[Discuss] Misuse of "Open Hardware" term?

Tsvetan Usunov, OLIMEX Ltd usunov at olimex.com
Wed Feb 11 06:06:59 UTC 2015

Hi Drew

OSHW have clear definition, using this term to any board which have PDF 
schematic will confuse all beginners who have no glue what OSHW is and 
wear the term value.

I think somewhere Massimo Banzi named these projects "Pseudo Open Source 
Hardware" and "marketing" as these guys know very well what OSHW is but 
keep using this term intentionally. Same is the situation with many 
Chinese vendors like Banana, Vocore, etc. They name their projects OSHW 
then never release anything more than schematic in PDF or JPG 
format,sometimes with intentional errors inside pretty useless if you 
want to learn, study, modify and make your own.


On 02/11/2015 01:13 AM, Drew Fustini wrote:
> 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"
> https://www.linaro.org/news/linaro-announces-96boards-initiative-accelerate-arm-software-development/
> 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:
> https://plus.google.com/u/0/+gregkroahhartman/posts/LkfitGPTU5h
> 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"?
> thanks!
> drew
> http://keybase.io/pdp7
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