One of the core tenets of free and open source software licenses is that you’re being provided source code for a project with the hope that you’ll “pay it forward” if and when you utilize that code. In fact some licenses, such as the GNU Public License (GPL), require that you keep the source code for subsequent spin-offs or forks open. These are known as viral licenses, and the hope is that they will help spread the use of open source as derivative works can’t turn around and refuse to release their source code.
Unfortunately, not everyone plays by the rules. In a recent post on their blog, Printed Solid has announced they are ending their relationship with Chinese manufacturer Creality, best known for their popular CR-10 printer. Creality produces a number of printers which make use of Marlin, a GPLv3 licensed firmware that runs (in some form or another) a large majority of desktop 3D printers. But as explained in the blog post, Printed Solid has grown tired with the manufacturer’s back and forth promises to comply with the viral aspects of the GPL license.
Rather than helping to support a company they believe is violating the trust of the open source community, they have decided to mark down their existing stock of Creality printers to the point they will be selling them at a loss until they run out. In addition, for each Creality printer that is sold Printed Solid has promised to make a $50 USD donation to the development of Marlin saying: “if Creality won’t support Marlin development then we will.”
As is often the case when tempers are high and agreements break down, Printed Solid has also pulled back the curtain a bit as to the relationship they have had thus far with the manufacturer. According to the blog post, Printed Solid claims that some models of Creality printers have had a 100% fault rate, and that the company needed to repair and tweak the machines before sending them out to customers. The not so subtle implication being that Creality printers have been benefiting from the work Printed Solid has been doing on their hardware, and that purchasing a unit direct from the manufacturer could be a dicey proposition.
We’ve previously covered an issue with Creality’s CR-10S printer that required the end-user to replace an SMD capacitor just to get reliable results out of the machine, and of course we’ve talked of the extra work that’s often required when wrangling a low-end Chinese printer. It’s even more disheartening when you realize cheap machines sold by shady manufacturers are pushing open source manufacturers out of business.
92 thoughts on “GPL Violations Cost Creality A US Distributor”
I’ve had things printed by them and have bought supplies from their shop. They are 100% customer support and doing the right thing. Happy to be one of their supporters
Thanks for the write up. We are a drop in the bucket compared to Amazon, gearbest, banggood sales but we just couldn’t keep adding value to a company that was taking value away from the community. I did keep some machines for myself and my plan is to reverse what they are doing and post my own source code. For some reason every single one of these Chinese machines don’t enable thermal protection. Which is a big problem for the community.
You figure they would at least put some kind of thermal breaker/fuse in there like in every otherthing with resistance heating elements in it so their half assed products don’t cause fires.
Or they just uncomment the line in the marlin source that says “thermal protection” so if the temp falls outside of the expected range it halts power to the bed or heater.
Why do they comment it out? I’ve always wondered why they disable such an important and free feature for no apparent benefit.
Could be that their machines are cheap and rubbish enough that they trip the protection feature enough to be a nuciance, so it’s cheaper and easier to just disable the protection than fix the problem….
Like putting a bolt in a fuse holder rather than fix the fault….
In newer releases its uncommented by default. for awhile there it was problimatic for slow heating printers.
I have a TronXY X5S and when I was goofing with the hotend and didn’t get the thermistor in there securely the printer stopped on the very next job complaining of some thermal issue.
I’m happy to see you taking such a principled stance on this – and because it’s actually costing you something, I appreciate it all the more. BTW, I just checked your site, and from what I’m seeing, all three models are already sold out. Any plans for maybe making and selling your own line of lower-end printers?
yep, im working on it but its still a ways off. right now my two biggest missions is get GPL compliance from companies and at the least getting them to enable thermal protection.
So, did the US distributor knowingly sell Chinese printers that were (at least initially) faulty? (this is what the article seems to suggest).
Not knowing, as soon as we identified the problem we made our own firmware before selling anymore and released the firmware (of course) we then started working to get them to be compliant or at the very least enable protection. Thankfully we caught it early on and let all our customer know.
