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

Roy Nielsen amrset at gmail.com
Wed Jan 7 23:38:49 UTC 2015


Peer review sounds good - but what if both favor closed(ish)?

Some kind of 3rd party thing might be a good idea - let me give you an 
example of what I'm thinking.

Have you heard of the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory program 
that OSHA in the US manages?

Underwriter Laboratory(UL) is probably the most popular, at least in the 
consumer market.  If I understand correctly they have a committee of 
experts from industry that create "standards" for things like the safety 
of portable space heaters.  UPSs.  Power Strips.  Just about anything 
electrically related, that may have a hazard involved.  Then they test 
the devices per the created safety standard.

This kind of organization might be advisable as we might get people peer 
reviewing each other that have their own idea of what the meaning of 
Open Source or Certification may be.

An organization like OSHWA might act as the coordinator for the 
standards like UL.  People could always apply to be on the committee 
that makes the standards.  They could be vetted to make sure they are 
qualified to be on the committee.

This is kind of the way National Fire Protection Agency 70E code and the 
National Electric Code in the US are managed as well.

Just food for thought.


On 1/7/2015 3:08 PM, Hanspeter Portner wrote:
> 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 
> source.
> 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: 
> http://www.lowrisc.org/
> > 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>> 
> wrote:
> >
> >
>> 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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