Shuttleworth Fellowship 2013 Submission

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See also Shuttleworth_Fellowship_Application

Application Video

2013 Shuttleworth Application - Marcin Jakubowski (re-edit) from Open Source Ecology on Vimeo.

See also Shuttleworth Fellowship 2013 Video Script.

4 Application Questions

Describe the world as it is.

(a description of the status quo and context in which you will be working)

It is my belief that an open culture of collaboration has the potential to accelerate innovation and solve pressing world issues faster than they are created. However, most enterprises behave contrary to this basic possibility. Last year, spending by Apple and Google on patents exceeded spending on research and development of new products.

Why is the potential of collaboration so strong in my mind? I was born in Poland. My grandfather was in the Polish underground derailing German trains in WWII, and my grandmother was in a concentration camp. When I was 7 years old – tanks rolled down our streets - no - it wasn't a parade. These were times of Martial Law behind the iron curtain - a clear state of material scarcity - where I had to wait in line for butter and meat. I never stopped thinking about the terrible things that happen when resources are scarce and people fight over opportunity.

These memories fuel my belief in Freedom. I believe that true freedom - the most essential type of freedom - starts with our individual ability to use natural resources to free ourselves from material constraints. Wherever material scarcity exists in the world, you find geopolitical hotspots, resource conflicts, unstable debilitating economies – you see impoverished isolated beings powerless to take care of themselves and live the healthy productive lives they desire.

I believe the big challenge to producing true freedom is bypassing the artificial roadblocks of scarcity, to give as many people as possible access to know-how and the right tools so they can convert their environment’s abundant raw resources into personal good and freedom. And I believe the answer to this planetary pickle is the open source economy - an economy based on Absolutely Efficient Production and Transparency.

What change do you want to make?

(a description of what you want to change about the status quo, in the world, your personal vision for this area)

I want to create the open source economy.

To do this, I want to open-source material production as a prerequisite. Production is power. I want to open up the ability to use, share, and understand production. This is driven by my belief that absolutely efficient production and transparency are the cornerstones of a better world - defined as a world of sound governance.

To create open source material production, we are developing the 50 Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) technologies for creating infrastructures of small scale civilizations with modern comforts. I am committed to removing material scarcity as the underlying force driving human relations, personal and political – by making access to material security a universal human condition. By developing enabling tools and packing open source information density on the smallest physical scale - I would like to demonstrate that advanced civilization can be build on the scale of any land parcel, using its local resources.

I am currently re-framing the project on threefold positioning: (1) absolutely efficient production (open source economy grounded on modular, interoperable, lifetime design of systems); (2) the most collaborative project in the world for getting there (transparency); (3) ethical approach for getting there.

The open source economy has deep economic implications for post-scarcity economics - where a repository of open design fuels distributed, flexible, digital fabrication on an equal playing field. In such a world - everyone has access to the best design. I would like to create the Ubuntu of open hardware as the means. To clarify, the scope is much greater than the 50 GVCS tools. The open hardware development platform that we are building is intended to provide a solid economic base for open-sourcing of the entire economy. This means making open source economic development an acceptable paradigm in society. I want to pursue open source economic development by means of Distributive Enterprise.

What do you want to explore?

(a description of the innovations or questions you would like to explore during the fellowship year)

To get to efficient, module-based, open production - and thereby a step closer to the Open Source Economy:

I would like to explore the limits of open source production as a viable option competitive with industry standard mass production. Specifically, I would like to cater to the value of customization and user involvement in the production process. This addresses individuals' desire for meaning and purpose that comes from being able to create one's own environment. I want to show that open sharing of powerful economic processes can indeed have a major impact on the global economy - with open source product development as the key to that transition.

Our larger goal on the 5-10 year time scale is demonstrating the proof of principle that an entire industrial economy can be created entirely from common resources found on any parcel of land - with the limit reaching even to metals and semiconductors.