Well, I can’t feign too much surprise that a hardware company that’s incompetent at making hardware is even less competent when it comes to software.
“It’s even more disheartening when you realize cheap machines sold by shady manufacturers are pushing open source manufacturers out of business”
This is a blanket statement that is misleading in an article focused on Creality. I have bought and used many CR-10, CR-10 Mini and now Ender 3 without issue. All three have their Marlin code released. The Ender 3 is the first fully OSHW certified 3D printer out of China.
To imply they offer cheap machines as a shady manufacturer is a reach. Did the CR-10s have a Capacitor issue? Its been proven to be true. Not all low-cost printers are great but Creality has grown quickly because many of their printers are a great value for the price so they seem to repeatedly become the target. (Frankly, I think the closed source XYZ printing machines that don’t offer replacement parts have done far more damage to the community). There is a big community of Creality printer users who would disagree with your assessment.
I’ve seen issues with printers from many of the implied “non-shady” Open Source manufacturers. No printer design is perfect. I use several CR-10 Mini’s in a print farm running 24/7 for over 1 year now so I know these printers well. They are a great printer and a great lower cost machine to get more people involved with the 3D printing community. I see nothing shady in those machines.
Does Creality have machines they have not released the source for, yes. Do I think they should, yes! They also offer some GPL compliant machines that work really well (CR-10, CR-10 Mini and Ender 3), CR-10s Marlin code is also open sourced but I don’t recommend the machine for several reasons.
Printed Solid can do what they want, it’s their business but with the reach and respect Hackaday has I suggest you dig a little deeper into the facts before offering this type of content that could be damaging to Creality and the 3D printing Community in general.
For the record, I am not an employee of Creality but I am a fan of the CR-10, CR-10 Mini and the Ender 3 along with several other open source printers Prusa MK2 and SeeMeCNC Artemis. They all have been great printers for me.
PROTIP: If you have to qualify your post with “I’m not a shill”, changes are, you are definitely a shill.
There should be ZERO tolerance for companies who don’t respect FOSS licenses, especially overseas ones. As the original blog post says, those printers have their firmware source released NOW after badgering Creality and halting sales of their printers in the past. How many times can they pull the same trick before we pull the plug?
If they drag their feet every time a new machine comes out, the hell with them. They were warned. We need to speak with our wallets, it’s the only thing they listen to.
I have to say, isn’t it great?
With a heap of encouragement and patient explanation… Creality has invested in OSHWA certification of the Ender 3, released firmware for the CR-10s, created pull req’s in the firmware repo, and has contributed (financially) to support the Marlin team. Keep in mind that Creality is a Chinese company; cultural issues are very real and will require some finesse / diplomacy to resolve. In other words, Western concepts like the GPL and OSHWA certification may take time and patience to explain.
With regard to your ‘shill’ comment … Chuck is an amazing contributor in the 3D printing community.
“Chuck is an amazing contributor in the 3D printing community.”
Being a shill for a company in the community and being a great contributer are not mutually exclusive. All of his contributions do not change the fact that he makes a commission from the sales of said printers through his youTube affiliate links. This is also something he fails to disclose upfront while still including a link to his youtube page where his affiliate links are. So yeah he is a shill as his entire post reads like an advertisement with out disclosing that he stands to make money off of anyone who purchases a printer through the links he provides. He has a fincial stake in the image of the company as the better the image of the company, the more profit he stands to potentially make through his you tube videos.
Aside from that all he is doing is bemoaning the fact that the printer company that he has a financial stake in their sales is being bad mouthed in an article with out even proceeding to provide a logical argument to Printed solids statement:
“For the last year we have been working with Creality and selling their machines. We have been fighting with them to make sure they comply with Open Source licensing requirements and for awhile they were complying, even releasing their source code for the CR-10S and Ender3. When they were not in compliance we stopped selling their printers and waited till they would honor licensing. Once they did, we agreed to start selling them again.
That brings us to today.
