[Discuss] Fwd: The institutionalization of OSHW

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Sun Sep 30 15:46:06 UTC 2012

From: Chris Church <thisdroneeatspeople at gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Subject: Re: [tt] [Open Manufacturing] Fwd: The institutionalization of OSHW
To: openmanufacturing at googlegroups.com
Cc: tt at postbiota.org

On Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 7:35 AM, Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:
> On 09/29/2012 03:43 PM, Chris Church wrote:
>> We are not all motivated by the same political or social goals, and some
> We all use the same definitions, though. And if a device and its software
doesn't meet them, it isn't "Open Source".

... and many of us are following the existing definition for open-source
hardware.  As defined here: http://freedomdefined.org/OSHW

The only talk of re-definition as of late on the OSHW mailing list and
here, is to further ratchet down the definition - to demand that all files
be distributed in open-source formats, etc.

The question at-hand, and the one which started this whole conversation is
"is company X open-source enough."  The example at-hand is the amount of
traffic suggesting to take away from, to shame, and to punish one specific
company for failing to open-source every part which they sell.  And, last I
checked, they didn't call that product "open-source," they said it had
"open-source components."

> of us produce open-source technologies (hardware and software) for less
> lofty reasons:
>   - We expect that our customers should be able to service their own
> equipment
>   - We expect that our customers should be able to make changes to their
> equipment to better suit their needs, should they have the skills to do so

> These are political opinions. They argue that people should be free to
use the hardware that they own. Many hardware manufacturers would disagree
and claim that they are simply acting in everyone's best economic interests

I wouldn't call them political decisions, because my basis for them is
different.  It used to be, when I got a radio, or a TV, I got a schematic
to aid in the continuing of its operation.  I still can get one for my car.
I don't see the need of the state or popular opinion in that...  But, to be
clear, so we don't sit here picking hairs and bike-shedding all day: I
don't care whether society is bettered by the product being open or not, I
care whether or not the customer is better serviced by its being so.

> And some consumers will make purchasing decisions that are driven by
their own political decisions. It would be economically irrational of them
to privilege a company's interests above their own.

And the customers shall vote with their wallet.  Of course, let's not kid
ourselves.  For those of us in capitalist society, the expectation is that
a company make a profit - and likewise, it would be economically irrational
to put a non-customer's interest above their own, no?

> If people want to call their cool VC-funded proprietary hardware and
software "Open Source" then the problem is not the people telling them that
they are wrong.

I don't think anyone here is claiming that a closed piece of hardware is
open-source.  I haven't seen any such examples from any one on this list,
for sure, or any one bring any examples to my attention as of late.
 Instead, there has been a lot of talk about whether a company should be
tarnished should they make a decision to produce a product with a closed
part and an open part.  That anything but 100% is not enough.

> I suggest appealing to the economic advantages of democratising access to
hardware rather than fighting a losing battle to redefine "Open Source".

Again, I will re-state, the only discussion as of late to re-define
open-source, is to further ratchet it down beyond being simply "open," to
being "open and shared using x..."


Chris Church
Dynamic Perception, LLC

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