[Discuss] Misuse of "Open Hardware" term?

Drew Fustini pdp7pdp7 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 10 23:13:26 UTC 2015

Exciting news this week out of the LinaroConnect conference in Hong
Kong about new low-cost ARM 64-bit dev board and the introduction of
96boards.org.  However, I am concerned that Linaro and 96boards are
using "Open Hardware" to describe hardware for which only schematics
are offered.  Here are examples:

1) Press Release states: "96Boards is an open hardware specification"

2) 96Boards.org website displays in a big font on its homepage: "32-
and 64-bit ARM Open Hardware Boards": https://www.96boards.org/

3) LinaroConnect Opening Keynote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aAFNCUUVj4  (seek to 42:40)
George Grey, Linaro CEO, explains that they have created an "Open
hardware platform specification"

I have only found schematics on the 96boards.org website, and it does
not appear the PCB board layout or BOM are required to be released for
the 96boards branded products.  The first real product, the 8-core ARM
64-bit HiKey by CircuitCo, offers only a schematic.  Social media
conversations with Linaro engineers (who are awesome guys in their own
right) reinforce this assessment:


a) Do we as an Open Source Hardware Association care about the term
"Open Hardware"?

b) If so, do we feel that Linaro & 96boards is using the term "Open
Hardware" incorrectly?  Is there a less ambiguous way to phrase "Open
hardware platform specification"?


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