Once again they have pulled backed and refuse to release source on the printers they are knowingly in violation of GPL including the new CR-X which we got in stock under the assumption they would be complying.”
So in the end there is nothing actually wrong with this item posted at HAD as Creality is currently in violation of the GPL of software that it includes in its product as well as a history of non compliance until someone stops selling their products. If i ran a business, i would be pissed if i had to chase down my vendors and ensure their compliance every time they released a new product, even more to the point that if it happened multiple times then i would stop carrying them. Creality should have learnt the first time that these issues were brought up, instead they are trying to get away with the minimum effort possible and it is companies like that which increase costs for everyone else which no one should deal with no matter how cheap the price on their product is.
Nope, You don’t see CRx or CR-20 on my channel because they aren’t GPL compliant even though other channels have. I only recommend the Creality GPL compliant printers. I do link to the GPL compliant units on a 3rd party site and Creality has no direct financial stake in sponsorship, Patreon, affiliate link on my channel. I work with a 3rd party because I support the channel mostly through sales of Electronics Components through my links, very few printer sales. I just don’t want to see the baby thrown out with the bathwater. Should Creality release all source? yes. But to ignore the fact you can buy GPL compliant printers that from my experience and many other users offer a great experience from them is lost in this article. So I spoke up.
Attack me all you want, I still stand by my statement.
You can also buy these printers from MatterHackers.com, tiny-machines-3d.com and a few others so no need to buy through my links. I frankly don’t care. I just want to see more people get involved in this great hobby and having affordable GPL compliant machines is a great way to make that happen.
It’s crazy when anyone can see here exactly how you did something wrong ( promoting the CR stuff without mentionning you also sell/profit from it ), and even with your nose deep into it, you still act as if you had done nothing wrong. What a crazy world we live in.
Chuck, you see my post as an attack because you just do not understand what i am saying and this makes it incredibly clear:
“I do link to the GPL compliant units on a 3rd party site and Creality has no direct financial stake in sponsorship, Patreon, affiliate link on my channel”
Creality may have no financial stake in you and anything you post but YOU have a financial stake in their reputation. That means that anything you write is biased, this is because if Creality gets a bad reputation you stand to possibly lose sales that you otherwise would have gotten through your affiliate links. You can say that you dont care all you want but if you really dont care then why put affiliate links in the first place? Look I dont even care that you try to make money by recommending products to potential shoppers through your youtube videos but you have to admit that in doing so you have a financial stake in their reputation and thus your opinion is biased, Regardless of whether you think you care or not. The biggest problem that anyone here has had with you is that you failed to disclose that from the get go, had you done that then the conversation would have been different and you wouldnt feel like people are attacking you, but here is the thing no one is actually attacking you, we are just calling you out for doing something that has been an internet faux-pas since the begining.
then we get to this nugget:
“But to ignore the fact you can buy GPL compliant printers that from my experience and many other users offer a great experience from them is lost in this article.”
It is not an article about whether or not you can buy GPL compliant printers, it is an article about how one supplier is no longer carrying a product because of repeated violations. What your worried about is the same as people still having faith that facebook isnt all that bad regardless of the repeated privacy violations that they just cant learn from.
I agree with everything you’ve said here except ‘especially overseas ones’ as that implies a certain tolerance for FOSS license disrespect in your local companies which are also the companies it would be easiest to change. Remember that every company in the world is ‘overseas’ to someone.
“There should be ZERO tolerance”
That’s pretty much what’s wrong with everything today. We’re all human, we make mistakes.
I’m not defending Creality at all, I just think absolutes and zero tolerance policies are the tool of the lazy or incompetent who feel the need to demonstrate their commitment or value to something without actually trying to help.
So this comment has nothing to do with the fact you’ve received FREE Creality printers for your YouTube channel? Or that you get a percentage of each sale as a referral? Why even include your YouTube link as your username if not to try and advertise your channel here?
They are selling defective printers that the distributor must repair before shipping, and consistently drag their feet on releasing the source after being warned multiple times. If you don’t think that’s being a shady manufacturer, what is?
