[Discuss] Favorite OSHW Linux computers?

Mario Gómez mxgxw.alpha at gmail.com
Thu Feb 5 15:47:30 UTC 2015

Recently I stumbled with one of these pseudo "open-source" boards. It was a
simple Arduino-Compatible GPS receiver. The manufacturer provides you with
all the schematics and documentation to make it work but the the firmware
is provided as a pre-compiled library.

The manufactured explained they made this desicion to reduce-costs and they
decided to use a cheap microcontroller that includes GPS signal-processing
capabilities but the manufacturer required them to sign a NDA for the
implementation details, so the source code is not available and simple
things like re-asign pin functions it's not possible because all is defined
in the precompiled library.

Sadly in the last year I have seen this is becoming s very common practice.
With software it's easy to compete because the cost of a whole FLOSS
implementation is zero and the main income comes from the
support/adaptation. But in OSHW you could face that using a
free/fully-documented/modular component/set of components increases your
manufacturing costs and another manufacturer could replicate the exact same
functionality using a cheaper-highly integrated but closed component.

However many of these manufacturers are using "Open-Source" (or using
Arduino-compatible as a synonim of it) to sell you essentially
closed-hardware. I think that the only thing that we can do is educate
people that even if they give you a detailed part list, if to build the
thing you require componentes under an NDA or there is missing source for
an important part of the implementation then that is not Open-Source


On Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 8:49 AM, Hal Gottfried <hal at kcohg.org> wrote:

> I see a couple problems with that my friends (hola Pdp7).  The first and
> formost we all need to understand what makes Open Hardware "open" is the
> license model the choose and the adherence to it.
> For example company A makes widgets and exclaims "we are open source";
> however even though they release their plans and designs and such they
> stick a little note at the bottom "commercialization requires purchasing a
> license".  That there removes that ability to call this project Open.
> Let's say that same company simply releases everything they are "required
> to" into the wild but requires attribution to be listed on derived works
> (as the original company has a trademarked name). This is still under the
> OS license model and is acceptable.
> (See my article on Red Hat's Open Source next week where I talk licenses).
> Let's play Devils advocate here for a minute, and say this company doesn't
> require commercial licenses, doesn't care about attribution if you market a
> similar project BUT when the release their source (Eagle Files,
> documentation, examples and such) they leave out a crucial piece.  The
> leave out very specific and detailed signal timing diagrams or pseudocode
> to  illustrate for a software developer how to use his code to work with
> the interface in operation. This too becomes "closed source" now as all
> details of the component must be available.
> I could give you quite a bit more but I want to keep this short.  There
> are quite a few places that believe they are open source and try to market
> themselves that way.  As a community it is our responsibility to educate
> companies and consumers around correct and best practices.  If you read
> through either the CERN or TAPR license you'll see there's not really much
> you can do if they violate the license (pay attention to the "hold
> harmless" section).
> Finally as to your comment that we should inform them they are infringing
> on a trademark; Bruce purchased the trademark in the late 90s in an effort
> to help grow the open source software initiative and hoping to get the
> ability to have some "punishment" built in for violators of a license
> model. However it was pretty much focused on Debian and Ubuntu at the
> time.  In 1999 he assigned the mark to Eric Raymond (Open Source
> Initiative) to help be used in their educational and outreach.  That being
> said a trademark is a license on a MARK or design say a logo for example.
> There are such things as "Slogan Marks" and a few various other types.
> The point is the reference you're making is to the term as it applies to
> their use in a whole different context (the trademark registered has noted:
> APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN" (which appears to also have been renewed as
> there are only two trademarks for Bruce and only one is active and it
> doesn't pertain to this).
> Anyway there's not really a lot we can do at this juncture but publish it
> and tell people, but make sure to do your due diligence and see if a part
> has been released correctly.
> Hal Gottfried
> Cofounder KC Open Hardware (an OSHWA branch)
> OpenSource.com Contributor
> Apologies if this message is brief as it's sent from my phone.
> _____________________________
> From: Wouter Tebbens <wouter at freeknowledge.eu>
> Sent: Thursday, February 5, 2015 6:33 AM
> Subject: Re: [Discuss] Favorite OSHW Linux computers?
> To: <discuss at lists.oshwa.org>
> Hi Drew and all,I have heard about the HummingBoard, [1], which states it
> is "openhardware", but I cannot find the license, not even on its wiki,
> [2].If they really aren't adhering to the definition of open hardware,
> maybewe should warn them that "open hardware" is a registered trademark
> byBruce Perens (if he is still the owner). In any case, ask them topublish
> under a free license or to stop confusing people.[1]
> http://www.solid-run.com/products/hummingboard/[2]
> http://wiki.solid-run.com/HummingBoard_HardwareBTW notice also the USB
> Armory,http://www.inversepath.com/usbarmory.html#usbarmory_flat-tab that
> isopen hardwarebest,WouterOn 02/04/2015 06:38 PM, Drew Fustini wrote:>
> There's a *lot* of press right now about a new proprietary single> board
> computer. I thought it might be fun to talk about Open Source> Hardware
> alternatives.> > Here's my favorite OSHW Linux computers. What are yours?>
> > MinnowBoard MAX (dual 64-bit Intel Atom):>
> http://www.minnowboard.org/meet-minnowboard-max/> > Olimex OlinuXino
> LIME2:>
> https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/A20/A20-OLinuXIno-LIME2/open-source-hardware>
> > Radxa Rock:> http://radxa.com/Rock> > BeagleBone Black:>
> http://beagleboard.org/black> > > cheers,> drew> http://keybase.io/pdp7>
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