I want to explore how modular design can transform the way products are made. I want to explore the limits of interoperability between modules - to set new standards of coordination within the industrial system. I want to explore how interface design standards, standard modules, and a smaller set of standard parts in general - can increase the efficiency of machines, extend their lifetime towards lifetime design, while reducing initial and operating costs significantly. This is all without sacrificing performance and beauty.

On the organizational front, I want to explore the creation of the most collaborative project in the world for open product development. We are pushing the limits of transparency and inclusion. On the process documentation front, I would like to demonstrate how well-designed and well-documented processes can be delegated to remote collaborators - such that staffing costs are reduced drastically via the appropriate social platform - catering to meaningful work and contributions that fill people with purpose. I want to explore the limits of lean and transparent organizational structure for making this happen - as a transparent organization with a culture of open - and effective - documentation.

I want to use these learnings to explore much larger implications - of how absolutely efficient production, transparency, and ethics create sound governance. This applies at the level of our budding organization, but can be extended to the larger scale of nations. By creating an Organization That Works, I want to explore how that relates to a World That Works.

What are you going to do to get there?

(a description of what you actually plan to do during the year)

  • Build Team. - See Team Sequencing Rationale. The core is dedicated machine designers - who can be either remote or on site. We have 2 machine designers already, and are recruiting 4 more. We are recruiting a Product Lead, Documentation Director, Community Manager, and Operations Manager.
  • Shift to Module Based Design. - On the design front - we are refocusing development strategically around Module-Based design – as opposed to Machine-Based design. It turns out that it takes about 13 modules to build any of the 30 mechanical GVCS machines. To this end, we are developing these 13 adaptable modules with attention to interfaces between these modules - to build a larger set of 30 tools. We are doing the same for electronics and precision machine modules. The modules determine our rollout sequencing, and we are publishing a white paper on the GVCS Module Ecology to inform the module design effort. By publishing interface design standards and critical design integration considerations - we are clarifying the specifications for future developers - reducing the on-boarding time of new designers significantly.
  • Optimize Prototype Building. We are optimizing machine builds down to a single-day of production time. We aim for a 1-day build of the brick press in December. We aim to optimize several more machines to 1-day production times - including Tractor, Microtractor, Bulldozer, Power Cube, Soil Pulverizer, and Backhoe - as proof of concept that any of our GVCS machines can be taken down to a single day of production.
  • Optimize Production. We are optimizing production to demonstrate one-day builds of heavy machinery for $5k/day net production earnings. We are considering hiring a full time production director to run these production runs as 1 day events - netting significant revenue for growth of the organization. We see the Brick Press as the furthest-developed candidate, but the Tractor is close second and it has a much larger market. If we achieve the efficient 1 day production run per machine - we will be well-positioned to fund additional growth from our off-grid production workshop.
  • Shift to Collaborative Production Runs for Prototype Builds. On the prototyping front - we are taking a major shift - away from full time prototypers - and towards 2-day intensive production runs with our on-site team. We are further inviting guest Production Run Directors from collaborating open source projects. We will shift focus on extensive preparation for one month - and a rapid build in 1-2 days - as our standard method of development. To facilitate production - we also plan to invite the intended audiences - our users - to the Collaborative Production Run of their own machine.
  • Develop Remote Collaboration. We are recruiting a Community Manager to manage remote technical contributions, including developing our remote hackathons - Flash Mobs - for coordinated, crowd-based development. Refine Remote Collaboration Standards to create clear pathways and expectations for remote collaboration.
  • Install Proper Review. We are recruiting a high level Technical Review Board for design review and fabrication optimization. This will add our capacity to distill rapidly to the best industry standards - and modify them for our purposes.
  • Address field testing needs via pilot projects. - Utilize NGO sector partnerships - such as tractor deployment in urban agriculture projects or house-building in Haiti with Habitat for Humanity. This addresses product sales at the same time that it feeds test data and documentation back to the project. This would allow our home team to focus on product refinements based on the feedback.
  • Streamline Production and Development Tool-Chains/Processes. Refine physical production tool-chains based on ongoing results, starting with full deployment of CNC Torch Table and Ironworker Machine. Streamline complex development path to 24 mission critical steps while creating documentation in an ongoing fashion.
  • Document and Publish. On the documentation front, recruit Documentation Director to assure that all the machines follow open source hardware documentation standards and to ensure that processes are documented equally well for transparency. Develop documentation standards. Continue publishing a regular biweekly newsletter, continue weekly video updates, and create a system to involve remote video editors in the future. Define publishing platform - or Booktype. Define social media strategy.
  • Install Performance Management and Quality Control. Use Work Log as means to document, review, and plan team members' work product on a weekly basis. This turns into monthly and quarterly reports. Define quality control standards for production.
  • Define Brand Identity. Define chapters policy based on certification badges for the level of involvement in OSE.
  • Reward Contributors. Establish contributor badge system.
  • Clarify Critical Path - We are publishing a strategic plan, deployment strategy, rollout sequencing, and a clear value proposition.
  • Structure the Team Ecology. Refine an effective organizational ecology of Product Lead, Project Manager, Operations Manager, and others. Figure out how to scale these roles.