I’ve bought most of my Creality Printers. I believe in the open source products they sell. I get no referral $ from Creality.
I just checked your 10 most recent videos, and all of them feature affiliate links to buy Creality products. Even if you don’t get compensation from Creality directly, you’re still very deeply invested in promoting their products for financial gain. If you were to say anything bad about Creality it would affect your affiliate sales (and thus, you defend their *current* GPL violations with *past* compliance).
Just checked and that’s definitely true, he’s totally lying by omission here. Yes, he doesn’t get $ “from Creality”, he gets $ for their products from other distributors. Such a trash person. This is so common on youtube, sad.
“I’ve bought most of my Creality Printers.”
So… you haven’t bought them all? Meaning you *have* received printers from them for free? Which means you therefore have a close relationship with them (close enough for them to compensate you – note, free printers are compensation)? And you didn’t disclose that in your original post?
Wikipedia: “A shill, also called a plant or a stooge, is a person who publicly helps or gives credibility to a person or organization without disclosing that they have a close relationship with the person or organization.”
I’m not saying you had bad intentions, but c’mon, you have to disclose stuff. If you received printers free from them, it’s ridiculous to believe you wouldn’t have even a slightly biased opinion of them, and it’s also ridiculous to believe that your assessment of the machines is fair – it’s not like Creality is going to send you a broken printer.
Again, read the company’s statement: 20% of the CR-S printers were faulty, and 100% of the CR-Xs were. You *have* to acknowledge that your experience with the machines is at least slightly biased.
Also, “I see nothing shady in those machines”? If they’ve got GPL code in them and they’re not complying with the GPL, that’s *by definition* shady. If the machine was a total knockoff of another company’s printer, that would be shady, right? That’s what using GPL code without complying with the GPL *is*. There’s no getting around it – using someone else’s code without complying with the license *is* making a knockoff.
I liked the CR-10 Mini machine so much I bought several (6) more myself. I was fortunate to get one to test. I liked it and bought more. I think its a great printer for the beginner. And it’s fully GPL compliant.
Yes, let’s completely ignore the fact that you lied about profiting from CR-10 sales, because you like the machine you are misrepresenting your relationship with.
“These are known as viral licenses, and the hope is that they will help spread the use of open source as derivative works can’t turn around and refuse to release their source code.”
“Linux is a cancer!” Oh, different virus. :-p
Yes, that’s right. It’s a self-replication design. Don’t like it? Then don’t use it, do the work yourself! Then you’ll own it.
Obviously not a history student, or a fan of humor.
Still waiting for people to do this with the Smoothie clones ( which do the perfect trifecta of not respecting the license on the hardware, the firmware, and the documentation. And that’s on top of providing a very sucky product and terrible customer support. )
Still waiting for people to do this with Android devices. I’m on my second Android tablet and both manufacturers refused to release the Linux kernel source code to me. The first one told me it is “protected code” and the second one told me they didn’t have any GPL source code for the device.
Who were they?
… ah, they deserve to be publicly shamed: Hisense (Sero 8 Pro) and Archos (Oxygen 70).
Yes, that company that has been selling Linux based media players for ages doesn’t know how to handle the GPL.
This is terrible. Chinese manufacturers come in with this cheap half-assed machines, drive the real innovators out of business, and then will surely start bringing prices back up when they’ve eliminated the competition.
They’ll never eliminate the competition, because they also compete between themselves. However, it does kill innovation when there’s no profit margin or real gain to being innovative in business.
For all the people banging on about about “chinese manufacturers” doing this and that, don’t you realise that nobody is forcing anybody to buy anything at all from China, ever. If you don’t like things made in China, the solution is simple: just buy top quality stuff made in America, or Switzerland etc. It will only cost about 20 times as much.
or keeps it going. No one forces you to use GPL code
So go buy a closed source/closed hardware machine and quit your whining.
