[Discuss] Free Hardware

Roy Nielsen amrset at gmail.com
Fri Mar 13 16:47:48 UTC 2015


With devices that can put together electronics coming out, the cost is
becoming such that I could get the guy down the street and around the
corner that has something like the http://delta.firepick.org/developers/ to
run a few boards for me.

Manufacturing could come down in price to the point where the cost of
physical manufacturing of open/free designs are within reach of the masses.


On Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 10:25 AM, Mario Gómez <mxgxw.alpha at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Antonie,
> On Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 2:59 AM, Antoine, as a contact of a free
> smallwindturbine project <smallwindturbineproj.contactor at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I'm afraid we may consider the following :
>> Just go back to the article of Mr Stallman, and to the comment of Mario
>> where it said that, compared with digital stuff (software, ...) :
>> > "so commercially made hardware won’t be gratis" (Stallman Wired article)
>> >  "There is no way to reproduce (and that's the key) hardware a zero
>> cost." (Mario Gomez post above)
>> As I've already explain, those assumptions are not fully fair, not fully
>> correct, not fully exact.
>> Why: because, to deliver the software, energy was needed, computer was
>> needed, or pen was needed, host was needed, and so on, the supply chain to
>> design and deliver the software is NOT at zero cost at all. It's an idea
>> you have, but it is not true. If you are very lucky, a free software could
>> be fully sponsored by its supplychain - ie, it will delivered to you gratis
>> by a way gratis on a computer gratis with energy gratis and its running
>> gratis requiring you nothing to do ... lol !!! A free software generated
>> cost. Sometime, part of these costs are sponsored by its supply chain.
> Everything that requires time has a cost. Yes is true that you need a
> webhost, an internet connection, a media to store the software. But the
> marginal cost of making a digital copy or transferring it to the other side
> of the world is so absurdly low that for practical purposes you can say
> that $0 its the best approximation of the reality.
> I mean, when you calculate cost to ship something you consider the total
> costs of the transport, you'll never consider how much is the cost to build
> o maintain the ship, the plane or the road (unless you are required to
> reach places where there is no existing infrastructure and you have to
> build your own, or you are a transport company). If you have an example of
> someone considering this in their costs of their products I would be glad
> to see an example.
> With digital "goods" (I never liked to call a good something that doesn't
> exist in the real world) your "transport" (reproduction) costs are so low
> that you simply don't account them. How much it cost to download 1000
> copies of software? $0.0001 by copy? You don't account that, it doesn't
> make any sense.
> Other thing is the value that the market gives to your digital good. How
> much do you think the people would want to pay for something that they can
> reproduce just hitting Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V? It happens so fast that the people
> consider it effortless.
> This is the way that the market thinks:
> If it happens instantaneously, then no effort was required, then the cost
> must be ZERO.
> We all know that this is not true, we all know that is a falacy, we all
> know that physically is imposible to have things reproduced at a ZERO cost,
> we all think that is unfair that you spent months and thousands of dollars
> developing a piece of sofware and then someone thinks that its fair to give
> you $0 for it because for him it costs almost zero time to get a copy. Well
> I'm sorry to tell you but the market has never been fair. This is the main
> reason why software piracy is never going to disappear is the force of the
> market giving the digital goods their real value, is the materialization of
> the formula that I wrote on my last email.
> The people working (and making profits) from FLOSS figured this long time
> ago. So they are really happy to give their work for free (or at least
> accept that their software can also be obtained for free) and instead
> selling associated services. When you look at the big picture, successful
> companies like RedHat doesn't sell you their sofware, they sell you support
> and integration services so you doesnt have to worry about how to make it
> work.
>> A "Free Libre" non-software tangible thing, could be delivered at cost
>> sponsored for the user, if the supply chain is sponsored (as for a free
>> software): R&D, distribution, installation, etc ... It could exist, even if
>> it sounds more complicated to reach. Sure, the supply chain of a
>> *digitalised documentation* of an hardware, is similar to software supply
>> chain. If the the supply chain of a *digitalised documentation* of an
>> hardware, is sponsored, in the same manner as a free software, then, people
>> will have the feeling "it is gratis", even if it is erroneous.
>> Freely,
>> Antoine
> I think that in this whole thread we are confusing the
> documentation/sources with the physical goods. For me Free/Libre Hardware
> it's a contradiction on its own it simply cannot exists in the real world
> because there is no way for a physical good to have a reproduction cost so
> close to zero that you don't need to account it.
> And I sincerely don't understand what are you discussing here in this
> thread. OSHW is a definition of the Documentation of how-to-build the
> hardware, and that can be perfectly Free/Libre, even if you use modular
> closed-components, the important thing is that the components are available
> and their interfaces are well documented.
> Another different thing is how do you profit from OSHW, how the profits
> are distributed in a peer-production network, how peer-production economies
> could work, how do you incentive the work on certain "boring" areas. I
> think that the people from Sensorica have been doing a lot of work in this
> field. For me there is a lot of misconceptions and on this thread a lot of