1. James Slade - First Ever Replication

To whom it may concern,

Open Source Ecology has been a life changer for me personally. Ever since I saw Marcin's original TED talk, I realized how important such a thing was. The GVCS just made so much sense I had to stop everything I was doing and take part in it. It led me away from a desk job and got me into a shop on my own land working on building a compressed earth block machine aka "Liberator". How fitting of a name. Since doing that, I've become somewhat of a fabricator and work for myself. I really feel quite liberated.

This project has spread around the world now. We've taught, shared ideas and collaborated with just about every nationality. From high school kids to village elders, both men and women. OSE has brought back hope and courage to so many and I hope it continues to do so. With so much uncertainty in the world, projects like this one give people a chance to take back the ability to control their own lives. The ability to build what they need for their community and not have to rely so much on big businesses who dominantly exist for profits and not so much the people.

Marcin's vision is huge and I applaud him for not only having that vision but living it to the fullest to make it a reality. Having experience working with him, living on his land and knowing what daily life is like at Factor e Farm, I feel I can say this man deserves all of our support to continue making this project a reality that the whole world can share.

If I may be frank. I have a Liberator machine that we built here outside of Austin, Texas. Marcin also had us upgrade one of the LifeTrac's here to prototype 4. Between those 2 things so much has happened in this region. The CEB has brought the attention of thousands. I've talked about time and time again to people who either just show up with bubbling interest or entire groups who want to learn everything they can about it. I've even sold a CEB machine and had a local fabricator friend help build it. This is proof the project is on the right path. The LifeTrac is another amazing interest.

I'm part of the Burning Man community and participate in our regional event here in Austin. We took the LifeTrac to that week long event with a few artistic modifications to show the masses. It was the most popular, talked about thing there. This is an event full of outgoing, artistic movers and shakers, and we got all of their attention with not only the awesomeness of the LifeTrac's look, but what it could do and the fact it can be built locally with a small shop. I wish I could truly convey all the positiveness that I personally received from just that one event to you. It was so very powerful.

Thank you for your time, James "Bunny" Slade


2. Dan S.- Second Replication

November 27, 2012

Karein Bezuidenhuit Shuttleworth Foundation PO Box 4615 Durbanville, South Africa

Dear Karien,

Factor e Farm Renewal Application 2012

It has been my privilege to know Marcin Jakubowski personally for almost a year now and his project and TED talks for sometime before that through the Internet. I am one of those who have replicated the CEB press in my own workshop and at my own expense, thus Marcin asked me to write this letter of support which I am pleased to do.