How is that so? The licensing seems pretty fair. If you use the hard work of the person making the software, you have to agree to their terms. Which in this case is that you too have to follow the GPL agreement. If you don’t want to, then don’t use someone else’s hard work. Without GPL, GRBL or Marlin will not be where it is today due to the mission of open source software and hard work all these people that believe in it. Without Marlin, GRBL, or RAMPS, the 3D printing community will be no where near where it is today.
Seriously, how does relying on hobbyists and donated (or mildly compensated) expert time cause a lower quality product? We’ve got basically 3 different cell phone manufacturers and 2 OS distributors, is that not just as damaging?
Make a better case.
No. Trolls like you may be.
Why not just keep selling them, but flash them with current marlin fw with saftey features enabled, and publish the source yourself.
There are companies that do that and that works for them so i cant really be negative about it. For us though, they get the money based on the product we buy and we are buying hardware with pirated software and enabling them. even if we install our version (which is public) then they still get rewarded for piracy.
I hate to say it, but that tends to be the historical Chinese mentality in business. When you look at the culture there, expect to be dealing with someone who is going to try to cheat you. Western Honor is very different from Chinese Honor.
I’m always wary of nonsense like this. I highly doubt there’s any particular such thing as “Eastern honor” or “Western honor.” There’s honest and dishonest people everywhere. We have so much cheap Chinese manufactured crap because we ourselves offshored our labor there en masse to save money, and as such we don’t pay them jack shit. This is what happens when you do that, I don’t care what country or color the other people are.
Can I recommend the book “poorly made in China” ? It’s the experiences of a combined translator and local manufacturing expert trying to get soap products made in China for some large company. I think it’s even been recommended on hackaday.
There’s a level of dishonesty there that is astounding, however I suspect we’d have a similar situation in the west if companies could get away with it without being sued.
I’ve experiences of “Western Honor” myself where US small businesses will do almost anything to try and kill (or mess over for profit) a rival company. My sister is/was running a fairly successful sports embroidery company and after building up her business for almost a year she obviously started to encroach on another firms profits – the owner of the other firm (and a couple of his family) put in multiple orders for merchandise and then claimed they had not received them. Even though she resent a new order getting proof of posting and delivery they claimed the second lot did not arrive. They refused the offered refund and through the PayPal dispute service caused around 3 months of disruption for new orders while her businesses account was locked pending the investigation.
I was also working at a start-up company which was working in partnership with a major PC OS company on a product. Half the IP (hardware and drivers etc) was owned by us and half the OS company (a new version of their OS). They’d invested heavily in the start-up including putting one of their guys on the board and giving a the start-up a loan. Just as the product was near completion they called in their loan to the start-up (knowing, because of the guy on the board, the financial situation of the company) and having put a clause in the partnership contract that if the start-up went under all the IP would revert to them. The MD of the startup managed to get the money, pay off the OS company and ended the partnership – but 1 month later the OS company announced it’s new flagship product manufactured by a Taiwanese company who’s hardware/software was, barring plastic casing changes, a direct copy of the start-ups design.
Unfortunately, when profit comes in to it, ethics leave the building in most cases.
I’m glad that there are still some companies that stand up for the right thing.
The first 10 (of anything) you order to be made in China is pretty decent, the next 100 is acceptable, the next 1000 has a high rate of failures, and if you buy 10 000, good knows what you get..
I have seen PCB where there is mounted less and less components, depending on how late in the process they are made, “filtering and security components, who needs that once the tingy is tested and approved”
Look up all the youtubers who open chinese crap, if they can shave a penny on something, they do, even if it is a safety device or a filter capacitor, or a poorly insulation of a mains device.
This is such BS. If you get PCBs produced in china, you also set up testing at the factory, if something doesn’t pass testing, the factory fixes it. So you only get working boards … if you get a non-working board you get a free extra board on the next batch. What kind of dumbass would produce 10000s of anything without quality control ??
Written as the experience of someone who has not invested in QC. If you’re not getting your products inspected, expect crap.
