[Discuss] discuss Digest, Vol 10, Issue 6

David A. Mellis dam at mellis.org
Sat Mar 2 15:49:07 UTC 2013

Personally, I think it's okay to use "open-source hardware" and the logo as
long as the design files are released with the product. Before release, the
distinction between "is" and "will be" seems like a subtle one -- for
everything about the product, not just whether or not it's open-source.

On Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 12:45 AM, gabriella levine <
gabriella.levine at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hey  -
> Matt, and some others have pointed out something along these lines:
> "Obviously the mark should be controlled. Some standard of reasonableness
> has to be enforced, but I don't think it needs to rise much above common
> sense.
> For example, if they have claimed that they will release design files at
> some point (like when preordering is done) then they aren't actually open
> source yet. They can have the mark when they cough up the files."
> But I have some questions about that that I am currently grappling with :
> If I run a company and we are total proponents of releasing full
> documentation of CAD designs, hardware (PCB, schematic layout, hardware
> stacks), software, etc, and I am early in my stage of manufacturing and
> distribution, and therefore haven't documented everything yet but plan to
> do so no later than the release date of the product to the market, can't I
> still say I run an open source hardware company? or is it more correct to
> say "I am a proponent of open source hardware"?
> If I want to spread open source hardware and want to see my technology in
> the hands of many people, then could I use the open source hardware logo on
> my designs? Even if I haven't yet released all my documentation online, but
> plan to do it no later than the product is in the market? And Can I have
> pre-sales going if my documentation is not yet published, but call myself
> open hardware company?
> It sounds like you are saying no, I cannot then use the mark (the logo) on
> my designs (ie my website or my PCB or my mechanism), if I haven't yet
> released the design files or documentation?
> This confuses me because if the company is totally a proponent of
> documentation, adhering with some sort of standard of open source
> documentation practices, but has not done so yet, it cannot think about
> using the logo on its designs?
> On phrasing :
> I also thought it might make sense for a company to not release files
> before the date of sales of the product, but is this therefore
> contradictory to my stating "my company is an open source hardware company"
> if I am still in manufacturing phase? ... is it better therefore to say "my
> company is a proponent of open source hardware and will release all the
> design files and documentation on the day the product goes to market". ANd
> then I wonder what happens during pre sales time?
> Anyway I guess I'm just looking for clarification about what it means to
> be an "open source hardware company" and a lot of it stems back to what
> this conversation was a few days ago: it is helpful for me to think of the
> *goal *or mission of the product / company, and then understanding if
> open source hardware is a means to that end. And then being transparent
> about why that is the case, and what is open / documented and what might
> not be.
> Matt,
> I see the value that a company should document only what is open and
> assume that what is not will be assumed, but what about a company that
> leaves some stuff secret in order to make money on one part of the project,
> and therefore I find that transparency is better (in other words, at least
> a short description on what is NOT open / documented, and WHY)
> Thanks!
> gabriella
> On Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 5:08 AM, Chris Church <
> thisdroneeatspeople at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Mar 1, 2013, at 3:55 PM, Matt Maier wrote:
>> >
>> > This is particularly evident when you factor in the wide variety of
>> manufacturing steps that are as much a part of open hardware as the
>> components themselves. If a cut has to be made then the tool that does the
>> cutting is a prerequisite to capture the benefit of the design files. A
>> drill is just as important as the bolt that will go through the hole, but a
>> project should still be called "open" even if it doesn't include design
>> files for the drill or the bolt themselves. Only the defintion of the hole
>> itself needs to be opened.
>> >
>> Hi Matt,
>> I think this is a great point, in some ways it is analogous to not
>> requiring to include the std c libraries with every project that uses them.
>> I wonder if, with mechanical parts, the software analogies hold up.  For
>> example, a STEP file for non-trivial parts is more of a description of the
>> output of a piece of software than the source code for the software.  Much
>> like Gerber files with PCBs, it may be more appropriate to share standard
>> GCODE if we're relating the hardware to the same level of sharing as we
>> would see with software and PCBs.
>> Obviously, for those parts that are 3D-printed and expected to be printed
>> using slicing software, that's not required (nor may the author actually
>> ever know what the GCODE was), but for more complex parts - it may be
>> required to not only express the shape and form of the part, but the
>> critical inputs for how to generate the right GCODE on the right machine.
>>  (For example, surface finish, tolerance, maximal runout, tempering
>> processes, etc.)
>> Perhaps the requirement should include "a description of the
>> manufacturing inputs and processes required to make a functional part."
>> even if they don't describe fully how to make an actual replica. (Which may
>> be useless to someone with different machines/tools/processes.)
>> Chris
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