[Discuss] discuss Digest, Vol 10, Issue 104

Matt Maier blueback09 at gmail.com
Wed Mar 27 03:23:28 UTC 2013

> Actually, ISO 10303 is nothing I would wish upon anyone because of how
> convoluted (and expensive) it is; but it's an excellent example of a
> standard in wide adoption that solves a lot of the core problems in
> CAD. The other end of the spectrum are smaller tools like thingdoc
> that solve precisely one problem well...
> - Bryan
> http://heybryan.org/
> 1 512 203 0507
So you wouldn't recommend STEP because it's heavy and expensive, and you
can only recommend ThingDoc for the one thing it does. Can you think of any
tools that aren't too small, and aren't too big, but are just right?

Or, to put a finer point on it, can you think of a way to say with any
certainty what "just right" means in open hardware documentation?

What would a "just right" tool or suite of tools look like? What would it
do? How would you interact with it? What would be the core functionality?
What would be tangential? Does it need to do CAD? Does it need to
incorporate code? Could people live with a text interface?

Every piece of data I've ever seen on open source development shows that
the majority of open developers do it for other-than-financial reasons.
Even OSHWA's recent survey showed <50% developing open hardware as a job,
but everyone (90%) does it for fun. So, if the "why" of open hardware is
"fun" then shouldn't the "how" and "what" be derived from that? Wouldn't a
tool designed "for fun" look different than one designed "for work?" Or, on
the other hand, do we assume that it's the "for work" stuff that's keeping
the servers running, so the tool should serve their needs and the "for fun"
crowd just has to tag along?

I honestly don't understand the point of view that there are easy answers
to these questions. It seems like everyone agrees the open hardware
community needs better/faster/stronger tools, so at least we have that to
build off of. But what do we build?

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