Can Open Source Hardware Companies Survive Clones?
Aug 27, 2012, 09:00 (1 Talkback[s])
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In theory, this Kickstarter project aiming to sell a sub-$2,000 MakerBot clone shouldn’t be that much of a big deal. The MakerBot Replicator, one of the first (and best) home 3D printers in the world, is an open source product, and as such, anyone with a little wood, some soldering experience, and a dream should be able to build one – or a hundred and one. But in practice the Kickstarted project, called the TangiBot, is nearly an exact replica of the MakerBot.
What happens when an open source project begets its competitors and, more important, what does it mean for the open source hardware ethos in general if people flock to copies at the expense of the original?