What if GF disappears?

qa

#1

Say I get my unit as promised. What happens if the company over extends itself and closes its doors.
Since I would be relying on GF web services, would I be left with a huge paperweight?


#2

Here’s @dan’s response from way back when.


#3

the answer right now is yes.

hopefully the firmware will be released, and hopefully someone smarter than me (i’m happy programming but i’m uncomfortable modifying the firmware on what might be a $4k paperweight lol) will be able to rejigger it to at least accept g-code or something.

but there is no guarantee. it’s a risk.


#4

There’s been virtually no news on the GPL-licensed firmware since then has there? It seems likely that is at pretty much the bottom of GFs priority list for the time being. Perhaps that topic could be addressed in the next update.


#5

Certainly one of the biggest and possibly most-valid fears. I truly believe there are far too many devs out there to let it die if the company ever did. As a matter of fact, I imagine they’ll work something up within a year of release regardless of the status of the company. Maybe they’ll even have better software, who knows. So, that’s my take on this. :slight_smile:


#6

A little off-topic but… Happy Big Cake day!:birthday:


#7

I thank you! :slight_smile:


#8

Since it has taken paid GF staff this long to write the code (15 months and counting?), it seems unlikely it would take volunteers less time to produce roughly the same claimed feature set.


#9

Unless there is a way to pay for the cloud service if gf goes under/gets sold, functionality will be severely limited. Just look at the homing thread…if we need a bunch of software not on the machine to bring the head into home position as the camera output needs to interpreted/corrected appropriatley, good luck doing that with a simple gcode to firmware emulator…I do hope they come up with a post gf the company solution to be able to use the gf the cutter…


#10

i’m not particularly worried that it’ll just out and out disappear, only because the company has already developed some unique ip.

that will be valuable to some other company, so it’s not like, in a worst-case scenario they’d simply go defunct. someone would buy them, and they’d have an incentive to keep the servers going because they have a customer base who is willing to spend $K thousand on a product.

this is all just me hoping for the best, naturally. :slight_smile:


#11

They wouldn’t have to. All they would need to do is produce code that would allow people to use it as a standard laser cutter. Six month effort for the LaserWeb people (open source project). Would you rather have a brick or a cutter that could cut & engrave like every other CO2 laser?

If they wanted to add the camera trickery then that’ll take a bit more but FSL did it in a year.

So the only other thing would be variable power engraving which would be easier to build now that there’s a machine with a variable power laser power supply.


#12

I concur jamesdhatch. Peter Van Der Walt and all the other folk over at LaserWeb/CNCWeb have been doing amazing work. I have been watching them since our Glowforges first slipped.


#13

Well hopefully there will be enough proof grade material selling that we won’t have to worry :smile:


#14

They won’t have to re-invent the wheel. If the company ever dies I’ll hope they’ll open the code. Then it’ll be a matter of hosting that ourselves. Only changes will need to be in the firmware so the 'forge will be able to communicate with the correct server.


#15

The [edit: open sourced] firmware is due to be released once the final GFs start shipping - I guess so it is a stable/final release. There are no plans to release the cloud based software which is clearly valuable IP.

I dont think the released [edit: open sourced] firmware will ever get used. If (big if) the company was struggling, someone would buy them for the IP and user base. If not struggling, someone may want to take a look at the [edit: open sourced] firmware but who’s going risk bricking their GF and run limited functionality software. IMHO. :smile:


#16

i’m not sure i’ve ever seen that. just that they’re working on it.

i mean it makes sense, there’s no point in releasing it beforehand. just noting that i don’t remember seeing them say it’ll be released once things ship.


#17

Not sure what you mean there. Every unit has firmware (or else it wouldn’t function). If necessary they can update the firmware, at any point, OTA.

Do you mean if the company goes out of business? Likely not. It wouldn’t work without GF’s cloud.

I’m sure there are no such plans. As I said, [quote]
If the company ever dies I’ll hope they’ll open the code.
[/quote]


#18

You missed the very long discussions late in 2015 about the potential for the GF being bricked if the company went under. The firmware was promised as a releaseable to alleviate the early concerns. The topic was beat to death at that time.

It will always be a concern as long as investors are involved and companies are seen as simply dollars and cents.


#19

he means the open sourced firmware, not firmware that’s shipping on a machine, come on.


#20

Well, until 2 seconds ago I didn’t know there was going to be an open source firmware, so… come on.