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Open Source Hardware Definition Hits 0.3

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-it's-a-conservative-number dept.

Open Source 93

ptorrone writes "A group of open source hardware makers have put together a draft of the open source hardware definition, now at version 0.3, which hopes to further define the making, sharing and selling of hardware within an 'Open Source Hardware license.' This fall, the day before Maker Faire New York City, the group hopes to have the license finalized for v1.0, and they are holding the first Open Source Hardware Summit. There are currently dozens of companies making open source hardware, altogether worth millions of dollars."

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I have to say (2, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905192)

They are dreaming. Sure some hardware is relatively easy to develop on your own on a small budget. But most of it needs expensive equipment, fab facilities, testing systems etc. If you think a group of disperse individuals will each have the same equipment to collaborate you're dreaming. If you think a company is going to by the hardware and then let anyone manufacture it again you are dreaming.

The reason why open source software works is that it is easy for people to contribute and it is essentially free to give someone a copy. That is not the case with hardware.

Re:I have to say (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32905212)

This. End of discussion.

Re:I have to say (5, Insightful)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905366)

you're completely wrong. computer chip fabs are extremely automated, and many silicon valley chip makers don't even own their own fabs, and instead drop ship them from shared fabs in china. if a standard was created for manufacturing instructions, as the open hardware people are trying to do, then utilizing the fabs to make a one off product of an open design would be accessible to anyone.

you're right that current manufacturing company's testing and development equipment wouldn't match... the entire point of open hardware is to make that fact not matter.

Re:I have to say (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32905636)

When is the last time you tried to do a one-off run of a custom chip? It's incredibly expensive. Just creating masks is going to cost you thousands of dollars. There are a lot of fixed costs in creating microchips and you really have to produce a lot of them to get the unit price down to a reasonable level. Standardizing manufacturing instructions isn't going to solve this problem.

If there is any future in open source hardware, it will only be for digital electronics and it will use FPGAs.

Re:I have to say (2, Informative)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906140)

People used to make these same arguments about professionally fabbed, multi layer pcbs. Now they're affordable to the masses.

Re:I have to say (0, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906734)

In quantities of 1 (one)? I rather fucking doubt it.

Re:I have to say (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32907274)

Yes really. Check out BatchPCB, which is just one among hundreds of companies that do affordable 1-off custom boards: http://batchpcb.com/index.php/Products [batchpcb.com]

Re:I have to say (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#32907488)

In quantities of 1 (one)? I rather fucking doubt it.

Your a fucking idiot. [google.com] Just because you can't wrap your head around advanced creation doesn't mean others suffer from the same affliction. Also don't confuse the lack of shrink wrap to be any indication of performance or quality as seems to be the case in this thread.

Re:I have to say (1)

blackC0pter (1013737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32908012)

I have gone through the quoting process and prototyping / production process with lots of PCB fabs and honestly the costs for prototyping a single unit are extraordinary compared to volume production. Be prepared to spend 20-30x for a single board vs. volume production. The problem with a single board is the tooling and setup costs associated with PCB manufacturing. Also, this ratio really exists for all parts of the market. I've done US manufacturing, China/Taiwan manufacturing, completely automated US manufacturing; it's all the same. There are some costs you just can't avoid when doing PCB manufacturing. Don't believe me, then check out the pricing from a completely automated PCB fab (this is one of the cheapest places for single unit PCB production. Yes, it is in the US but honestly, it is one of the cheapest for a single unit):
http://pcbexpress.com/products/prices.php#4pricing [pcbexpress.com]

Re:I have to say (2, Informative)

BillX (307153) | more than 4 years ago | (#32909300)

Extraordinary? For work prototyping I usually get mine here: http://goldphoenixpcb.biz/quote2.php [goldphoenixpcb.biz]

It's $100 for 100in^2 (that's a lot of space!) for 2-layer. In 6 years I've only once had a pressing need for more layers. Obviously, $100 is definitely not free (it's tangible goods and labor after all), but if you have a few friends who want boards, your price per design drops pretty quickly. BatchPCB does exactly this.

There's plenty of design space left for people who are not making GHz PCs and cell phones. If you're prototyping and your needs are not that extravagent, your cost is ~ 99 cents [cexx.org] , and you can build a machine for it yourself from an open-source design and readily available parts :-) (mine was ~ $200 and the gas to get to home depot and back).

Re:I have to say (1)

blackC0pter (1013737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32910132)

Good points. However, when you start bringing friends into the equation, you are no longer ordering just 1 board and you are getting closer to a production (albeit a small production) order; thus the costs are definitely going to go down. So I do agree that it is a good deal but at a single board, costs are still relatively high. Your 100in2 board, in production, is going to drop to $5-10 vs the $100 so a 10 to 20x drop. Also, I mostly make 4+ layer boards so pcbexpress turns out to be slightly cheaper for me than goldpheonix.