Replicating a CEB press may not sound impressive at first blush, but the fact that the blueprints and instructions were sophisticated enough for me to follow marks a major milestone for the OSE Liberator CEB press. You should know that I had already used many varieties of CEB press in the Horn of Africa for most of my adult life as a development missionary. I returned to the US to build my own self-sufficient village, anticipating my retirement and wanting to demonstrate a model of a global village from my experience in rural development. I searched for years for a press that was modular and affordable so I could construct my own house. I dug a dam and stock-piled the clay for just such a purpose 15 years ago. To my mind, the GVCS Liberator is the single most important technology for global housing anywhere. No machine produces the uniformity and strength of block for the cost as this machine.

The importance of that last statement for the Shuttleworth Foundation to my mind is that you were instrumental in funding and guiding the OSE model from its infancy. You watched Marcin and his skeleton crew crawl slowly at first toward their monumental goal. You supported them over the years, and they began to walk and work steadily. I think they have matured beyond mere adolescence as an organization in a remarkably short time. Yes, there have been struggles and set-backs, but all that comes with rapid growth. I’ve seen hundreds of NGO projects, and this one is no different. There are no short-cuts to progress!

So, here they are with a solid, critical mass of workers and enough wisdom to push into the final stages of their maturity—living and working with these machines themselves. Your funding and guidance have enabled this miracle of passion and sweat so far. They will go on, I feel certain, whether you renew their contract or not, but what a fantastic time to be involved as they can now relate to you in an adult partnership and begin to reproduce—which is what it was all for in the first place.

I urge you now to continue supporting this project as it enters its last stretch of growth. Through this final grant you will have enabled OSE to work on its own, to be strong and wise for others who will trace their footsteps and turn to thank you—as do I.

Sincerely yours,

Daniel S.


3. Anonymous Funder

To Whom It May Concern:

To the casual observer, it might be easy to dismiss GVCS as a fun hobby for engineers with too much time on their hands. I believe that GVCS offers the world something deeper. In my view, GVCSoffers the world a connection back to its roots. As parts of the world have developed, fewer and fewer individuals still understand how the modern world came to be. This is the downside of being part of a modern civilization. The art and science of producing "things" becomes increasingly relegated to corporations. Corporations exist to sell more tomorrow. What was once a comparatively simple tool in the machine of human development suddenly becomes complex, patented and impossible to maintain without a license and original parts. Corporations looking at investment appraisals and new market opportunities have become the guardians of whether a society will develop or not.

GVCS offers another way. GVCS offers a path to civilization to anyone with the will to learn and basic technological skills. It removes corporations from the equation and puts the burden back on the educational establishment and human innovation. GVCS leaves a trail of breadcrumbs from simple machines to modern civilization, documenting our best thinking and providing equal opportunities for innovation free of corporate restrictions. It puts humans with all their combined talent back in control of their own development.

It is for this reason that I have and continue to recommend GVCS as a worthwhile investment in the future. Through our family foundation, we have donated $116,000 USD to GVCS. So far, this has allowed for the construction of the main 4000sqft workshop and living space for the core team.

I recommend GVCS to you absolutely and without reservation.

4. Joshua Bond - Collaborator

Dear OSE Supporters,

My name is Joshua Bond. I stumbled on Marcin's TED talk about a year ago. There on stage he proclaimed to the world that fusion energy is useless when the global economy has a values-system disorder. He knew we already had all the energy we needed, yet the world was no better off. He had a plan and was going to do something about it, so that not higher education, human, nor particle energy would go to waste any longer.

I'd like to express my deepest gratitude for your support of Marcin Jakubowski in 2012. If we are honest with ourselves, I think most of us will admit that in the beginning of 2012 we were really just vested in Marcin, his enthusiasm and determination. His assessment of global depravity and vision for the cure were on par, and the list of OSE Specifications would give any market-economist an identity crisis. But could a poor migrant farm boy really reinvent the world, even with a PhD in fusion energy? Well, here we are approaching 2013 and I can hardly believe it but we are already celebrating his success. It has reached critical mass, and so there are no longer any doubts in our mind. If tomorrow a tornado destroys their facilities and carries Marcin away, Open Source Ecology will thrive around the globe to completion of the GVCS, providing the tools to eradicate the atrocities of our scarcity based economy. The language to develop life-giving open source hardware has been born, standardized and distributed. The course of history has been forever changed.

