[Discuss] "open spec": an ambiguous term?

David A. Mellis dmellis at gmail.com
Wed May 28 12:13:03 UTC 2014

I haven’t heard the term “open-spec” either but I do think it’s meaningful to talk about hardware that's documented sufficiently for people to be able to write software and drivers for it – as opposed to something that’s open-source in a way that allows other to reproduce it. As we know from Linux, etc. there’s plenty of computer hardware that’s not even open enough for someone else to write an open-source driver for it. This was, as I understand it, the initial motivation behind Bruce Perens’ openhardware.org, for example.

On the other hand, if open-spec is being used to imply that something is open-source hardware when it’s not, that would be a problem.


On May 23, 2014, at 4:31 PM, Drew Fustini <pdp7pdp7 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Linux.com and LinuxGizmos recently did a survey of top single board
> computers (SBCs):
> http://www.linux.com/news/embedded-mobile/mobile-linux/773852-top-10-open-source-linux-and-android-sbcs
> http://linuxgizmos.com/top-10-hacker-sbcs-survey-results/
> Interesting crop of boards and results, but the term "open spec" is
> used as the qualifier.  If "open spec" implies that information needed
> to reproduce the board is available, then the 1st place SBC in the
> results would be disqualified (no Board Layout, no Bill Of Materials).
> If not, then I'm confused by what exactly they mean by the term.
> I see the "open spec" term used again here:
> http://linuxgizmos.com/open-spec-com-features-quad-core-rockchip/
> So I wanted to get the opinion of the list if:
> is "open spec" a common term?
> does its usage dilute the meaning of "open source hardware"?
> thanks,
> drew
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