Re:I have to say (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32910354)

Obviously, $100 is definitely not free (it's tangible goods and labor after all), but if you have a few friends who want boards, your price per design drops pretty quickly. BatchPCB does exactly this.

Then it's not a quantity of one, is it? Send me a postcard from Stockholm.

Re:I have to say (1)

alantus (882150) | more than 4 years ago | (#32908612)

Your a fucking idiot. [google.com] Just because you can't wrap your head around advanced creation doesn't mean others suffer from the same affliction. Also don't confuse the lack of shrink wrap to be any indication of performance or quality as seems to be the case in this thread.

I don't know how a google search for "custom multiplayer pcb" is going to help him recover from his "fucking idiot" condition.

Re:I have to say (-1, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32910372)

Your a fucking idiot

My what? And what's it doing to you?

I'll assume that since your pissy link didn't address the bit about buying quantity of one that you didn't understand it, you fat slack cunt.

Re:I have to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32938268)

Oh ffs. It depends on what your idea of "affordable" is, obviously.

Re:I have to say (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 3 years ago | (#32929928)

when is the last time you tried to build your own fab? the amount of money required to get in the game to manufacture a one off product of an open hardware design has lowered to about $50,000... something any business should be able to swing on development of a new product. building your own fab and building or licensing enough technology to get you to where an open hardware project could get you would cost many millions of dollars.

no one is saying it's free or cheap, but it's certainly now accessible.

What an idiot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32934564)

Just the environmental compliance costs for your chip fab are going to be FAR greater than $50k. Just the equipment to keep the air dust-free will bust your budget - or are you going to skip the clean room?

Don't mistake the costs of ordering the equipment to program FPGAs with the cost of actually making the silicon.

Re:What an idiot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32935486)

i'm not suggesting building a complete fab. that is the entire point. someone else bought the equipment to keep the air dust free. you're just using it for a few hours using the masks you had created.

have you dealt with chinese manufacturing before? the pricing i quoted is accurate. maybe they don't have the same "environmental compliance costs" that you're used to.

Re:I have to say (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905272)

What about things like the RepRap? The design is open but companies can still make profits (selling some pre-made parts, complete kits and even ready-to-run printers).

Re:I have to say (4, Interesting)

NegativeK (547688) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905342)

What exactly are they dreaming about? I've only dealt with a few, but the open-source hardware companies I've purchased from are catering to individuals who don't need a PC motherboard or a 3GHz processor for their project. Think Arduino or GPS breakout board. In reality, cost barriers to open source hardware are progressing quite nicely. Access to fab resources in China and pick and place machines are dropping in price; doing it on your own is much more accessible. For examples, check out the aforementioned Arduino or the stuff Makerbot creates. 3d printers at a price-point of $1,000 were a pie in the sky dream 10 years ago. And lastly, open source isn't always about free as in bear. People still pay for Linux. I still pay for open source hobbyist hardware. I purchase it instead of other roughly equivalent devices because it's more easily modifiable, is easily hacked upon, is often quite well documented, and it's easy to find support. Adafruit has recently mentioned that "[t]here are 13 million-dollar open-source hardware companies". It seems to be working for some of us.

Re:I have to say (2, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905442)

Last time I freed a bear, I almost ended up in prison.

Re:I have to say (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905480)

Hehe. I like free bears.

Preved Medved! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32905750)

is that like bear surprise ?

Re:I have to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32907162)

FREE YOGI MITNICK!

(with every purchase)

Re:I have to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32908432)

Evict Adrian Llama :)

Re:I have to say (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32907838)

+1 informative. Plus they could design their hardware using VHDL or Verilog, as happened with the Commodore Amiga FPGA project. It allowed people to work with common code and each contribute a little piece.

Which reminds me: Is there a site to join Open Source VHDL projects (as exists with OSS linux design)?

Re:I have to say (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32908128)

So are all the VHDL tools free and open source? How about the tools to program the parts?

Are the FPGA chips themselves unencumbered with patents and trade-secret processes used to produce them?

That's all important, too.

Re:I have to say (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32912124)

>>>That's all important, too.

Not to me it isn't. As long as the tools are free is all I care about. Like VLC or Opera which are not open-source but don't cost me anything, so I use them. Anyway to answer your question: I'm not aware of any "open source" development tools but all the companies like Xilinx, Actel, and Altera provide the tools for free. It's the classic Remington Shaver model - You get the tool for free, but you have to pay for the parts.

And yes the FPGAs are patented but it isn't a big deal. If one manufacturer starts acting like Microsoft or Apple you can just jump ship to another FPGA. Or abandon FPGAs completely and burn your own chip (ASIC).

