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Guest Jambon

Open Source Industrial Design

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Guest Jambon

Ok. Seems people have lost interest. Hopefully I can wake y'all up. A friend and I have decided we need something to keep us focused, so we've decided to create an Open Source Design website. It's most likely going to be done with Ruby on Rails with some AJAX thrown in. But we can't just start coding (we need to learn how on earth to use Ruby on Rails), so I'd like your input on what the site should have. For starters, I think a few important things are:

 

*Lightweight. No crazy Flash that slows things to a glacial pace.

*Chat. Think Campfire. We may even use Campfire in the early stages.

*Threads. More like Slashdot, with ratings and such, to conserve space. These will be for more slow-moving in depth discussions rather than comments.

*Not a wiki: wikis would end up being design-by-committee, and we know how committees design things...*ahem*... London 2012, I'm looking at you.

*File-sharing. When someone posts a rendering, the files for that rendering will be put up as a torrent (the site will probably be a seeder. I'm trying to figure out something to keep bandwidth down). That way, minor changes don't require you to redo the entire rendering from scratch.

*Evolutionary. Instead of simply making suggestions, or updating one design, each design will be unique with a record of how it evolved. Next to each design will be pictures of other designs that are either modifications of or inspired by that design. Possibilities include the tagging of the main picture or previous versions to show when someone diverged from the path and did their own thing.

 

So, what else do you think this sort of a website should have?

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Guest jose3

Jambon your enthusiasm reflects a person who has the strength of taking a new idea to real and that is very positive attitude however I believe that it is not possible to use GNU licence agreement in other than software for the simple and only reason that it was not made for other purpose. You are going to need to write your own new agreement wich it would be really something if you do so.

 

I suggest you read the GNU licence agreement at glance or see a documental movie called REVOLUTION OS that describes exacly what Richard Stallman did and where did Linus Torvalds fitted in there because you are mentioning Linux but you should understand GNU project before you understand Linux. The movie is a little to more anti Microsoft but the document is really good stuff I really recommend it.

 

Good luck.

Regards.

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Guest Jambon

I've seen Revolution OS, so I do understand the background of Linux. I'm not saying that open source design should use the GPL, but it should use something similar. There are already Creative Commons share-alike licenses for art, so making one for design shouldn't be too much of an issue. Besides, you can always claim prior art because the designs are already out there.

 

Another thing which I think this site would be good for is education. By having all the steps (well eventually) of the process open, aspiring designers can see the process of designing and making things. It would also fuel creativity by putting ideas out there that may fit with something someone else has, allowing people's designs to evolve in ways they would otherwise not.

 

However, I think everyone is still focusing far too much on the whole money thing. It's as if unless there is some way to make money off of it there's no point in pursuing it. I think this would be a great idea to do even if it never goes commercial. This site could be a proof-of-concept for open source design. And besides, all I'm asking for are suggestions. I'm not asking for code or complete web designs, just suggestions on what would make things better.

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Guest jburns

I wouldn't mind participating in this when you get it up and running. I'm not worried about the money issues for now. I'd like to do this for fun and to learn something new. I can see using a system like this for my overseas staff to work on projects with my local staff. It would need to be simple to use and interactive enough to keep designers interested.

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Guest JoeyJoiner

Ahhh collaborative design. If you put enough ideas into a pot, you still get MUD! Come on give yourself some credit as a student of design, you are the guy for the job! Not some guy from accounting who says he has a great idea. From my nearly twenty years in the biz, I have rarely, no make that never come across a project where having more people invloved in a project rather than less gives you a better outcome. All the good ideas simply get diluted even more! If you are doing your job as a designer you already know who you need to speak to, 'nough said. And as far as being paid, well that is always going to be a VERY big issue with this kind of collaboration, hence why few people have registered their interest. Everyone wants something for nothing, and as designers we are very easy targets.

