[Discuss] open hardware documentation survey

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Tue Mar 26 21:53:21 UTC 2013

On Tue, Mar 26, 2013 at 2:44 PM, malcolm stanley
<a.malcolm.stanley at gmail.com> wrote:
> Bryan, if I organize a Google Hangout for it, will you put together a short
> presentation on ISO 10303 and do a Q&A for us on what it is, what it says,
> and why it matters?

I would be happy to speak with you about existing standards and
on-going progress in open source hardware file formats/packaging,
either over email, irc, voip, phone, or in person.

I am curious as to what outcomes you are expecting from that sort of
conversation. In particular, it strikes me as odd that you would ask
why these things matter-- you run into them constantly if you do any
hardware development (it's seriously hard to find a commercial CAD
tool that doesn't support STEP), and in the software world there's a
tremendous amount of standardization on packaging formats, which has
led to hundreds of thousands of standard 'components' (which you will
find on most computers).

These are the common elements that have lead to all of the different
efforts on "github for hardware" or "open source hardware packaging"
projects. These are not projects by committees*, but rather
individuals that look at what tools they need, and then they write
them (* excluding ISO's work in this area, which is very much a
committee). I think in some cases this has been successful, like
thingdoc, which successfully solves a small piece of the puzzle, but
needs all the other tools everyone keeps talking about.

So.. are you expecting to be able to go home and use some existing
packaging solutions? or contribute to them and fix bugs (or whatever)?
Are you looking for advice on making this sort of software?

I think that for ISO-10303-specific information, the best person for
you to talk with would be Charlie Stix, who replied earlier in a
recent thread, or maybe Mark Pictor when he isn't busy on SCL... As
for other hardware packaging attempts from the open source world, I
would be happy to talk with you about those, but I am unwilling to
prepare a presentation for a "Hangout".

> At any rate, the discussion has to happen before any implementation makes
> sense.

How do you explain- for example- thingdoc, then? There was very little
(or no) discussion, and yet it makes a lot of sense and works pretty
well for its intended purpose, and is a positive contribution to
packaging within that area of the open source hardware community..

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

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