Re:I have to say (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905402)

The reason why open source software works is that it is easy for people to contribute and it is essentially free to give someone a copy. That is not the case with hardware.

Are you ever going to be confused when you learn about FPGAs.

http://www.opencores.org/ [opencores.org]

Re:I have to say (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905530)

FPGAs are weird though. They are essentially programmable hardware. It is the programs not the hardware that people are giving away for free.

I suppose people could develop test systems using FPGAs and then publish the design for what the dedicated hardware piece would look like though. Okay I retract my comment, there is some potential for open source hardware. Lots more difficulties though than downloading a copy of a package and starting hacking.

Re:I have to say (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905728)

I suppose people could develop test systems using FPGAs and then publish the design for what the dedicated hardware piece would look like though.

Well, in practice my Spartan3 FPGA experimenters board from a couple years ago cost approximately as much as a "really good keyboard" or about half the cost of a "reasonable tower chassis". Or somewhere between 1 and 2 months cablemodem service. You can treat the FPGA as a distinct PLCC or BGA that needs to be soldered to something you make, or treat the FPGA as the standard PCB breakout/demo board that all manufacturers sell (cheaply) to promote their devices. Standard slashdot car analogy is you can buy a V-8 engine and you figure out how to put it into a car, or you can buy a ready to be modded / tuned up Civic just like a normal person.

You have to realize the absolute minimum design of a FPGA board is pretty minimal, actually simpler than an arduino board. And the development software is free. If you're very handy with SMD you can assemble it yourself. Or, you can convince yourself that if you don't personally etch the board yourself that "you" didn't do it.

Re:I have to say (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32908136)

And the development software is free.

Where can I download a source tarball?

Re:I have to say (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32912226)

xilinx.com
actel.com
altera.com

Re:I have to say (1)

BillX (307153) | more than 4 years ago | (#32909342)

Where did you get the idea that 'open source' == 'free'? ;-) The deliverable is still just design files in most cases; it's not like open hardware folks put out buckets full of assembled PCBs in subway stations. (good thing, too, because in some cities you'd get arrested for that...)

Re:I have to say (-1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906258)

You already are.

FPGAs are great for prototyping and when you actually do need dynamic reconfiguration of low level code (gates).

In reality they are slower and more expensive to the point that they really aren't useful outside of specialized applications, which is why your PC uses an intel x86 microprocessor and an nVida or ATI GPU rather than some random FPGA.

And the end result is that you're STILL making software, not hardware.

FPGAs are cool and useful, but to think they can be used in a generalized way shows you have no idea what they are used for.

Re:I have to say (1)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 4 years ago | (#32907358)

You already are.

FPGAs are great for prototyping and when you actually do need dynamic reconfiguration of low level code (gates).

In reality they are slower and more expensive to the point that they really aren't useful outside of specialized applications, which is why your PC uses an intel x86 microprocessor and an nVida or ATI GPU rather than some random FPGA.

And the end result is that you're STILL making software, not hardware.

FPGAs are cool and useful, but to think they can be used in a generalized way shows you have no idea what they are used for.

I suppose that the many many products shipping with FPGAs are "specialized." Your point of view is outdated. And of course we don't use FPGAs in a "generalized way," as FPGA designs (other than the toys one would come up with to use on a development board) are indeed application-specific.

Basically, without FPGAs, my company simply could not build our products.

signed, FPGA hardware guy.

Re:I have to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32911008)

In reality they are slower and more expensive to the point that they really aren't useful outside of specialized applications, which is why your PC uses an intel x86 microprocessor and an nVida or ATI GPU rather than some random FPGA.

True, they are slower and they are unnecessarily expensive for high production rate, but, for tinkerers/modders, the speed is less important (in some cases it can be attained by excessive parallelism) than flexibility and versatility and above all a full control over your stuff, while price is easily recuperated with first couple of changes (which would require throwing out old and buying new module or gadget otherwise).

Re:I have to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32907872)

You sound like you're ready for chip-design management.

Re:I have to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32910086)

Or http://wiki.opengraphics.org/ [opengraphics.org] or http://www.arduino.cc/ [arduino.cc]

It is time we start the Free Hardware Foundation (FHF).

Re:I have to say (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#32910602)

One may consider FPGA codes to be also software. Yes, the instructions are a little different, but the concept is quite similar to standard machine code.

Re:I have to say (2, Insightful)

serialband (447336) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905424)

It has to start somewhere. Someone has to dream and try to make their dreams come true for things to even change. If no one ever bothers, then what's the point?

true (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905598)

As well people gripe a lot about MS and crew with closed source but I think they are better than a lot of hardware. I seem to recall back in the day looking into P4 inards and the published standards just said "adder and logical register" or whatever and then that the actual part might be implemented differently but performs logically the same.

