[Discuss] Free Software Foundation's "Respects Your Freedom hardware product certification"

Hanspeter Portner dev at open-music-kontrollers.ch
Wed Jan 7 22:08:24 UTC 2015

On 06.01.2015 13:31, Roy Nielsen wrote:
> It would be great to have a certification that certifies that the _hardware_design_ is also open

I am a bit sceptical about any central authority who manages
certification (e.g. I doubt that as many organic food is produced as is
labeled with a certificate and sold in stores...).

But maybe a decentralized, peer-review audit-like system could be
viable, run by the OSH community for the OSH community on a voluntary basis.
If there would be a simple to use infrastructure where you could have
checked/looked over one of your designs by other fellow OSH designers
(and you would check theirs, ...) and they
could give you feedback on what things are missing, could be improved
for your design to meet the OSH definition...
(I'm not thinking about feedback whether your design is any good, just
whether it meets the OSH definition)

> If the platform is closed source and the firmware is open source is
that a win for open source?  I say only partially.  It's a nice first
step, but to be fully open source, the _hardware_design_ must also be
open source.
> What do you think?

Yes, there seem to be different conceptual levels for which freedom may
be granted:
1. free software
2. free access to the free software
3. free hardware design
4. free chip design

I'm looking forward to the day where we reach 4, this looks promising:

> Regards,
> -Roy
> On Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 3:28 AM, Hanspeter Portner
<dev at open-music-kontrollers.ch <mailto:dev at open-music-kontrollers.ch>>
> I just stumbled across the "Respects Your Freedom hardware product
> certification" [1] by the Free Software Foundation.
> I was agnostic about that until now. I thought I would post it here if
> somebody should be interested.
> I think it is an interesting idea to actually have someone (independent,
> non-profit) check whether your hardware/firmware is
> free (or falsly claimed to be...).
> Compared to the OSH definition [4], it does not seem to define any
> criteria for the hardware design to be open, but puts its focus
> on shipped firmware/software. The latter (in contrast to the OSH
> definition) must be free to pass the certification criteria [2].
> There is already some certified hardware out there [3].
> [1] http://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/respects-your-freedom
> [2] http://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/criteria
> [3] http://ryf.fsf.org/
> [4] http://www.oshwa.org/definition/
> Hanspeter

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