The term ‘maker’ has been around for a while, but we’ve recently seen a resurgence of what it means to be a maker in the first place. Support for makers has grown exponentially, with makerspaces and maker faires, places to promote and collaborate, hubs to work and fund-raise. Most makers do projects as a side gig outside of their nine-to-five job. This community has still changed the world around it as more and more opportunities crop up for makers every day.
The industry is just beginning to come to terms with one of the major implications of the maker movement. Open access software leads to the possibility of makers, big and small, profiting off of their work in some way.
The Benefits of Sharing Open Access Software
Makers have long recognized the necessity of pooling and sharing resources. It should come as no surprise that open source and open access software and hardware have been readily embraced by many makers. In an open access ecosystem, sharing makes everything better. Others build upon existing ideas without fear of infringement or resulting retribution, and nobody is priced out. This results in better software and better results.
Open access software allows for the free flow of experimentation, unexpected solutions, and meaningful collaboration throughout the maker community, turning the conventional wisdom of “open access software is a vehicle for giving away information for free” on its head. Many makers believe that you can use and share open access software to make money and maintain control of your intellectual property.
David v. Goliath: With Big Money comes Big Issues
Many makers are driven by a desire to fix and change things. This is a perfect match for open access software programs. As the community develops, however, maker spaces are becoming increasingly monetized and, as a result, increasingly corporatized. Maker Faires now consist of fewer tinkerers and more companies hawking focus-grouped products meant to leverage maximum profit out of open access materials.
Smaller makers are still learning how exactly to navigate an open source/access space. They do so by avoiding idea theft, operating within legalities, and ultimately trying to earn a profit as the little guy. It IS possible, and makers are becoming more adept as they go.
Take, for example, the Raspberry Pi, which makers and larger businesses alike point to as an example of an open source/access software success story. It has made money and inspired countless other creative projects. There are many fingers in this metaphorical pie, but it remains popular and profitable for many different people and groups, big and small.
Makers are finding success by working together, and, with equal opportunity access to great software, they’re thriving more than ever.
EAGLE: Opening Doors for Makers Everywhere
The maker industry helps the open access software industry and vice versa. The two groups are inexorably connected, working to build each other up for the benefit of all. EAGLE got its start with students. Our commitment to remain an open access product is a commitment to the maker community as a whole. The free version of EAGLE provides everything you need to begin contributing to the community and finding your niche right away. Try it for free today!