So you were left guessing how to optimize code or the thing because you had no idea how things are implemented, where something might be shown as a single micro-op but implemented as something that is going to churn registers on you or whatever.

Re:true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32906160)

Yeah, like totally... wait, what?

Re:I have to say (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905472)

There is strong corporate backing behind open source software. For example, about 75% of Linux is written by corporations. The same arguments they use (basically, if we put stuff out there, we can benefit from others building on it and publishing their improvements) should also apply to hardware.

Re:I have to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32905534)

Except for the fact that the open source software is really just a way to push their proprietary hardware products (IBM, Oracle, etc). Since this proprietary hardware makes up the bulk of their revenue they aren't going to give that up by giving away their designs.

Re:I have to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32906312)

And boy, I can't count the sheer quantity of IBM and Oracle hardware I have sitting in my home right now... Damn Linux, making me buy all none of it.

Re:I have to say (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906704)

I'm typing this on an IBM keyboard. I'd tell you the model number, but it's so heavy I can't turn it over.

Re:I have to say (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32908146)

Do you have the source code for the i8041 processor in your IBM keyboard?

I believe I have the source listings for the original IBM XT and AT keyboards, in the Technical Reference manual. But do you?

Re:I have to say (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905618)

They are dreaming.

The most obvious, incredibly stereotypical counter example is the electronics kit building industry.

There's a whole subculture of people selling kits based on electronics magazine articles. Lots of radio kits based on QST articles. Phasing type SSB TX and RX, ATV TX and downconverters, various transverters...

Technically the magazine is copyrighted. However, I've also purchased and built completely, literally open hardware devices like a SBC6120 single board PDP-8 computer. And other things.

The folks running these operations typically do not retire wealthy, but they aren't starving either, far as I know.

Re:I have to say (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32908154)

Technically, you don't have the microcode listing for the Intersil 6120 processor, so it's not really open hardware.

I have a few tubes of HM6100 processors still in my stock. Cool chip. All CMOS with no dynamic registers. You can clock it down to .05 hertz if you want. The 12 bit data bus is a little awkward to work with, because ROMs and memory and I/O stuff is usually 8 bits wide.

Re:I have to say (2, Insightful)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906038)

They are dreaming. Sure some hardware is relatively easy to develop on your own on a small budget. But most of it needs expensive equipment, fab facilities, testing systems etc. If you think a group of disperse individuals will each have the same equipment to collaborate you're dreaming. If you think a company is going to by the hardware and then let anyone manufacture it again you are dreaming.

So, they have a dream, huh :P? Very dramatic, but you're confusing two orthogonal ideas: free/make-it-yourself hardware and open source hardware.

Open source hardware means the spec is open, and any (suffiently rich) person or a company could manufacture clones of the hardware piece free of fees and obligations. The PC architecture is a fine example of mostly open source hardware, that has had wild success.

Sure, PCs aren't free, but the fact anyone could enter the market and make PC clones have significantly brought prices down and have allowed free exchange of compatible parts and a platform that has remained independent contrary to the interests of some of the manufacturing agents.

So these guys just want to create a clear definition of what "open source hardware" actually is, so when you say it, you know what you're getting. However, why the heck it's taking them so much time to write the damn thing... another story.

Re:I have to say (2, Informative)

Yungoe (415568) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906068)

They are not dreaming. Look at the Arduino project (http://www.arduino.cc/). This is an open source hardware project. All OSHW means is that anyone can make it.

Re:I have to say (2, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906182)

If you think a group of disperse individuals will each have the same equipment to collaborate you're dreaming.

CNC routers, extruders, and sintering machines are all within range of the hobbyist much like computers were
30 years ago. Several people will loan you a prototyping machine if you promise to loan out the one you build with it.

Just the availability of small $200 XYZ stages makes tons of industrial automation possible: pick&place, automated testing, cutting, and the already mentioned routing and prototyping. Add in the advances in visual mapping and object simulation and you can even start doing assembly.

Re:I have to say (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906206)

They are dreaming.

You are measuring against a yardstick of success that doesn't really apply.

To be "successful" an open hardware manufacturer does not need to become the next Intel. They're not necessarily trying to build mass market widgets. They're protecting a group of users that the rest of the industry badly to ignore: the imaginative user of technology.

There are people out here who really don't strive to own the latest iPhone, but rather have specific applications for which the mass marketeers don't have solutions. There are those of us who don't want to have a locked-down box that "just works" because their imaginations are going in a different direction. The people who bought the original Apple IIs or kit computers of the 1980s were like that. Linus Torvald was "just dreaming" when he was playing with a VIC20 and was "just dreaming" when he started development on an open source operating system. Today, most web servers on the internet are running Linux based Apache.

