[Discuss] OSHW Best Practices / Layers of Openness

Pierce Nichols pierce at logos-electro.com
Thu Feb 28 17:20:15 UTC 2013


Thanks for mentioning the Zigduino. :)

Not all of the possible radio stacks for the Zigduino are open. Some
(ZigduinoRadio, contiki, uracoli) qualify as open source software
under the usual definitions, and I tend to use those exclusively for
my own work with it for that reason. There are also source available
stacks (Atmel's IEEE MAC library) with non-open licensing terms and
completely cloistered ones (BitCloud).

What makes this work is that the legal compliance critical bits are
buried in the hardware implementation. Everything else is standards


On Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 4:16 AM, Tom Igoe <tom.igoe at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Feb 27, 2013, at 12:41 PM, Michael Shiloh wrote:
> 1) The overall guideline might be "can someone reproduce this project to a
> reasonable degree (e.g. functionally the same, if perhaps the case is not
> identical) with the information provided?
> So, let's pick a few specific examples, all of which think highly of, and
> use myself (admitted bias on the third). But I struggle with defining them
> as entirely open:
> https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11378
> The major piece of hardware on this board is a proprietary module from
> Roving Networks.  Though SparkFun's support schematic is clearly open, the
> module that makes this functional is not, nor is it reprogrammable. The API
> for it is open, though. Is this OSHW?  What's the replacement part that
> could drop into this board and make it work, with minor modifications?
> http://adafruit.com/products/746
> Similarly, the major piece of hardware (the GPS radio) is proprietary, even
> though Adafruit's support schematic is clearly open. What's the drop in part
> (note: Adafruit hasn't put the OSHWA logo on here, so it's possible they
> don't claim this is open)
> http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoWiFiShield
> The WiFi radio on this board is proprietary, even though the support
> processor and its firmware and board schematics are open. This is perhaps a
> more complex board than the other two, but I'm not sure that complexity
> changes things much. Or does it?
> Contrast those three with this:
> http://logos-electro.com/zigduino/
> This is perhaps closer to the definition than the others, in that the
> firmware for the radio module *is* open.
> My question is: do we need to differentiate between these in terms of their
> openness,or not?  There are plenty of other examples I could pull. I know my
> work would suffer if I decided not to use these parts, they're all staples
> in my work. And I'm not an open source hardware absolutist, I use plenty of
> proprietary hardware.  But I'm genuinely not sure where the line is with
> some of the products we make and use every day.
> t.
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Pierce Nichols
Principal Engineer
Logos Electromechanical, LLC

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