Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!
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Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by adafruit on Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:19 am

This is big news, for everyone who does open source hardware we finally have something we can put on our pages, stamp on our boards and say THIS is open source hardware! Please visit this page, read the definition and endorse!

http://freedomdefined.org/OSHW

cheers,
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Re: Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by tinsmith on Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:57 am

How will this help? In what way was its lack causing problems, and how will it remedy those problems?
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Re: Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by adafruit on Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:33 pm

tinsmith wrote:How will this help? In what way was its lack causing problems, and how will it remedy those problems?


hi tin,

there was debate about exactly what OSHW was - now it is clearly defined and people can start to choose which license they want to release their project under. the entire community worked together to create a great overview, specific definition and if you review the site - you'll see most/all of the OSHW providers endorsing the 1.0 definition.

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Re: Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by bt2 on Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:38 am

How will this help? In what way was its lack causing problems, and how will it remedy those problems?


It was causing problems because the cool kids didn't like the definition of open source that some were using. Now they can "officially" claim that any project not meeting their definition is not OSH (despite the fact that OSH existed before the cool kids came along). If you follow any of this stuff closely you'll see it's not much different than the drama on a school yard playground.

I'm jaded to the whole thing so I'm going to try to get a site together for the ROSH (Real Open Source Hardware) definition. This is much more lax, and allows things like non-commercial licensing, using closed source header and linkers files from microcontroller vendors, using closed software to develop your projects (e.g. Eagle), using closed sourced commercial parts (yes, I think it's only a matter of time before the OS ideologues start debating about whether we should only be using open source transistors fabricated in our basements).

Open source is supposed to be about sharing ideas and projects, spreading knowledge, collaboration... not guaranteeing someone else can make a profit off of another designer's work (big surprise that the large OSH distributors support that). Just about everyone agrees that it would be wrong to steal a design and sell it without providing any compensation to the original designer, yet there is some odd desire to force this possibility upon designers in the OSH community. The "this usually doesn't happen" canned response here doesn't cut it. If it doesn't happen, why force designers to allow it to possibly happen. It's not different than saying car accidents are rare and usually don't happen, therefore you must not wear a seat-belt. The hard core OSH advocates (who are running the show) walk a strange line between freedom, where every aspect of the design (or at least every aspect currently convenient for them) must be absolutely free, and limitation, where the definition of OSH is dictated down to us and designs must be confined to within that definition. This limits a projects potential, and the last thing I want to be as an engineer and designer is limited.

If you want the freedom to design something without having to worry about which creative commons license you use, or if you want to use say, the Microchip Ethernet Stack (shock horror!) in your project, with the open source spirit of providing the design files and documentation to spread knowledge and ideas and allow other (non-evil) people to utilize your work, use the ROSH. Otherwise you may risk a message from the elite that your design is not really OSH. Real open source advocates should be promoting cool and open projects, not dictating the definition of what open source hardware, software, etc., is down upon designers.
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Re: Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by adafruit on Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:17 am

the best place to discuss these topics is in the OSHW forums:
http://www.openhardwaresummit.org/forum/

bt2 wrote:It was causing problems because the cool kids didn't like the definition of open source that some were using.


everyone doing OSHW that we know has pretty much wanted to use the OSI's excellent OSS definition, adapted for hardware. can you say who specifically doing OSHW did not "like" this? who are the "some people" and what were they using that was different?

http://www.opensource.org/osd.html

bt2 wrote:Now they can "officially" claim that any project not meeting their definition is not OSH (despite the fact that OSH existed before the cool kids came along). If you follow any of this stuff closely you'll see it's not much different than the drama on a school yard playground.


that's not correct, hundreds of people who make hardware worked together to help define what they're doing. you're welcome to discuss this here but do not insult these folks - keep it constructive, thanks!

bt2 wrote:I'm jaded to the whole thing so I'm going to try to get a site together for the ROSH (Real Open Source Hardware) definition. This is much more lax, and allows things like non-commercial licensing, using closed source header and linkers files from microcontroller vendors, using closed software to develop your projects (e.g. Eagle), using closed sourced commercial parts (yes, I think it's only a matter of time before the OS ideologues start debating about whether we should only be using open source transistors fabricated in our basements).