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Guest Jambon

Joey, I don't think you understand how it would work. No one has to agree on anything. That's the beauty of the whole thing. People here post stuff, and remark on other people ideas. Now I'm sure all of you have seen a sketch or idea that you thought could be even better with just this little change. If you had the files they used, you could make those little changes, or use them as a basis for making a changed revision. Either way, your idea would have no total effect on what the other person was thinking with their idea, and they could maybe use some of your ideas in an updated rendering. That way there isn't this sort of drive to consolidate on features and designs. Designs could just evolve out of a pool of ideas. People could vote on designs so it would be easy to see which designs people liked the most. The end design would just emerge rather than be consolidated upon. If some design is good enough that some company wants to use it, then money would get introduced. But before that happens, the community has to have a lot of support for it. That way it can be taken seriously. Like jburns said, in the future it could be used by design companies as a tool for designing things over a distance if private designs are allowed. The thing is letting people design without fearing to rip off really similar ideas, because that's the whole point.

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Guest Kiwi_Roly

Ok just seen this thread. All disscussion (though pertinant) of money and design by committe aside, I am VERY interested in investigating the concept of Opensource Products. My angle is more toward personal manufacture/direct digital manufacture of GNU style licensed products.

My own interest stems from a futurelabs presentation in which they mentioned the rise of direct digital manufacturing and manufacture on demand. Having already become a Linux and opensource apps convert I began looking into it. The biggest difference I see is that software code can be broken down, worked on seperatlely and compiled - how do you do that with a tangible product?

Joeys comments about the collaborative design problems/getting paid are very relevent, but I see them as being the challanges to overcome. I have links to various relevent sites which I'll post later.

In the mean time Opensource Beer!

http://www.voresoel.dk/main.php?id=70

 

Also a good site:

http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/publ...icles/handbooks

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Guest Jambon

You know, I think I just may have found an answer to that funding problem.

 

My possible solution requires a very special kind of trust fund/bank account (I don't really know what it qualifies as or if it already exists). Basically, people can donate in two kinds of ways: self refund or majority refund. Self refund would mean if you wanted your money you could just get it back. Majority refund would mean that a financial majority would have to decide to scrap the project in order for you to get your refund. The advantage of this second kind would be that it would be less prone to change than self refund, so the projects workers could know at least how much they would receive if they were to start work on it. The total funding of the project would be available for all contributors to see(even if spread across several accounts). The self fund might even another private account for each self fund donator that is counted as part of the total. The percentage of the money that is majority refund and self refund would be visible as well. Call it grass-roots VC funding. When a project is completed, the design is copyrighted for a certain period of time (14-17 years, no longer. Less if final design is constantly changing. Think of id's opensourcing of their graphics engines after they have completed their new one), during which is would collect a very reasonable percentage of the profits from whatever manufacturers or producers made using the design. The design of whatever is being made (this model can be applied to just about anything) would remain the property of both the design community and the financial fund community for that period of copyright. After that it would become public domain.

 

This way, rather than making some design and hoping for it to be bought, a community can raise enough money to fund the development of the project before it is started. If the project goes ahead, the money earned from the design (from the renderings all the way down to the manufacturing process) would be spit between the financial and design community based on some pre-determined agreement. Money given to the design side would be split via community voting. Certain tasks would require salaried positions, and that would be taken out of the budget evenly across everyone. At a certain point before this step promises to at least fund the salaried positions would have to be made, so no one quits their job for a position that vanishes.

 

Sounds like a service that banks could provide, or maybe even make a new kind of bank set up for this specific purpose (possibly even an international gold-backed one. I don't trust any one economy to stay totally stable. But that's just me).

 

In the end, it seems like a good system, because if nothing materializes, you're not out any money. And since contributions can be whatever you want, your only setting aside whatever you can be ok not having immediate access to. Again, I don't know if this sort of thing exists already, or if this is totally unfeasible for reasons I am not aware of. I'm just putting it out there for you guys to poke at.

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