[Discuss] Misuse of "Open Hardware" term?

Wouter Tebbens wouter at freeknowledge.eu
Fri Jul 3 08:10:36 UTC 2015

Hey Alex,

sorry to hear that the business side didn't take off yet, but good to
hear that you decided to share the code of Makeystreet. As said before I
think it a very interesting platform.

A few months ago I had a conversation with Bram Geenen [1], one of the
foudners of Wevolver, [2]. I think both platforms have lots of things in
common, to facilitate open hardware projects to document each
subassembly. The latter is also focusing on the supply side to get
components and kits to the users. They didn't yet share the source code
of the platform, but I suggest you both get in contact to explore how
you could help each other. In a seperate mail I will put you in contact.

Andf I will update your liberating the source code on our Design Sharing
Platforms wiki, [3]. If you would like to present your next phase of
Makeystreet on the Digital DIY site, I'd be glad to help write up a
brief case study with you that we can feature in the
Observatory/resources section, [4].

[1] http://www.didiy.eu/resources/conversation-wevolvers-bram-geenen
[2] https://www.wevolver.com/
[3] http://wiki.freeknowledge.eu/index.php/Design_Sharing_Platforms
[4] http://www.didiy.eu/resources/list



On 02-07-15 23:01, Alex J V wrote:
> Hi Wouter and Matt, 
> Thank you for your response and sorry for the delay in getting back. The
> last couple of months have been really bad for us. We have finally
> decided to close down Makeystreet as a company. As a company we have hit
> the end of the runway. We have been thinking about open sourcing the
> makeystreet codebase for a long time now and after a lot of
> deliberation, we have decided to go ahead and do just that. We should
> probably have done this long time back. Makeystreet code base is open
> source - https://github.com/Makeystreet/makeystreet . There are still
> some rough edges that needs to be fixed(submit issues here -
> https://github.com/Makeystreet/makeystreet/issues). 
> As a company we wanted to "make large scale open source hardware
> happen". The company does not exist anymore but the desire to solve the
> problem(how to make large scale OSHW happen) still exists. 
> *Here is how this problem can be solved:*
> 1) Maintain a platform that hardware engineers can use to collaborate -
> maybe makeystreet, maybe something else
> Details: 
> *The source of project data should be enough for someone else to
> contribute back to the project. Someone else should be able to build on
> top of existing project. A new someone else should be able to further
> build on top of that work. Similar to software projects on github. 
> 2) We need one OSHW project that is successful economically. This
> project should become the north star for all other OSHW projects.
> Details: 
> OS BLDC motor driver 500W-1000W. Get this as the most reliable and the
> most awesome motor driver board that can exist in the world. 
> Build a brand around it. Make money on selling branded boards. 
> How do customers identify if the board is genuine or not? Each motor
> driver comes with a hashed serial number. Customers enter the hashed
> serial number on a brand owned website to register the board. If he/she
> is able to register with the hashed serial number, then the board is
> genuine. If not the board is fake. This way we can avoid the arduino
> situation, where customers want to get the genuine board but it is super
> hard to identify an original board. Anyone who wishes to copy is doing
> free marketing for the project. 
> *If you think this makes any sense, here is where help is needed:*
> 1) identify bugs on makeystreet -
> https://github.com/Makeystreet/makeystreet/issues
> 2) help build an OS electric BLDC motor driver capable of handling up to
> 1500W 60V motor
> *Note:* Most of the things that I am suggesting are merely ideas
> borrowed from the software world. A lot of these ideas are already
> battle tested. 
> Alex
> On Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 9:36 PM, Matt Maier <blueback09 at gmail.com
> <mailto:blueback09 at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     On Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 4:01 AM, Alex J V <alex at makeystreet.com
>     <mailto:alex at makeystreet.com>> wrote:
>         Hi, 
>         I am new to this group. Let me know if I am writing total nonsense. 
>         Here is my thoughts on this matter - 
>         The strongest attribute of OS software is its ability to let you
>         contribute back to the project. To enable others to contribute
>         back to a project, a potential contributor should have access to
>         the source, should be able to edit it, modify it for their own
>         requirement, and then contribute back to the project. 
>         Here is OSHW definition - "Open source hardware is hardware
>         whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can
>         study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware
>         based on that design." To check whether a project is open source