I’ve ordered bulk product from Chinese manufacturers, albeit not electronics. And yes, there were issues, some of which could be attributed to experience (I had none), language, and practices. And all of them were resolved with a bit of good faith, a bit of money on both our parts, and a small fee to an inspection company.
UL did our inspections, to our specifications, and to accepted industry standards. (Which actually turned out to be significantly more stringent than what our original acceptable failure rate would have allowed.,) Was worth every penny, and it wasn’t even that many pennies.
That’s exactly the point being made about Creality however.
Each and every printer they have sold in the past was done so with pirated software for a time, until badgered for months until they stopped pirating and paid the price for the firmware they used illegally.
While it’s true they aren’t right now pirating the firmware for their CR-X, that’s only guaranteed true because they aren’t selling the CR-X.
But seeing as 100% of their previous CR series printers were shipping with pirated software for a time, and at least according to the blog post the Ender printer too, it isn’t at all unreasonable to presume the CR-X will ship with pirated software yet again.
Once can surely be an honest mistake. Twice, much less honest but possible. The third time, yea that isn’t a mistake that’s incompetence at best and intentionally criminal at worst. The seventh time? After seven there is exactly no reason to give them any additional chances or the benefit of the doubt.
I’d go so far as to say the very fact there is no firmware source up on either the CR-X product page or on their download page well in advance, combined with their past behavior, as more than coincidental evidence they are highly likely to ship the thing with pirated software yet again.
I thought they released it.
the product in question is the CRX not the CR-10 and i would really be curious if their compliance issues are sorted out by someone else posting the companies code instead of the company posting it themselves. Right there on the git page it says that the owner will not be modifying it and it reads as if they are not even affiliated with Creality. I mean how can we verify that the chain of control from the manufacturer is there and that this code is not modified in any way from the code that the manufacturer may have installed originally.
No, the opposite really. Microsoft-esque licensing does what you described.
I agree with the general sentiment, but Creality had started opening their source and releasing their code, and did it with a couple of their machines-if I understand right, it’s that they weren’t doing it fast enough. Marlin is within rights to demand GPL compliance, but if I’m understanding what Naomi, who was one of the leaders behind them starting to open their source in the first place, Creality didn’t really understand GPL compliance at first, before she started talking to them (and apparently Marlin hasn’t been talking to her?).
There’s a ton of Chinese distributors that also don’t release their source that use Marlin, and I don’t really get why people are going after Creality in particular. I want them to release their code, obviously, but I think if the folks requesting compliance talked to Naomi she’d be able to communicate with the company and leave everybody on better terms.
“Yes your honor, I agreed to pay for their product in full within 90 days, and that was nine months ago, but comon what’s the big deal? They are only complaining that I’m not paying them fast enough…”
Yes I know we are talking about another country here, but even so the above excuse actually working still seems a bit far fetched. Is that really allowed in Chinese courts?
With the right bribes, nearly anything is allowed in Chinese courts.
Meanwhile, there’s the luddites like me who consider nothing in those price ranges as cheap. Organically grown, artistically crafted until it finally worked Chinese printers. (or just buy monoprice knockoff brand)
You’re right, you are cheap.
£100 to £1000 to buy a cube that can create anything you can imagine or just download plans for, overnight? Parts that would take you years to make via other means, but you can just press a button and come back the next day?
Yes, you’re standing on the shoulders of giants. Yes, they are cheap.
I get where you’re going with this, but be careful when you’re trying to set expectations. A 3D printer cannot currently print “anything you can imagine”. They can probably print any 3D shape you can imagine, but that’s a quite different outcome.
“just press a button and come back the next day”
You are going to burn your house down. I hope nobody gets hurt!
Well then write your own from scratch and then release with a BSD license.
Public Domain is freer than that. Far as “hardware innovation” patents would have a greater influence than anything having to do with copyright(left).
Is the thing that is free to be not free more free than the thing that is not free to be not free? I think not, at least that is what I think.
My code, my license.
Or are you whining because people are allowed to avoid using proprietary software ?