In 2013 we look to Marcin to lead OSE to finish refining the code into the first ever GUI of Open Source Hardware. The Development GUI will unite every designer and engineer in the world under the common vision, expressed by this language, to reach unprecedented levels of creation. It also empowers simple end-users to become programmers, transcending the glass ceiling to input their wealth of real-world experience into the design process. The designs will embody the sum knowledge of my grandpa's 80 years on the farm and white collar designers worldwide. Design-critical feedback will be generated virtually instantaneously as 'state of the art' commercial designs are being used to build a palace or the GVCS used to build a town for 30 displaced families in Guatemala. Amazingly, it is this process that will also yield the empowering and iconic End-User GUI. First World and Third World alike, most the population lack the ambition to create anything with the code unless they can see it illustrated for them first. YouTube and GVCS DVDs will be the input. The output in the First World takes ownership to not only a whole new level of control but also altruism because you are helping to provide the same product for those in the Third, and the output there is obvious. It continues to play out like a video game. But, unlike Sim-City and Farmville, the humans lives aren't merely virtual.

As an early adopter I can already attest to the potential of the development and the end-user GUI OSE is creating. I'm not an engineer, just your average ADD American who doodled in the margins 7hrs a day for 13 years(K-12) instead of receiving my boring, standardized, wage-granting, Rockefeller-Education. Now as an eccentric end-user of large construction equipment I am able to break free of the mold. Marcin and Aaron uploaded a problem statement video on youtube about the LifeTrac's Wheel-Drive Connect and the Universal Rotor for trenching and auguring. Two states away and short on time, I read over OSE specifications and posted a quick analysis response video. Unbeknownst to me, my applying OSE specs #4 & #12(modularity and system-wide design) to this single problem analysis would completely revolutionize the OSE approach for the GVCS. From a machine-based design to a modular-based design, the completion of the GVCS is now much closer. I'm continuing to work on the Universal Rotor under this new design approach knowing it will be used on at least 26 of the GVCS 50 and also indirectly affect many more. I'm hoping to take it one step further by conceptualizing a lego-like kit with a very small number of parts(shafts, tubes, bearings, etc) that is actually interchangeably used to build the 30 modules(Universal Rotor, Motors, Pumps, Actuators, etc) which is in-turn used to build most the GVCS. Effectively, a small corner store just the size of the tiny hardware department in walmart could stock all of the steel and parts you need to build an entire GVCS. This makes fitting the whole GVCS into a single shipping container much more doable.

I'm excited to be the Alpha and Beta guinea pig for this new era of a Meaningful-Internet. The flexibility and transparency allows 100% of my expertise to be used in any project OSE is doing, like the GVCS backhoe. I'm also able to stay abreast of what exciting parallel organizations and potential partners are doing, like Team Wikispeed. Did I mention, I've never been to their facilities in Missouri or even met any of them in person. Nor am I on the payroll. It just makes sense.

Traditional mission-stifling human resource issues and unscrupulous market forces are both being overcome thru OSE work. For example, in addition to all these things i've also engaged my true passion by spearheading the development of the Open Source Truck. The 60 year legacy of the Mercedes Unimog “farm-truck” is known well almost everywhere in the world, except the USA. While the US government is a huge buyer of Unimogs for military deployment, Detroit cleverly figured out how to actually engineer its customers to buy not what they need, but what is most profitable and cyclical. While Unimogs continue to sell around the world, just a few years ago they shut down a 2nd failed attempt to sell them in the US Market. Not because there was already a comparable competing model, because the market had been engineered to eradicate any innovative competition, and only provide absolutely useless trucks.

