[Discuss] discuss Digest, Vol 10, Issue 106

Windell H. Oskay windell at oskay.net
Wed Mar 27 05:36:57 UTC 2013

On Mar 26, 2013, at 9:50 PM, Matt Maier <blueback09 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Then we disagree about another point of "openness." Unlike software, certain electronics, or 3D printable parts, the LifeTrac was not completely designed in a computer. It wasn't even completely planned out. The design evolved after metal touched metal and those instructions merely document a stable phase. They were already out of date when they were finalized, but they do describe a complete version of the machine. As far a I'm concerned, that qualifies a "open" because that's all anyone needs. Unlike the places where open source is most popular, structures and mechanisms do not always depend on digital files. Blueprints and sketches and cardboard prototypes aren't any good to anyone else. What everyone else needs is an after-the-fact description of how the project actually works, not a before-the-fact description of how it might work. Even if the "original" files exist in any meaningful way they are only useful to satisfy historical curiosity.

> I don't interpret "open source" as referring to the original files but, rather, to the most current source files from which the item-of-value is derived. 

I think that you are misinterpreting what is being said here.  

The term "original" in this context does not refer to the "first version" but to files in the format most suited to modification, as referenced in the OSHW definition.    For example, solidworks files used to design a mechanical part would be considered "original design files" whereas an STL file-- of that same design  --exported from solidworks would not.   To use another example, your OpenProj files would be considered as an "original" whereas the exported PDF version is not.

There is a more detailed discussion of original design files in the in-progress "Best Practices" guide that has been mentioned several times on this list, and it does include a discussion of what to do when (for example) the real "original" files are not CAD based.


In the case of the LifeTrac, if the only up-to-date documentation from that project is your OpenProj file, then that documentation should be considered to constitute the "original design files" for that version of the project.     

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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