Zach "Hoeken" Smith has decided to go into business with some other people to build and sell a new repstrap design. this one is called the cupcake CNC. It's priced at $750USD (which is around $1150 AUD). this is pretty competitive vs the bits from bytes design, which is priced at 750 Pounds sterling. Which comes to around $1600AUD. Both companies are linked to in the side bar to the right of the page.
The cupcake's advantages over BfB appear to be a smaller footprint, apparently easier construction (although this will have to wait for an actual comparison) and a price reduction of around $2-300 australian. Plus it looks more self contained and somewhat less scary to the non-geek, though this is largely an effect of the side walls covering up some of the parts. The reprap looking overwhelming is a matter I'm very familiar with, given I have a partner who is quite freaked out by the "standard" reprap design(but then she doesn't like robots generally).
The bits from bytes advantage is that the cupcake has had to take a large reduction in the actual construction volume. it can only produce objects of around 10cm*10cm*10cm. The bits from bytes can apparently produce a volume of 30cm*30cm*10cm (x,y,z). Zack says that the cupcake's size is big enough to produce all parts of a full reprap, but this will need to be viewed in future.
The possible downside of all of this? The formation of the company also means that The reprap research foundation will be moving to more of a research operation over the actual sale of products. The effect of this transfer to the idea that essentually all reprap parts will be bought from for-profit groups remains to be seen. It really is more a matter of how much the open source objective is maintained in the long term. There may be a possible future issue, but it might not, it all remains to be seen.
One big positive of open source projects is that they are in a way a form of enforced competition(despite the old "linux=communism" claim of a certain large north-western US company). So I don't think the community really has to worry, given if something dodgy does start to happen there is nothing stopping people from taking the open source design and pushing it forward themselves and ignoring the commercial stuff.
On a completely unrelated note, Leave some comments, I sent out a mailing list email about the new site/blog and only got one reply. Also, if you want to start making posts to the blog, give me an email and I'll give out the password. There is also another website apparently under construction, but until then this will do in the intermediary time.