Not everyone is a maker and not everyone needs to be one.
The next challenge to Open-Source is accessibility, just because Open-Source Hardware is not as easy sharable as open-source software.
So access to open-source hardware is a thing that just started and as we notice often comes via crowd funding campaigns or simply as some files and instructions to do it yourself.
But both ways have their downsides, like the organization and managing of a whole campaign and production run which makes it hard for many people and projects to get realized. The DIY Instructions, files and Kits available in different places are very nice, but for the maker only. Not everyone has access to tools needed the skills of programming and building with different tools and materials. A musician or artist for example may is not able to build an open-source DIY project themselves while many makers would be happy to make a living building custom and boutique quality open-source products for those, there’s simply no way in bringing those people together.
This means that most people haven’t really access to open-source projects and also that many makers could make a living if there was a possibility that people learn that open-source product made the DIY way today are really high quality products and also often better then mass production products. Because there are no investments in marketing and managing like in a classic company the product get less expensive or you will get higher quality components because your money is directly used to build your product. Of course you will need to pay a fair price for manufacturing, but at the end you will save money, get a better product and support individual people believing that the quality of a product is more important than the money they could generate with it.
If those manufacturers respect the hard work of developing and will pay a share of their income back to the developing communities, we also could achieve a money flow-back to the open-source developers enabling them to make a living just from open-source development. A natural business eco-system but based on open-source and free sharing and supporting.
It is a responsibility everyone should be aware of to build and support the open-source world and make open-source and its great developments and products available to everyone not only the maker and DIY’er.
We started with this as our main philosophy when we started 2013 and also when we founded the FabFarm in 2014.
While building up the FabFarm Maker-Space and our small urban farming garden in Düsseldorf Germany, we also worked massively on certain projects.
Things are getting shaped right now and soon we will share more about our projects and next steps.
One is a network to connect open-source projects, developer and manufacturer worldwide and we hope you like the idea and we could get your support in supporting the open-source world.