[Discuss] Possible abuse of the term "open source hardware"

Windell H. Oskay windell at oskay.net
Fri Mar 15 20:45:20 UTC 2013

Hey there, OSHW aficionados, 
  While browsing stackexchange today, I came across a banner ad for Pogo Linux, selling "[The Best Open Source Hardware] for your IT department."     Naturally I was interested, because, hey-- open source servers --neat!

I'm attempting to attach my screenshot of the banner ad to this e-mail.  If it doesn't work, I've cached it as well, here:

Anyway, from their About page (http://www.pogolinux.com/about/) Pogo Linux sells "Hardware Built for Open-Source" -- rackmount servers that run linux and so forth.   But... so far as I can tell, they do not sell any actual OSHW-definition compliant products.   (Or do they, and just not indicate that clearly?)

On this page, they further state "Trust the experience of Pogo Linux for the best-supported Open-Source hardware in the industry" :

I'm afraid that this is not a good thing.  To the extent that we care about the term "Open Source Hardware" having a clearly defined meaning-- one that can be used to hold up a false-advertising claim for those that abuse the term --I think that we should care about how the term is used, and do our best to prevent dilution of its meaning.


Windell H. Oskay, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Chief Scientist
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
175 San Lazaro Ave, STE 150 
Sunnyvale CA 94086

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