Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Why so quiet?

We've been a bit quiet recently. Just to ressure you all, this means nothing more than we've had our heads down and we're busy. Files have been moving in and out of our CVS, and a major presentation is being worked on that will be made availabel to all. For those who happen to be going to LinuxConf 2006, I hope to have the Meccano prototype and a Polymorph extrusion head demonstrated as part of the RepRap presentation there.

ECONZ Has generously donate more stepper motors to the cause, so I might upgrade the drive system at some point as the new ones are stronger than my salvage from the floppy drives.

The big push now from my perspective is to get some communications going between the PICs in a meaningful way, which Simon and Adrian have been preparing code for. I'm also stuck right in the middle of the perparations for Laingholm Volunteer Fire Brigade's 50th anniversary, which is no small task but will be over in a fortnight.

So, back to work.

Vik :v)

I just wanted to note that I'm a little concerned about using a software license that is explicitly for software for a machine - I'm contemplating basing one of my school projects on the RepRap, and I don't want my school to have the opportunity to mess the licensing up.
Not to say that I'm against the exact spirit of the GPL, just the wording in this case that says it's for software :)

Perhaps a rewording that says the same thing, but is less potentially challengable in that it is specifically for this sort of work?
Small correction: the GPL appears to be potentially applicable.

In it's first term, The GPL states that it applies to any program or other work that the copyright holder puts under it.

On the other hand, the first term of the LGPL states that it applies to any software library or program put under it by the copyright holder - no other works.

I would hope that if a physical analogy of software linking is the reason that the LGPL is being used instead of the GPL, that we could go ahead and use a version modified to include non-software works.

Just my concerns.
I think the idea is to make sure nobody can sit on a technological advance that would improve the RepRap design.

Vik :v)
I'm not particularly concerned about the idea of how this is to be licensed (I think that without being licensed under this or a similar license, the project as a whole drops to only a little bit higher of a status than the commercial rapid prototyping machines already available - it's what makes this project quite so special in my mind), but rather the annoying little details of it being the LGPL rather than the GPL or a license designed to do the equivalent of the GPL.

Also, there is the whole matter of the GPL not inducing providers of a service utilizing a modified form of the work but not destributing said modified form to distribute the source of the work or their derivative in any way.

Actually, under the idea of the LGPL, people could build commercial machines designed to have a RepRap included as part of their design, and distribute them under whatever restrictions they please - providing that the end-user supplies the reprap.

Not that either of those two paragraphs are problems at all, just my trying to expand upon what the GPL does and doesn't mean.
The GPL itself may not turn out to be the most applicable licence for all aspects of RepRap. What is important is the spirit of the GPL, which insists that the details of any changes distributed to anyone are made freely available to all.

It doesn't stop you making things with a GPL'd application that you can market as you see fit, as long as those do not incorporate GPL'd components. As to how this works in practice, I suspect RepRap will set a few goalposts up for people to kick new concepts at!

But the gist as I understand it is: personal use is uninhibited, enhancements for distributed use are available to all. Anything else will stifle the project's evolution, and that's what RepRap is all about.

Vik :v)
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