Having to reverse-engineer 200 years of human progress so that all humans can progress with it for the next go around should be enough for one lifetime. But like a cat that knows he's got 9 lives, Marcin is already going head to head with his next challenge, the Paradigm GUI. As the billion dollar brain childs of the war economy go to waste collecting armory-dust when there is no war, Marcin knows he is going to have to wage his own war with our current paradigm that heralds such waste or it will ostracize the GVCS. Being the peace-maker he is, he is wiling to program in the archaic language of that wage-slave paradigm, the dollar. Marcin's pursuit of Distributive Enterprise is just the translator that the old paradigm needs to move forward. How deep our market-controls really run will determine if the First Worlds of the 20th century will have to catch up with the Third World's implementation of the GVCS just so we can survive.

I used to nag them to give the Life-Trac a modern day paint job to make it more marketable. The more I read the news I think marketability isn't going to be the issue, its going to be crowd control. Perhaps instead of a paintjob, just a bumper sticker that says: “If you are here to trade-in your shinny almost-new cars or tractors for a LIFE TRAC because the Mfg went out of business or only sells newer models and you can't get it repaired, please first fetch a hand tool from the shed and scrape off all the paint, brand-loyalty emblems and obsolescence-model decals. We need it clean of all contaminants before we can melt it down to build your LIFE TRAC.”

For the surety of our future and the abolition of structured poverty, please join me in 2013 in continuing to support Marcin's journey in empowering all of mankind with open source.

Sincerely, An Open Source Citizen of the World

5. Pawel S. - Cohabitat Group

Dear Karien,

My name is Pawel Sroczynski. I'm a founder of Cohabitat - an non-profit organisation based in Poland, Europe focused on open source development of natural building technologies and other necessary for building truly resilient small civilisations (

I've came to belive that GVCS is the most important project currently in development in the world. It addresses global problems by proposing solutions in the way that creativity and resources of the crowds are massively involved. It lowers the barriers for everybody to start a farm or build a house and openness give a high level of hackability, so the people gets a solutions that are designed to be easily changed to meet their personal or local needs. As it not yet reached the tipping point (as Linux did) where it become clear that open-hardware technology could resolve our most common daily challenges it still need help. I believe that this project could be a breakthrough when people realize that open, sharing, resource based economy could be a viable alternative for building thriving communities around the globe.

My organisation is planing not only use the equipment of GVCS but to create our own add-ons. In 2013 we are starting a project called Open-Ecosystem-Set (OES) which'll be complementary to industrial character of GVCS. Our goal is to focus on the housing, sewage, food, furniture and small-energy systems. I'm sure it can revolutionise the way people think about their habitat. By opening everything their need to sustain their lives, we can start a new era for humanity based on abundance.

Hope you will consider Marcins re-aplication positively.  ;-)

Best regards from Poland,


6. Nikolay Georgiev - OSE Europe

Dear Karien and Shuttleworth Team,

I am Nikolay, from Bulgaria, living in Germany. In 2011 I quit my job and dedicated my life to Open Source Ecology. Why would someone do this? Well, I have few personal reasons:

1) My best friends in Bulgaria are forced to work in order to survive. They don't have the time and resources to develop themselves and contribute to society. According to our financial calculations, if nothing changes, their kids will be forced to do the same.

2) in Germany I worked as a software developer on projects for Fortune 500 IT, energy and automotive companies, and my conclusions were: I was used. They are not innovative and they care less about sustainability.

Similar experiences apply to the majority of the people in Europe. Change is needed and OSE is paving the way with its commitment to openness.

This year we started OSE Germany and OSE Italy. This wouldn't be possible without Marcin, the work at Factor e Farm, the support of the Shuttleworth and other foundations, and individuals world-wide. With the further development of the GVCS and the Open Source Economy we are able to continue localizing the production, creating social and economic justice, and thus enabling meaningful livelihoods.

And let us not forget. We are sharing all these economically significant informations digitally and they will be saved for hundreds of years. This means that now - we are creating value not only for our generation - but for all future generations. They will inherit and build upon it. Their well-being depends on our actions now.

Thank you and kind regards,