What nonsense. Marlin is not the only firmware for 3D printers, but it has certainly propelled innovation, enabling vast numbers of manufacturers and hobbyists to develop new models and features. Integrators can choose to use Marlin (and agree to its license terms which mean contributing changes), or choose something non-GPLed with different terms, or develop from scratch – whichever provides the greatest value proposition for them.
On the contrary, in many areas the GPL is the fuel that keeps the fire of innovation burning. Otherwise GPLed products would simply be outcompeted rather than grow and flourish in those areas, as they have.
I have to ask – are you serious, or are you trolling? If you’re serious, then I’ll ask you to consider the Linux kernel – it’s GPL, and without it much of the Internet as we know it wouldn’t exist, not to mention the Raspberry Pi and its like. And if you’re trolling, kindly stop – we all have more important things to spend our time and energy on.
What’s up with the flimsy build of these things? Ok, so they are supposed to be cheap, I get it. How much would it really cost to add a couple braces coming down from the top of the gantry to the back of the frame. It wouldn’t even need to be extrusion, just a strip of steel with a bend and a screw hole on each end for mounting would do. If they can punch a crease in the middle to strengthen it against bending they wouldn’t even need to use good, stiff steel, that crap used to make cheap metal shelving would probably do.
Seriously, even with just lunch money and access to a hardware store in a backwards place like the US and I could make one of these much better. They can’t do that with access to the markets of Shenzhen?!?
Does anybody know just what their modifications to Marlin even do? I don’t see anything special in their hardware. (except floppiness) I would expect stock Marlin to run them just fine! Is it just the configuration? If so then does it really matter? These things look like they would be dirt simple to configure Marlin for by someone who is already familiar with configuring Marlin for a typical RepRap.
Are they adding some awesome new features? If so then what?
I know one of the big ones was the ability to recover after a power loss, similar to what the Prusa MK3 can do. To be fair the code for this did eventually get released after some pushing from the community, and it did get implemented into upstream Marlin. Though I’ve heard it’s a pretty hacky way of going about it.
But even if they were just changing settings and not adding new features, as the owner of the machine you have the right to see that under the GPL. For example, once they did release source on the older printers it turned out they were disabling safety features. Certainly something I’d like to know as a customer.
“I know one of the big ones was the ability to recover after a power loss”
Cool, thanks! That’s mainly what I was interested in, knowing what goodies we might get for our RepRaps if Creality released all their mods.
“you have the right to see that under the GPL”
Of Course! If Creality wants to own it themselves they should write their own code!
“they were disabling safety features. Certainly something I’d like to know as a customer”
Sure! Even if they posted all the source code and their config files I wouldn’t trust it. I’m not saying I would expect them to lie necessarily but I wouldn’t want to bet that no last-minute or post-production changes were made causing the firmware in the device to be slightly different than claimed. I could especially imagine the config files being altered.
To really know what is going on in the “mind” of the beast I would want to compile and upload the firmware myself!
If I produce some kind of canned food, it is my responsability to know what is accepted or not ( like pig meat in some countries, for example ) to sell in another country.
If they from another country want to sell something here, it is *their* responsability to know and abide to the uses and traditions and whatever of here, not for us to give them a pass just “because there they are different”.
Also, to some questions up in the comments : the point is not about the amount of modifications or whatever, or even is there are other brands that do the same thing. Creatlity did it wrong, they face the consequences. We can only hope that other builders face consequences too, but each one that is in that situation makes things a little better.
And it is not the amount of features or things modified. The rules are simple, if you want to use it, you have to post the modifications you did. Simple. Clear. If one doesn´t want or doesn´t like that idea, just build one´s own sofware for the thing. As said before, many people just want to buy a cheap thing,and try to print things . They will not know , understand or care if it runs Marlin or some other thing. And they will complain the seme, be it official Marlin, pirated Marlin, or some version of closed-source chinese Tuna software.
This is one reason I’m glad I bought a Lulzbot Mini (Made in USA – Loveland, Colorado according to their site). Nearly everything I ever bought bearing the “Made in China” label has self destructed in some way, or was such a piece of garbage that it was unusable from the start.