People who are "dreaming" threaten the status quo, and thus also threaten people who are frightened of change and progress. I don't know why there's so much scoffing about open source hardware (or open source anything) because it's not like it's going to take away your safe mass-marketed gear or anything. It's just people trying to make something for themselves and for each other. Why does that upset so many people?

You're right that "they are dreaming". Maybe they're dreaming about something that can't be done with current off-the-shelf parts. Have you already forgotten how this great "high-tech/computer/internet" solution got started? And who started it? I say thank god somebody is still dreaming.

Re:I have to say (1)

Proteus Child (535173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32912842)

People who are "dreaming" threaten the status quo, and thus also threaten people who are frightened of change and progress. I don't know why there's so much scoffing about open source hardware (or open source anything) because it's not like it's going to take away your safe mass-marketed gear or anything.

Those who scoff tend to lack the imagination to do anything along those lines, or lack the confidence to build their skills up to the point where they are capable of doing something interesting, new, and innovative. It's far easier to bust someone's chops for "dreaming" or "being unrealistic" to cover the fact that the naysayer has balls the size of peas (if applicable) than it is to get off of one's ass and do something.

Re:I have to say (1)

SlashV (1069110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906212)

The reason why open source software works is that it is easy for people to contribute and it is essentially free to give someone a copy. That is not the case with hardware.

That may be true for hardware, but not for hardware designs. When you have open PCB design formats, those can be shared for free and be easily contributed to.

safety razor blade (1)

voss (52565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32907002)

This is open source hardware, the patents are all gone, anyone can make them. A number
of manufacturers make them to a single double edged standard.

The point is a hardware definition not making the actual hardware itself. Its defining standards
for making the hardware. Having open source definitions for hardware makes it easier for hardware manufacturers
to be compliant with the standard at cost.

Having a free open standard makes low cost vanilla hardware easy.

Re:safety razor blade (1)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 4 years ago | (#32907326)

This is open source hardware, the patents are all gone, anyone can make them. A number of manufacturers make them to a single double edged standard.

The point is a hardware definition not making the actual hardware itself. Its defining standards for making the hardware. Having open source definitions for hardware makes it easier for hardware manufacturers to be compliant with the standard at cost.

Having a free open standard makes low cost vanilla hardware easy.

What if this "standard" is totally inapplicable to my application? This is the part that I don't understand.

Then dont use it... (1)

voss (52565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32910838)

duh.

Re:I have to say (2, Interesting)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32910834)

I think you are confusing open source with free as in beer

Re:I have to say (1)

DedicatedErik (760870) | more than 3 years ago | (#32927428)

...But most of it needs expensive equipment, fab facilities, testing systems etc.

You're forgetting that PC's were pretty expensive and had to be assembled and soldered together, just like the open source 3D printers today. Also, 3D printers becoming dramatically cheaper though some assembly is required for most of the open source designs.

If you think a group of disperse individuals will each have the same equipment to collaborate you're dreaming.

The RepRap community is a group of disperse individuals who have similar (3D printing) equipment and who are collaborating on making various designs, including the open source 3D printers themselves. You're right that it's not exactly common yet to download an (open source) object off Thingiverse.com and print it out. But right now thousands of RepRappers do this regularly. But the amount of people that operate RepRaps is doubling twice as fast as the transistors in Moore's Law (10 fold increases in 20 months). My research (did a big community survey with MIT) shows that there are modest differences between soft- and hardware sharing once you have the basic equipment (PC and personal fabricators, respectively). More will follow soon on my blog: http://www.erikdebruijn.nl/ [erikdebruijn.nl]

Warning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32905198)

Making your own dollars is a federal offense.

Re:Warning! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905524)

Making your own dollars is a federal offense.

No, no. Making it is fine. *Keeping* it is a federal offense.

Re:Warning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32905568)

So is spending it.

Re:Warning! (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905826)

He was talking about taxes. You've gone back to talking about counterfeiting.

Apple? (3, Funny)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905210)

Isn't Apple part of this initiative? Their stuff has been jailbroken so many times and so easily, they can almost call their iPhone "Open Source Hardware"! ;-)

Re:Apple? (2)

Ingcuervo (1349561) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905270)

ouch, touché...

Re:Apple? (1)

AmaranthineNight (1005185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905450)

Thank you SOOOO much for using the accent. So many people don't seem to know how to type it.

Re:Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32905754)

I've seen it spelled "tooshay" by some forum posters ... I've also seen people use "wallah!"

Re:Apple? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906780)

But she still missed off the final e.

Pfft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32905252)

Wow *millions*?? OH EMM GEE!!! I can make a million dollars selling stained underwear. Big deal.