>         or not, I feel the litmus test for OSHW is to check if it is
>         possible for a *subset of people outside of the company that
>         owns the project* to contribute/give back to the project. The
>         subset of people could be defined by people who have access to
>         special hardware, access to proprietary software tools/file
>         formats etc, that is fine. But someone outside the company
>         should be able to add value to the project. 
>     Agreed, but there seems to be a trend of companies letting outsiders
>     "add value" in the sense that they're allowed to report bugs. Very
>     few hardware companies which claim to be open source actually
>     provide the design documents they used to build the hardware. Even
>     when they provide a lot, they tend to leave out crucial details that
>     make it impossible to independently replicate the project. They're
>     open to some new ideas from outsiders, but they're not open
>     competition. That's not really a problem with the tools as much as a
>     problem with the mindset.
>         That is what I think OS software is really good at. Anyone can
>         copy linux or firefox but more importantly anyone can contribute
>         back to it. Contribution is the key word. 
>         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.  
>         *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. 
>     Awesome! I added makeystreet to the list
>     here http://www.wareium.com/home/resources
>     I'm working on the same goal. I'd love to find out more about the
>     backend; how are you structuring your data and how are you
>     processing it.
>         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. 
>     Yup, that definitely seems to be a key feature. Mach 30
>     created https://opendesignengine.net/ specifically to enable the
>     forking of an entire project (documents, wiki, forum, etc) rather
>     than just the design documents. That way you'd not only have the
>     documents, but you'd also have the discussion that went into the
>     decisions behind them. 
>         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>
>     Are y'all located in India, then? One of the things I'm really
>     curious about is how to deal with translating project documentation
>     into different languages. 
>         Alex
>         On Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 1:20 PM, Andrew Back
>         <andrew at carrierdetect.com <mailto:andrew at carrierdetect.com>> wrote:
>             On 19 February 2015 at 20:36, Drew Fustini
>             <pdp7pdp7 at gmail.com <mailto:pdp7pdp7 at gmail.com>> wrote:
>             > Thanks for the great discussion in this thread.  I wanted to follow up
>             > on the Linaro 96boards.org <http://96boards.org> "Open Hardware" issue.  I
>             just watched this
>             > talk from LinaroConnect and
>             > I am frustrated by the comment of Linaro CEO George Grey that it
>             > depends on what one's definition of Open Source Hardware is:
>             > http://youtu.be/e8_MatJ_VR0?t=15m30s
>             > (seek to 15min 30sec)
>             Indeed, "depends on your definition of open source hardware"
>             — and the
>             accompanying smirk adds insult to injury. I also suspect
>             that there
>             would be many who might take offence at the suggestion of
>             the limited
>             capabilities of the "hobbyist with the toaster oven", and he
>             seems to
>             be willfully ignoring the fact that there are numerous more
>             advanced
>             designs out there too, with many layer boards, reasonably
>             powerful
>             32-bit SoCs, FPGAs and RF etc.
>             That said, it's good to see that the 96boards homepage has been
>             updated, but the term open hardware is still used elsewhere.
>             Regards,
>             Andrew
>             --
>             Andrew Back
>             http://carrierdetect.com
>             _______________________________________________
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>         -- 
>         Alex J V
>         @alexjv89
>         www.makeystreet.com/maker/alex
>         <http://www.makeystreet.com/maker/alex>
>         Find modular open source hardware for your project
>         @ makeystreet.com <http://makeystreet.com/>
>         in.linkedin.com/in/alexjv/ <http://in.linkedin.com/in/alexjv/>
>         +91- 886 105 3989(India)
>         _______________________________________________
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>     _______________________________________________
>     discuss mailing list
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> -- 
> Alex J V
> @alexjv89
> www.makeystreet.com/maker/alex <http://www.makeystreet.com/maker/alex>
> Find modular open source hardware for your project @ makeystreet.com
> <http://makeystreet.com/>
> in.linkedin.com/in/alexjv/ <http://in.linkedin.com/in/alexjv/>
> +91- 886 105 3989(India)
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