Lulzbot is easily my favorite open source printer company (sorry to the other vendors) they take it to an extreme. Even their future development is already posted. Also all of their design software and business software must be open source in house. They truly live in the open source world start to finish.
So if I understand you correctly… people who have invested their own time and effort to develop and refine the software that turns a bucket of bolts into a functioning product, and released that software totally free of charge with the only stipulation being that any improvements have to be re-released free of charge… are the ones killing the innovations of the bucket-of-bolts sellers who, by and large, are simply copying existing hardware designs with precious few improvements and essentially mooching off the work of the software developers by refusing to release any improvements back to the community for further development and/or enhancement. Ok…
And suggesting open source licenses on software are killing other software developments makes even less sense. If someone has developed a truly innovative new software function/design/approach, how, exactly, does the license under which someone else release their work have any bearing? The only way it does is if the “innovator” started with the GPL software as a base, which begs the question why would that person feel the right to use other people’s work while not allowing others to use theirs?
Sounds far more like the sense of entitlement to profit from other’s work is what’s behind any stifling of innovation.
“for each Creality printer that is sold Printed Solid has promised to make a $50 USD donation to the development of Marlin saying: “if Creality won’t support Marlin development then we will.””
I’m glad to see a company standing up for the GPL, but IMO this remedy is a non-starter for two reasons.
The first problem is that I doubt Marlin development can use cash. Maybe it’s changed a lot in the last years but when I followed Marlin development a couple years ago it was a really messy developer culture. There were a couple core layers of proof of concept code with no overarching vision, surrounded by hack upon hack thrown on by people who were only interested in one feature for one printer. The few developers who were willing to work on core issues struck me as exceptionally blind, naive, even stupid. This seems like a normal result for this kind of software, and I learned not to resent it. But my point is, I doubt money will improve this scenario. It would take a lot more than a couple hundred bucks to convince a seasoned software developer to work on core issues, and then she would just step on the toes of everyone who has been making one-off hacks and get discouraged and quit anyways. Marlin is “worse is better” personified, and isn’t centralized enough to use money. Best case, the money sits in an account waiting for someone to come along and filch it for their personal ends.
The other issue is that the damage done by failing to release the CR fork of Marlin isn’t done to Marlin, it’s done to CR users. The remedy can’t be to “improve Marlin in general”, the remedy has to be to release an open firmware for CR users. The only people who want the crappy CR fork of Marlin are people who own CR hardware. Marlin already has more customized forks than the core developers know what to do with. I assure you they don’t want CR’s contributions!
These are printers that they already have in stock that they probably can’t return, so donating to Marlin is better (or at least not worse) than doing nothing. Yes, releasing the code is the best thing to do, but that’s not something that Printed Solid can do, since they don’t have it.
It’s obviously a nightmare to manage.
Most of the 3D printer hackers in the world are terrible software engineers (and terrible electronic engineers and terrible mechanical engineers.)
The only way to have a chance of making it good would be for a commercial manufacturer of 3D printers to be invested in spending the person-hours fixing it, and this would obviously be motivated towards the particular machine hardware they build/sell/support.
“if Creality won’t support Marlin development then we will.”
This has nothing to do with GPL compliance at all…
Creality can go 100% GPL compliant but still undercut every other OSS manufacturer out there and not support directly OSS software teams, it’s not required or implied by GPL license.
Oh hi, Ballmer!
Free software is communism. I like it
Question: How does open source licensing work in and between different international juristictions? (does US law apply if the goods are sold in the US, and is this then the legal responsibility of the US seller or the overseas manufacturer, or both?).
You’d have to test it in court. Has that ever happened?
US law applies to foreign companies when the product hits the US border. If a product is found to not be in compliance with US law, customs is supposed to confiscate it.
For something like a GPL violation, a court would have to rule that the product couldn’t be imported and customs would be given a list of specific model numbers, or other identifying information to look for.
Troll without evidence is troll.
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