[Discuss] Favorite OSHW Linux computers?

alicia amgibb at gmail.com
Thu Feb 5 16:07:09 UTC 2015

+1 to Hal's explanation.

Just to clear up some confusion around licensing - Just because you can't
find a specific license (CERN/TAPR/Solderpad) to the hardware doesn't mean
something is not open source hardware. Many people use the logo and
definition to state their intent to open source hardware and then post the
source - which if done correctly does put it in the category of open source
hardware. Naturally the files that can be posted under a copyright would
need to be an open license to copyright, but for the hardware itself a
license isn't required to make it open source. Note how on the Must/May
<http://www.oshwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/oshwchecklist.pdf> of open
source hardware, naming a license for the hardware is not a requirement-
much of this is due to the murky nature of licensing hardware without a

My real concern about hummingbird is that their files end up with a 404
error. So the source isn't posted as far as I can tell from the link you

Also re: Bruce's trademark, you've stumbled on why we called it "open
source hardware" at OSHWA rather than "open hardware" - though the
community tends to use the terms interchangeably. For more - you can read
Ch. 1 of Building Open Source Hardware on the history here:

Also to answer Drew's question: +1 Beagle Board :)


On Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 8:47 AM, Mario Gómez <mxgxw.alpha at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> Hardware.
> Regards,
> Mario.
> 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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