Brilliant Labs

Open source alternative to Apple Vision Pro, The Skiff drama, Hot & new open source projects: Request Indexing, devFind, Supso, and more.

Welcome to a new edition of Open Pioneers - your weekly update from the forefront of open source. Today, we talk about:

  • Spotlight: Brilliant Labs - Open source alternative to Apple Vision Pro

  • Hot & new open source projects: Request Indexing, devFind, Supso

  • The Skiff drama and open source washing

  • Fundraising news from Upstash, Saleor, Coana

  • More open source content

If you enjoy this week's post, sharing it with a friend or colleague would make my day.

🔍 Spotlight: Brilliant Labs

Frame by Brilliant Labs

Brilliant Labs is building open source eyewear for the AI era - or an open source alternative to Apple Vision Pro. The Singapore-based startup raised $6M in funding from notable angels, including the founders of Oculus, Siri, Pebble, and others.

Following its first product, Monocle, the company just announced its new product, Frame, which looks like traditional glasses but ships with features like visual object recognition, live translation, conversational search, and image generation. Under the hood, Frame integrates with Perplexity AI, Stable Diffusion, GPT4, and Whisper. Additionally, the lenses are compatible with medical prescriptions for glasses.

Frame costs $349 for pre-order (so 10x cheaper than Apple Vision Pro) and will be released on the 15th of April, 2024. The real highlight is that Frame’s code is open source and distributed under an MIT license.

Open source hardware is here, and I believe it’s a super exciting model: Sell the hardware but distribute the software open source.

Learn more about Brilliant Labs: Website | Twitter | Discord

🔥 Hot & new open source projects

Many of you have reached out and asked whether I could also introduce relatively new open source projects. So here we go. In this section, I will highlight projects that have been started recently and have less than 500 stars.

👀 The Skiff drama and open source washing

Skiff announced that it was acquired by Notion on 9 February 2024. The company, which started in 2020 as a privacy-focused alternative for email, docs, calendar, and file storage, raised $14 million in funding and reported 2 million users.

These users were concerned about the acquisition, especially as Skiff deleted its open source repositories (they are back up now) and announced that it would switch off all products. This caused quite an uproar, mainly on Twitter and their Discord community. This article is an excellent summary of what happened.

It struck me that Skiff claimed to be "completely open source", but if you checked their GitHub account, you could only find frontend code.

Screenshot of Skiff.com (previous version)

Nothing is wrong with a product that is only partly open source or “source code available”. This is a business decision that every entrepreneur has to make for their company. However, it is essential to communicate this correctly.

For me, Skiff did "open source washing", and it is, unfortunately, a practice that we see more frequently as (commercial) open source becomes more popular. It's a short-sighted strategy because the developer community has a very fine feeling for this (and a loud voice). In the case of Skiff, we can see once again what happens if companies don't communicate honestly and openly.

If you’re interested in genuinely open source alternatives to Notion, I recommend checking out last week’s edition of Open Pioneers.

🦄 Fundraising news

  • Upstash, a serverless data platform, announced that it hit $1M ARR and raised $10M Series A led by a16z. [Link]

  • Saleor, a GraphQL-first ecommerce platform, raised a $8m Seed extension round. [Link]

  • Coana, an open source vulnerability management solution, raised a $1.6M Pre-Seed led by Sequoia and Essence VC. [Link]

📚 More open source content

  • Daniel Roe, the creator of Nuxt, announced a new open source side project page-speed.dev to measure and share web performance metrics. Definitely check it out! See openpioneers.com results.

  • Tea, a protocol to reward open source contribution built by the makers of Homebrew, launched $250k grants for open source developers. [Link]

  • Tobie Langel gave a keynote at State of Open Con, where he asked companies to invest $1B into open source maintainers. The slides are online. [Link]

Until next week,

Jonathan (@jonathimer)

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