Interesting change from OSS definition (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905406)

OSS definition, Section 6:

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

OSHW definition, Section 7:

7. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the hardware in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the hardware from being used in a business, or from being used in nuclear research.

The OSHW definition is a straight copy of the OSS one with a necessary s/program/hardware/g but for some reason the example was changed to refer to nuclear research. Is there any reason behind making this kind of deliberate change, or am I reading between the lines too much?

Re:Interesting change from OSS definition (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905484)

Probably the fact that people are really doing their own hobbyist nuclear research as in real reactors, whereas I don't think that hobbyists have done their own clones, yet.

Re:Interesting change from OSS definition (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905846)

Maybe not clones, but there are definitely people doing genetic engineering at home [slashdot.org]

Re:Interesting change from OSS definition (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905550)

As a historical note from an old timer, in an earlier era, maybe a decade or so ago, there was extremely heavy pimping of using open source software to do biological genetic processing "bioinformatics". By 2010, we'd all be doing genetic processing in our basement as our primary hobby. It was successful enough in its field, but not widespread to the masses.

The discrimination against nuclear is from the standard proprietary software licenses forbidding use of MS products for air traffic control, medical devices, nuclear. Probably building your own homemade ATC radar or your own automatic defibrillator is a bit beyond most amateurs, but hotwiring a web interface to a geiger counter is FAR more believable. So, if you're going to pick and choose words from MS license, may as well pick that. Also nuclear is the most stereotypical dual use technology I can think of, in that it seems "obvious" that you'd want to ban 3rd world nuclear bomb development by banning "all nuclear devices" yet it seems obvious to me that a completely harmless twitter interface to a geiger counter would be kind of cool. Well, kind of, anyway.

Re:Interesting change from OSS definition (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32908188)

An automatic defibrillator is a pretty easy project, actually. Just an EKG monitoring circuit and a honking big capacitor. However, debug and testing is a real challenge. And who is going to use it when it's done?

Re:Interesting change from OSS definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32908700)

I've been using my own design happily for the last eight mo

Re:Interesting change from OSS definition (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906346)

I like to think of it in these terms:
of or relating to or constituting the core (nucleus) of a tiny piece of said item (atom)

In other words... everything you can think of and in gruesome detail.

Re:Interesting change from OSS definition (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906966)

Maybe it's a dig at the iTunes EULA, which explicitly prohibits using it to control nuclear power stations.

Open Source Hardware (0)

AmaranthineNight (1005185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905416)

The problem with "Open Source" hardware, and any other tangible thing, is simply that for most hardware of any significance, a person would need a factory and expensive resources handy to go about trying to make it. Granted, the barriers to ACTUALLY utilizing your rights to modify, update, and redistribute open source software are similarly insurmountable for most people,but this is even more so.

Don't get me wrong, if what this means is that design documentation (schematics, blueprints, manufacturing instructions, etc. etc. etc.) are released with the hardware (so that other companies can use it as a base) is made available, that's still great. That means that Linux will run spectacularly with "Open Source Hardware" underneath because writing the necessary drivers, etc. should be trivial, but I have a feeling adoption will be significantly lower than the open source methodology has been for software.

Underlying it all is the problem of money. Where open source software can afford (until it reaches some critical mass, at which point monetization through advertising and support tends to become a practicality) not to make any money, a provider of open source hardware has to expend significant manufacturing, R&D and Production costs, and most companies won't be willing to simply give away the fruits of all of that effort since the number of people who can contribute back will be relatively limited by comparison (contributors would need to be able to manufacture the hardware to test their modifications thoroughly). Unlike open source software, where there are many contributors, open source hardware would have comparatively few, so the cost to each contributor is much higher and the benefit of having extra eyes looking at the designs much lower. I'd like to be proven wrong, but even looking at the "success story" over at the Make blog, it looks like the vast majority of the "open source hardware" projects were toys with blinking lights and pointless gadgets. Things that might make a fun weekend project, but nothing like what OpenMoko is (was?) trying to do, or that can significantly improve our computing infrastructure and get rid of the problems caused by closed hardware (especially things like video cards, which are still giving open source OS's trouble)

Re:Open Source Hardware (3, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905772)

for most hardware of any significance

What is significant varies a lot from person to person. Building an inexpensive circuit that does something fun is significant if you find it to be so.

a provider of open source hardware has to expend significant manufacturing

Not so. If I build a single circuit to satisfy my own urges, I can still open source the schematic, pcb layout, parts footprint, etc. in a way that other people can use. They can fab it as is, or they can modify it, then fab it. Or, just look at it out of curiousity. No one says you have to manufacture your design in bulk, in the same way that you can create your own distro without having to send it to Best Buy in shrink-wrapped boxes. You can fab a prototype PCB these days for tens of dollars if you don't need it in a couple of days.

