[Discuss] Misuse of "Open Hardware" term?

Wouter Tebbens wouter at freeknowledge.eu
Tue Feb 24 12:54:03 UTC 2015

Dear Alex,

On 02/24/2015 01:01 PM, Alex J V wrote:
> Ability to contribute to HW has other problems:
> 1. Proprietary EDA/CAM tools such as Eagle, Autodesk etc. 
> 2. Costly hardware requirements
> 3. Effective transfer of information - Difficulty of building on top of
> someone else's work
> Possible solutions for above problems are
> 1. Kicad/Freecad
> 2. Makerspaces acting as a location where hardware requirements are
> split between participants
> 3. Github + forums + mailing lists etc
> Please point out any mistake in the argument. I would love to be
> corrected.  
To be sure the collaborative platform is truely in line with the open
source & free knowledge spirit I'd add that there's a
4. Commons governance over the platform

I say this, as since the advent of web 2.0 many platforms have emerged
that true to squeeze value out of its users (therefore called "platform
capitalism" by some) while not allowing the users to contribute to the
platform development itself. Did you consider sharing the source code of
your online platform under a free software license?

> *Disclosure:*
> I am co-founder of this startup called Makeystreet (www.makeystreet.com
> <http://www.makeystreet.com>). Makeystreet is basically Github for
> hardware. We just building a layer over Git that make it practical for
> hardware development. We are just 2 guys couple of years out of college
> who totally love hardware engineering. We have some software background
> too. We find it really bad that there is a ton of tools for software
> development and not so many for hardware development. 
> What we are trying to do is "What kind of technology is required to make
> large scale remote collaboration in HW possible?" We totally love Git,
> but we think just versioning files in git does not cut it for hardware.
> To enable others to build on top of your work, you need to share not
> just your source files but also your design choices, testing data, prior
> art, failure analysis etc. 

I agree much with your analysis, and have just registered at your
platform. I'm in the process of comparing current online platforms for
makers, and hope to soon share some early results with all of you. I
will add Makey to the list :)

> To test the above mentioned hypothesis, we are doing a large enough open
> source hardware project. Being engineers first, we also love to build a
> kickass community of hardware hackers in India. We are building an open
> source electric unicycle. Hopefully this project makes that happen. Here
> is a quick video that we created to promote the project
> - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iw3yAz1FCU8 . Link to the OSHW project
> - www.fireflyunicycle.com <http://www.fireflyunicycle.com>

Awesome really!

best regards, groet, salut, saludos,

Wouter Tebbens
*Free Knowledge Institute*
/Unlocking the Knowledge Society/

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