[Discuss] Free Hardware

Javier Serrano Javier.Serrano at cern.ch
Thu Mar 12 16:13:46 UTC 2015

On 03/12/2015 04:35 PM, Nancy Ouyang wrote:
> Anyway, I'm pretty distressed by the millions of dollars being poured
> into closed-source 123D, Circuitmaker, OnShape and the continued lack of
> interoperability in circuit design land. (also in my opinion we should
> explicitly search for UI/design contributors... I think prioritizing
> usability could even give open-source tools a lead in EDA).

I think that's only part of the problem. So far as the baker in my
neighborhood insists on getting euros in exchange for his baguettes, I
will need to find a way to be paid for at least some of my work :) The
same is true for the developers of KiCad, FreeCAD and other free
software tools for hardware design. These tools have gotten to an
incredible state in terms of features and quality, given the almost
complete absence of monetary rewards for the work people put in, but
they still have a long way to go. You can only prioritize usability, as
you suggest, if you have people ready to do the coding. There is a limit
to what people will do for free-as-in-beer, not because they are greedy
(an otherwise very human condition) but because they need to eat, pay
rents, dress kids, etc. If we find a way to inject even a small fraction
of the millions of dollars you mention into free tool development, I
think the results could be game-changing. Maybe OSHWA could play a role
here, as the FSF did with the development of gcc, emacs and other
components necessary for the development of free software.



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