Re:Open Source Hardware (5, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905930)

The problem with "Open Source" hardware, and any other tangible thing, is simply that for most hardware of any significance, a person would need a factory and expensive resources handy to go about trying to make it.

You are soooo obviously not a modern electronics entrepreneur. You rent all that stuff. Yes, over the internet. Just like I don't need my own personal silk screen offset printing press I just use cafepress and competitors.

There's about a dozen board houses where you upload a PCB file, and in a couple days they mail you ready to solder PCBs. Multi layer, exotic substrates, plating, solder mask, these guys do it all. Generally PCB manufacture is completely automated, about as much slow human touch as buying a book from amazon. This is not vapor ware or a nebulous student business plan, but a pretty big business. Most PCB houses are glad to do one offs for a price, although theres obvious quantity discounts.

If you will lower yourself to talking on the phone to a salesweasel, "most" board houses either have inhouse assemblers or a "special relationship" with a local assembler. You will need to talk extensively about assembly service, and FAX custom contract back and forth. Someone could probably make a killing in the business by "semi-automating" this process much like happened to ultra-small run PCB business over the last decade. The main problem with assemblers is their "JIT" sourcing of parts and their pre-soldering inspection of parts... um... has some stereotypical problems.

There are at least half a dozen businesses where you upload a certain CAD file and in a couple days you get all manner of metal front panels, cases, and just plain ole random metalwork. Again all automated, about as difficult as uploading a picture to cafepress or uploading a "gerber" file to a PCB house. Not as popular as PCB houses, but up and coming.

There would probably be a business opportunity for someone to set up an expediting service over the internet to coordinate all these guys. But trust me, at least for open source electronics devices, if you know how to use google its pretty much ask and ye shall receive (if ye have a thick enough wallet, of course).

Mod parent up! (1)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906364)

Most relevant and informative post so far. :)

Re:Open Source Hardware (2, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906000)

it looks like the vast majority of the "open source hardware" projects were toys with blinking lights and pointless gadgets.

First, I'd say that early computers were likely characterized by many as pointless gadgets with blinking lights.

significantly improve our computing infrastructure and get rid of the problems caused by closed hardware (especially things like video cards, which are still giving open source OS's trouble)

Secondly, you view this too narrowly. The idea of open source hardware goes far, far beyond the personal computer. It's about being able to develop all sorts of hardware. Things that interface to the OBD port of your car. An alarm clock that has 4 alarm times instead of 1 or 2. A way to blink your Christmas lights to the BeeGees. These are the goals of open source hardware. Oh, and yes, maybe video cards too.

Re:Open Source Hardware (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906322)

The problem with "Open Source" hardware, and any other tangible thing, is simply that for most hardware of any significance, a person would need a factory and expensive resources handy to go about trying to make it.

For now.

There was a time when you needed a building full of expensive equipment and professional engineers to make a hit record. Now, we have music on the charts that is made in home project studios using a few grand worth of gear.

It's never a good idea to predict the future based on the limitations of the present. Like: renewable energy production will never work on a large scale because we have not yet been able to make renewable energy production on a large scale. What would make a person who is involved with technology actually make this kind of mistake in thinking? I suspect it has to do with limited imaginations.

Full text (2, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32905434)

Looks like it's getting a slashdotting, so here you go:

Version 1.1 of the definition has been released. Please help updating it, contribute translations, and help us with the design of logos and buttons to identify free cultural works and licenses!

Introduction

Open Source Hardware (OSHW) is a term for tangible artifacts -- machines, devices, or other physical things -- whose design has been released to the public in such a way that anyone can make, modify, distribute, and use those things. This definition is intended to help provide guidelines for the development and evaluation of licenses for Open Source Hardware.

It is important to note that hardware is different from software in that physical resources must always be committed for the creation of physical goods. Accordingly, persons or companies producing items ("products") under an OSHW license have an obligation not to imply that such products are manufactured, sold, warrantied, or otherwise sanctioned by the original designer and also not to make use of any trademarks owned by the original designer.

The distribution terms of Open Source Hardware must comply with the following criteria:

1. Documentation

The hardware must be released with documentation including design files, and must allow modification and distribution of the design files. Where documentation is not furnished with the physical product, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining this documentation for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The documentation must include design files in the preferred form for which a hardware developer would modify the design. Deliberately obfuscated design files are not allowed. Intermediate forms analogous to compiled computer code -- such as printer-ready copper artwork from a CAD program -- are not allowed as substitutes.

2. Necessary Software

If the hardware requires software, embedded or otherwise, to operate properly and fulfill its essential functions, then the documentation requirement must also include at least one of the following: The necessary software, released under an OSI-approved open source license, or other sufficient documentation such that it could reasonably be considered straightforward to write open source software that allows the device to operate properly and fulfill its essential functions.

