other formats”… you do realize that if you just had a print driver, you’d still have to use the same software you don’t like today. Or are you asking Glowforge to produce a full-featured vector art application that you can use in place of Inkscape or Illustrator?

By all means, if your complaint is that you don’t like the cloud because you want to work disconnected, that’s one thing. But “I can’t use graphic design software because of the cloud, so please give me a printer driver instead” doesn’t connect as well with me.

(Edit: I revised this a little for tone, I think it read as more argumentative than I intended)


The cloud could certainly be a showstopper for some uses. Coincidentally, I actually do work for Apple and, yeah, there isn’t a chance I could use a GF as a part of a prototyping process, if I were to desire to do so for exactly the reasons mentioned.

The cloud has tremendous advantages (and this is coming from someone who hates the cloud).

Most importantly, the GlowForge is actually usable across multiple platforms and, even, from tablets. That would not have been possible without adding significantly more time to the development and deployment process as GF would have had to have written software for every single one of the platforms.

I would much rather have the current relatively OK cloud based GUI than some craptastic “portable” UI written against some cross-platform “compatibility” layer. Or, worse, yet another awful X11 based app like Inkscape (powerful, but the UI sucks).


@bbum: I run a cloud-based forensic service. (Obligatory link: From a developer viewpoint, I love not having to write platform-dependent code. I chose to use a web-based UI because it works well on every platform. (If your browser supports HTML5 and CSS3, then you’re good to go. And every modern web browser has those minimum requirements. Heck, my UI even looks good on mobile devices.)

In this regard, I actually love the GF web-based UI.

Having said that: For my own services, I offer standalone instances. These are either virtual machines (VMs) running my software on a web server, or my software on client-provided web servers. (I do NOT offer this to the general public.) This way, the web server still provides a platform-independent UI, but it isn’t hosted in the cloud. (“In the cloud” = “on someone else’s computer.”)

It would be great if GF provided an option where I could download a snapshot of the web server and run it locally (still web based, but not in the cloud).


I, too, would vastly prefer being able to run my own local instance w/local users, etc… and having a gitlab style hosting of the software + forks + patches + bug tracking would be very welcome, indeed!

I totally understand why that either may not be viable within the business model.


Neat forensic service, btw!


So friggin’ cool!


As a professional developer of over 30+ years, I absolutely love the cloud. I write web applications in C# all day long, and the cloud is indeed one of the biggest time savers in development.

We all bought into the GF knowing full well it was cloud based (and if you didn’t know, shame on you for not researching it), and the cloud is the primary reason we got it for the price that we did. It’s also specifically buil;t to take advantage of the cloud, which probably resulted in cheaper manufacturing costs.

If you don’t want a laser that is cloud enabled, get one, they’re out there. And they cost way more than you paid in to kickstart the GF.


They have never given any indication that they plan to provide stand-alone software and I would be truly surprised if they reversed course. They’ve been very open about reliance on “the cloud” since day 1.


Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I try to be polite in the forums, but this rant is ill-conceived, and frankly ridiculous.

There are limitations that come along with the cloud, along with a number of benefits. While many of us would like standalone software, it has always been clear that this platform would be cloud-based. If anyone made a purchasing decision without considering that factor then the problem is not with GF.

The GFUI and the backend are not “extremely buggy,” although there are bugs as well as continual improvement. Even if this statement were factually correct, I don’t understand how standalone software would not also have to consider bugs. I have seen enterprise software with hundreds or thousands of bugs operate for years–with new bugs found and old bugs squashed in a never-ending cycle; how do you define “extremely.”

This is true, but it also neglects that most of the major internet companies in the world seem to operate successfully within the U.S. Regardless, I go back to the point that if anyone purchased this hardware without considering the dependence on the cloud, that is not a GF problem.

I have worked in IT for over 25 years, and have been programming in some way or form for over 30. I have seen distributed computing come and go; from mainframes and terminals to ASPs to the modern “cloud.” The terminology makes no difference. Both local and distributed computing are here to stay, and serve many different purposes.

Tell this to all of the smart device providers, energy companies that rely on the Internet for monitoring, or healthcare organizations that use the Internet to perform activities such as remote surgery. Every technology we use has constraints; this device just happens to rely on the Internet, as well as your own local computing devices.

It has been stated before that they did not use our money until our machines shipped (in GF terms, when we agree to accept the device). It could not have been used for software development, and would have raised many other complaints had it been used while we were all suffering through a 2 plus-year delay. In addition, have you seen how much it costs for any organization to truly develop commercial-grade consumer software? I can assure you that in the time GF has had for development, $28m would not have covered the costs for both multi-device standalone software and all of the hardware development.

I don’t understand this argument. Every laser and CNC requires other software to design projects that are eventually cut. No single provider that I am aware of provides end-to-end software and hardware.

A printer driver would be nice to print directly from software like Illustrator, but it would not negate the need for the cloud service. All of the motion planning for the machine is done in the cloud.

The “cloud” is not a Microsoft only service, so this doesn’t make sense.

No power means nothing happens either. And that happens more often than many of us want to believe. GF can’t solve every problem.

Some devices become inoperable when they cannot access a cloud service, but this is certainly not true for all Internet-based devices. And, has no bearing on GF, since–again–GF has always stated that the backend was cloud based.

As has been mentioned, third-parties are working on alternatives for the GF backend. Too, @dan has stated that the firmware for the machines themselves will be opensourced. If you don’t like the GF service then I suggest you contribute to the alternatives.


I think more people would be more accepting if the cloud features were more for the owner than ease of maintaining software for glowforge.

If there options like that of octoprint (live streaming camera) or IFTTT. Maybe a way to see machine stats or a builtin in CO detector to send SMS alerts. Then there would be more advantages for the consumer for it to be in the cloud.

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Easel comes to mind. And it’s cloud based.


I stand corrected on that point.

I’m not a programmer , but cloud-run hardware is obviously here to stay: yes, it has disadvantages, but they are outweighed by the advantages.
in fact, the main disadvantages are really not affecting the manufacturer as much as the customer: wifi unreliability, internet connection, etc. these are things that you cannot ever blame them for, and the ultimate disadvantage, a bricked product, well, at that point, who you gonna complaint to…

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…and honestly, i’m not sure I have ever seen a bricked product. Tube radios, laser disk players, record players, 8-track tape players, dial phones, VCR’s, reel-to-reel tape decks – all have been kept alive by a variety of folks and businesses. So – in the extremely unlikely event GF were to go away, I really think some of us would be able to ensure the usability of our machines, or find those that could.


It’s already been accomplished.