> terms have been used completely outside the scope for were they apply and
> are valid.
> Regards,
> Mario.
>> 2015-03-13 3:02 GMT+01:00 timofonic timofonic <timofonic at gmail.com>:
>>> Hello, Nancy.
>>> Wikibooks are great, but those documents aren't nearly as didactical and
>>> easier to read than these copyrighted works. Despite they aren't perfect
>>> and offer simplifications I don't get (I did read a free chapter from the
>>> author on Usenet about getting LT3086 from Linear Technology to make an
>>> adjustable power supply. Its okay, but those are expensive chips and I
>>> would prefer to use discrete electronics), they are easy to read.
>>> I understand writing proper books about electronics or any other
>>> technical stuff without being boring, having good/excellent writing, proper
>>> design and great explainings (so people without proper physics and/or maths
>>> are able to understand it and learn that missing stuff) is a total
>>> challenge and it would require a totally dedicated team of people. After
>>> all Newnes, Cambridge Press and others have tons of money to invest in
>>> writers, graphic artists (okay they are from India and cheap labor, but
>>> still too much to pay) and scientific people fixing the texts. I'm still
>>> not sure if the same QA could be done in a Wiki way, without a strong
>>> project management.
>>> Another idea I had is about didactical games for learning the core
>>> concepts to practical exercises without getting boring. I would like some
>>> kind of mix between "There are no electrons" from Kenn Amdahl, Cisco Binary
>>> Game, the best humour from classic adventure games (Lucas Arts, Sierra and
>>> such) with some kind of adult but not stupid twist, Forrest Mims way, from
>>> basic to intermediate about electronics (like in Art of Electronics) and
>>> interactive exercises from all topics. But that would require a big team of
>>> very dedicated people, a
>>> very-advanced-and-very-educational-classic-style-good-looking-good-playability-and-not-boring-at-all
>>> game aimed to adults is a very difficult challenge, I think.
>>> On Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 4:35 PM, Nancy Ouyang <nancy.ouyang at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> I strongly object to using the term "Free Hardware", as stated
>>>> previously [1]. I hope other people agree with me, or care to explain
>>>> otherwise.
>>>> Timofonic:
>>>> I like the idea of GSoC, but for hardware, or more accurately, for
>>>> developing open-source computer-aided-hardware-design tools and standards /
>>>> standard file formats.
>>>> Wow, what a mouthful. Maybe it's time to poke google.
>>>> 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).
>>>> Re: open books, http://en.wikibooks.org/
>>>> =====
>>>> [1]
>>>>> I do not know the difference between free software and open source
>>>>> software. I assume "OSS" is more business-friendly. I don't
>>>>> particularly
>>>>> care and certainly hope that OSHW does not split in a similarly
>>>>> confusing
>>>>> manner (distinguishing "free hardware" vs "open-source hardware" would
>>>>> *justbe exasperating*).
>>>> http://lists.oshwa.org/pipermail/discuss/2015-March/001461.html
>>>> ~~~
>>>> narwhaledu.com, educational robots
>>>> <http://gfycat.com/ExcitableLeanAkitainu> [[<(._.)>]] my personal blog
>>>> <http://www.orangenarwhals.com>, orangenarwhals
>>>> arvados.org (open source software for provenance, reproducing, and
>>>> scaling your analyses)
>>>> On Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 11:06 AM, Timofonic <timofonic at gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Hello.
>>>>> 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
>>>>>> "free" 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. That 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
>>>>>> this question of "free notion for everything-but-software", will be very
>>>>>> useful for all of us, don't you think ?
>>>>>> Freely,
>>>>>> Antoine
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>>> of the brow" provisos, then there is no real case against property.
>>>>>>> Regarding these arguments, although it's not specifically 'libre', a
>>>>>>> good 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 are 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 w as
>>>>>>> in charge 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 moral
>>>>>>>> imperative. I never understood that part of Stallman's argument.
>>>>>>>> He always said that hardware wasn't relevant to Free Software. It
>>>>>>>> looks like he's changing his mind because proprietary hardware might make
>>>>>>>> it 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
>>>>>>>> inescapably immoral merely because they didn't give up control. I don't
>>>>>>>> think there's much of a precedent in philosophy for the idea that it's
>>>>>>>> inherently wrong to control the thing you created. If you add something to
>>>>>>>> the world the only reason anybody can have a discussion about whether or
>>>>>>>> not you should give it away is because you made it in the first place.
>>>>>>>> Seems like creation is a prerequisite to sharing.
>>>>>>>> Of course, I strongly encourage sharing :)
>>>>>>>> On Mar 11, 2015 1:01 PM, "Emilio Velis" <contacto at emiliovelis.com>
>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Not to mention the lack of viability in most cases of jumping
>>>>>>>>> right into 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
>>>>>>>>> property (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"
>>>>>>>>>> http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/15/03/11/1648243/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.
>>>>>>>>>> That’s
>>>>>>>>>> simple: it means a design that permits users to use the design
>>>>>>>>>> (i.e.,
>>>>>>>>>> fabricate hardware from it) and to copy and redistribute it, with
>>>>>>>>>> or
>>>>>>>>>> without changes. The design must provide the same four freedoms
>>>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>>>> define free software."
>>>>>>>>>> I do like the philosophy behind it, but I am afraid the
>>>>>>>>>> introduction
>>>>>>>>>> of the term "Free Hardware" will increase confusion about hardware
>>>>>>>>>> licensing.
>>>>>>>>>> cheers,
>>>>>>>>>> drew
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