3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original hardware. The license must allow for the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of products created from the design files or derivatives of the design files.

4. Free redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the project documentation as a component of an aggregate distribution containing designs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale. The license shall not require any royalty or fee related to the sale of derived works.

5. Attribution

The license may require derived works to provide attribution to the original designer when distributing design files, manufactured products, and/or derivatives thereof. The license may also require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original design.

6. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

7. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the hardware in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the hardware from being used in a business, or from being used in nuclear research.

8. Distribution of License

The rights attached to the hardware must apply to all to whom the product or documentation is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

9. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

The rights attached to the hardware must not depend on the hardware being part of a particular larger product. If the hardware is extracted from that product and used or distributed within the terms of the hardware license, all parties to whom the hardware is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original distribution.

10. License Must Not Restrict Other Hardware or Software

The license must not place restrictions on other hardware or software that may be distributed or used with the licensed hardware. For example, the license must not insist that all other hardware sold at the same time be open source, nor that only open source software be used in conjunction with the hardware.

11. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

Afterword

The signatories of this Open Source Hardware definition recognize that the open source movement represents only one way of sharing information. We encourage and support all forms of openness and collaboration, whether or not they fit this definition.

Just for reference (-1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32906874)

Just because somethings that are open to the public are useful, doesn't mean everything being open to the public is useful. Specifically, Linux and other successful OSS projects are an exception to the rule, not the rule.

As someone who does custom hardware I can safely say there is little value to OSH. The basic blocks are already 'open' as in everyone already knows how to do the standard things.

You aren't going to design better or even comparable OSH because the guys who have the machines and knowledge to make the hardware in the first place, also know that giving away their bread maker is retarded so they'll be inclined to stay employed.

You can't make OSH in your home workshop that compares to hardware done in a proper facility. Software you can write and distribute from start to finish for a few hundred dollars. Hell, it can take that much just to make PCBs that don't suck complete ass, not including the drilling.

OSS is cost effective to those working on it because it takes almost nothing to get started from scratch, even without owning a computer, and there is no cost other than your own time and minor amounts of electricity to it.

OSH isn't cost effective because you pay for every mistake you make, and there are much higher startup costs as well as consumables during the development process.

OSS works because it doesn't really cost anyone to develop it.

OSH requires spending resources other than your time and minor electrical costs to actually do anything, most people when faced with spending money tend to try to figure out a way to recover the cost (Except college students which don't seem to have any understanding economics and usefulness of product).

And the community (1)

the_kanzure (1100087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32907820)

And if you're interested in following up on this perhaps with a community of open source hardware advocates and engineers, you might want to try something like the open manufacturing [google.com] mailing list. "We bring free and open source software development methodology to the physical world."

Some of the more interesting threads have been documented here [openmanufacturing.org] .

- Bryan

"Definition of open-source hardware" (1)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 4 years ago | (#32907832)

so, really, exactly what does this "Open source hardware definition" define?

Does it simply allow someone to post schematics, firmware sources, Gerber files and BOMs with the implied, "Please don't make a bunch of these and sell them as your own design," or is there more to it?

TFA doesn't talk about any sort of interoperability standards or anything else. it certainly doesn't talk about the notion of "contributing changes back to the community."

I understand all of the arguments about, "Why aren't commercial products 'maker-friendly'?" (and I know why they are not), but still .. what am I missing?

Re:"Definition of open-source hardware" (1)

Proteus Child (535173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32912946)

Does it simply allow someone to post schematics, firmware sources, Gerber files and BOMs with the implied, "Please don't make a bunch of these and sell them as your own design," or is there more to it?

This license might work just as well for that: Creative Commons by attribution/non-commercial/share-alike (v3.0) [creativecommons.org]

Maybe I can finally reify a bitgrid with this (1)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32908356)

I'm hoping that someday I'll be able to reify a bitgrid. This looks like one possible path forward.

A bitgrid is just an FPGA without routing logic. It's a grid of 4bits in 4 bits out Look up tables each connected to their nearest neighbors in a 2d grid. There's no routing to worry about because any cell can be used as either logic or routing, and both at the same time in most cases.

Configuration is done by storing data in the look up tables. The whole thing looks like a chunk of static RAM to the host.

I'm willing to work with pretty much anyone to get this thing built, and having it open source would be icing on the cake.

Oh... and I strongly suspect that a BitGrid may be just the think to do Exascale computation.

Re:Maybe I can finally reify a bitgrid with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32911252)

Maybe you are too late to the table (no pun intended). Using SRAM lookup tables is exactly how Xilinx FPGA's have been working since their earliest series.

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