[Discuss] Free Hardware

Timofonic timofonic at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 15:06:08 UTC 2015


I'm new at electronics, but I was thinking about it.

I have some questions about Free/Open Hardware, maybe even full of radical thinking:

- Can IC based designs be considered as Free Hardware if the design and manufacture process aren't free too? I have some simple examples: lm237-based adjustable power supply vs one using only discrete components (are those patents expired?  Another issue), computer hardware such as Raspberry Pi using free schematics but proprietary components (CPU and others).

- Can computer systems with open source  schematics and PCB not full featured open source hardware drivers be considered as Open Hardware? Raspberry Pi or an hypothetical Open Hardware AMD-based motherboard with ported Coreboot, but opensource hardware drivers a lot behind the proprietary ones, OpenPandora/Dragon using PowerVR GPU without proper Open Source hardware drivers.

- Free Hardware designs but using proprietary software such as DipTrace/Eagle/Altium/CircuitMaker/Other.

- Are there some kind of planning for priorities of projects to be done and some effective way to incentivate it? For example, something similar to GSoC but for hardware.

- What about Free/Open Hardware tes tools? High precision power supplies and multimeters, soldering iron stations, oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, CNC, UV PCB exposure boxes...

- What about Free/Open Hardware from the ground up? High quality open learning material: 
--Open Books: different levels from basic for children (no idea about available material, sorry) and adults such as  works from Forrest Mims  to complete (think of something like Art of Electronics and Practical Electronics for Inventors) and advanced, organize translations , didactical games even for adults but not dummy ones, practices, volunteering tutors for learning aid to people interested on Free/Open hardware but having issues with the learning process and collaboration with learning centers (schools, colleges, vocational training schools, universities...).
-- Software: EDA (KiCad and FreeEDA looks promising) and a solid interoperability file format initiative similar to IDF and OpenDocument, favouring development of new tools and good project management.

Kind regards. 

El 12 de marzo de 2015 12:15:20 CET, "Antoine, as a contact of a free smallwindturbine project" <smallwindturbineproj.contactor at gmail.com> escribió:
>Excuse me all, but I just would like to write this: the question of
>for everything-but-software, is a right question, with or without
>philosophical inputs, with or without pro or cons arguments.
>For instance, the level of requirements of GNU-GPL terms and
>conditions, is
>not yet completely replicated and reach into the non-software univers.
>is a fact.
>The question is: is it possible to reach such a level of GNU-GPL for
>everything-but-software, and how could it be reach ?
>The question should not be: reaching such a level, is it good or bad ?
>Works, publications, of FSF or their representatives or members, on
>question of "free notion for everything-but-software", will be very
>for all of us, don't you think ?
>2015-03-11 21:28 GMT+01:00 Emilio Velis <contacto at emiliovelis.com>:
>> If you don't have a strong philosophical argument against the "sweat
>> the brow" provisos, then there is no real case against property.
>> Regarding these arguments, although it's not specifically 'libre', a
>> case for hardware as part of the commons and peer production is laid
>out by
>> Michel Bauwens in his FLOK research paper about transitioning to a
>> commons-based society:
>> https://floksociety.co-ment.com/text/xMHsm6YpVgI/view/. I think there
>> more on the subject on that project, but there are so many papers
>that I
>> lost track of all of them. I think it was George Dafermos who was in
>> of developing the model for commons-based production.
>> On 11 March 2015 at 14:18, Matt Maier <blueback09 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> It's also confusing that in an argument based on pure morality, the
>>> conclusion is somehow that because something is too hard it is not a
>>> imperative. I never understood that part of Stallman's argument.
>>> He always said that hardware wasn't relevant to Free Software. It
>>> like he's changing his mind because proprietary hardware might make
>>> impossible to run Free Software.
>>> I've never heard a good argument for why a thing MUST be libre.
>Taking it
>>> to that extreme seems like it just discourages creation. It means
>that the
>>> creator has to give up control of their creation or they're
>>> immoral merely because they didn't give up control. I don't think
>>> much of a precedent in philosophy for the idea that it's inherently
>>> to control the thing you created. If you add something to the world
>>> only reason anybody can have a discussion about whether or not you
>>> give it away is because you made it in the first place. Seems like
>>> is a prerequisite to sharing.
>>> Of course, I strongly encourage sharing :)
>>> On Mar 11, 2015 1:01 PM, "Emilio Velis" <contacto at emiliovelis.com>
>>>> Not to mention the lack of viability in most cases of jumping right
>>>> that definition without any context. I think that any 'free'
>endeavor of
>>>> the sort should not be derived from a philosophical standpoint on
>>>> intangibles, but rather on the study of philosophy behind private
>>>> (perhaps an anti-Lockean view). Drawing a software-hardware
>parallel is
>>>> confusing to say the least.
>>>> On 11 March 2015 at 13:57, Drew Fustini <pdp7pdp7 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> hmm, just saw this on Slashdot:
>>>>> "Why We Need Free Digital Hardware Designs"
>>>>> Links to Wired:
>>>>> http://www.wired.com/2015/03/need-free-digital-hardware-designs/
>>>>> It appears to me that Richard Stallman wrote this article.
>>>>> Here is a quote:
>>>>> "the concept we really need is that of a free hardware design.
>>>>> simple: it means a design that permits users to use the design
>>>>> fabricate hardware from it) and to copy and redistribute it, with
>>>>> without changes. The design must provide the same four freedoms
>>>>> define free software."
>>>>> I do like the philosophy behind it, but I am afraid the
>>>>> of the term "Free Hardware" will increase confusion about hardware
>>>>> licensing.
>>>>> cheers,
>>>>> drew
>>>>> _______________________________________________
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