On the viability of the Open Source Development model for the design of physical objects

I have the pleasure to present you this really good piece of work: On the viability of the Open Source Development model for the design of physical objects by Erik de Bruijn (my honours to you, sir!). You can look it up here.

I came across this work making my way through Thingiverse the other day. First of all: brief-but-right-to-the-point post by Allan Ecker form Thingiverse. He and the people engaged in the conversation debated about the problem of aesthetics of 3D-printed objects (quite intense and argumentative, btw., strongly recommended post).

Back to Erik. Thanks to his work we can learn some really interesting facts about:

  • the organization of peer production/crowdsourcing based institutions;
  • the history of RepRap derived projects;
  • motivations of RepRap communities’ participants;
  • insights from 3d printer owners;
  • statistics of RepRap communities’ development;
  • a great deal of fine books and articles about open source software and hardware;
  • the answer to a well stated problem;
  • and many more ๐Ÿ™‚

Just take a sneak peak into excerpts ofย  problem statement and it should suffice you for any further kind of recommendation:

“Because the development model of open source software apparently can produce
highly successful output, it is very important to see if, and how, this model can be
applied to a wider range of provisioning problems. Weber (2004) also emphasizes
the importance of this question, stating that >>[t]he open source process has generalizable
characteristics, it is a generic production process, and it can and will spread to other kinds
of production. The question becomes, are there knowledge domains that are structured similarly
to the software problem?<<(…) The literature on user innovation communities includes many studies of
highly distributed communities producing software. It also includes studies of such
communities developing and exchanging physical resources. Yet, the latter communities
mostly lack the spatial distribution and frequent interactions that characterize
many software projects. This appears to be a result of the logistics of physical objects
and the resulting difficulties with communicating physically embodied knowledge.
Based on the existing studies, itโ€™s not evident whether this type distributed development
is viable. (…) To what extent is the open source development model also viable for
the design of physical objects?” (s. 3, 4).

Without doubt, this title goes to my Useful books section ๐Ÿ™‚

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