non-commercial use is not open source, for software or hardware - it's that simple.

however, using non-OS tools for OSS or OSHW is ok, not ideal, but ok - there was lots of debate about this but many people use tools like EAGLE to make OSHW. you can use MS WORD to code OSS. ideally we'd have a full OS chain, but we don't yet. if you participated on the mailing lists, forums and events you'd recall all these discussions about "do tools matter?"

the OSHW def 1.0 defines what OSHW is, you can form a license that would encourage only OSS tools, but not many people would use it. however you can't make a license that does not allow commercial use - that would not be OSHW.

no one proposed "open source transistors fabricated in our basements" as a requirement. one example that comes up though - we would like to see an OSHW chip to replace the AVR used in the arduino. maybe one day, parallax made the propeller chip and they're moving towards more OSHW.

bt2 wrote: Open source is supposed to be about sharing ideas and projects, spreading knowledge, collaboration... not guaranteeing someone else can make a profit off of another designer's work (big surprise that the large OSH distributors support that).


there isn't any guarantee for anything, ever - open or closed.

read what OSS is:
http://www.opensource.org/osd.html

=====================================
6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

Rationale: The major intention of this clause is to prohibit license traps that prevent open source from being used commercially. We want commercial users to join our community, not feel excluded from it.
=====================================

you then say "big surprise that the large OSH distributors support that" - ok, who in OSHW is taking people's designs and making profits off of them without working with the designer? please list them here and list the project, be specific.

bt2 wrote:Just about everyone agrees that it would be wrong to steal a design and sell it without providing any compensation to the original designer, yet there is some odd desire to force this possibility upon designers in the OSH community. The "this usually doesn't happen" canned response here doesn't cut it. If it doesn't happen, why force designers to allow it to possibly happen. It's not different than saying car accidents are rare and usually don't happen, therefore you must not wear a seat-belt. The hard core OSH advocates (who are running the show) walk a strange line between freedom, where every aspect of the design (or at least every aspect currently convenient for them) must be absolutely free, and limitation, where the definition of OSH is dictated down to us and designs must be confined to within that definition. This limits a projects potential, and the last thing I want to be as an engineer and designer is limited.


again, examples? which company? who is stealing designs who does OSHW?

you're saying you're concerned about limits, if you work on something that doesn't allow commercial use, that is the biggest and ultimate dead-end for designing and engineering.

the OSHW overview was not dictated, it was worked on by hundreds/thousands of people around the world, it was a long road (still is) with a lot of debate about some of the small details, but the big things were always true: commercial use allowed, attribution, share-alike. you're talking about adding restrictions like *not* allowing commercial use, that's not freedom to do what you want with hardware. imagine needing permission to do something with linux or needing permission to make an arduino derivative or modding apache...

bt2 wrote:If you want the freedom to design something without having to worry about which creative commons license you use, or if you want to use say, the Microchip Ethernet Stack (shock horror!) in your project, with the open source spirit of providing the design files and documentation to spread knowledge and ideas and allow other (non-evil) people to utilize your work, use the ROSH. Otherwise you may risk a message from the elite that your design is not really OSH. Real open source advocates should be promoting cool and open projects, not dictating the definition of what open source hardware, software, etc., is down upon designers.


why didn't you (and why don't you) participate with the OSHW movement over the last 5+ years? if your ideas were solid and valuable for the thousands of people doing OSHW and calling it OSHW they would have been embraced. it's certainly not too late, join the mailing lists, post in the OSHW forums, get involved, prove that what you're proposing is better and needed - everyone wants to make OSHW the best it can be, join in and work towards that. engineers, designers, artists, biz owners, students... all came up with what OSHW is, it's a work in progress, a good one at that too.

throughout the years doing OSHW we were/are and will be frequently called foolish and stupid for giving away all of our "IP". we're looking forward to when it's universally considered cool. most people have stopped arguing about the value of OSS and if it's a good idea to allow commercial use.

you say "Real open source advocates should be promoting cool and open projects" - who hasn't promoted cool and open projects that's considered an OSHW advocate? be specific.

OSHW isn't for everyone, if commercial use isn't a possibility for your project, don't do OSHW or OSS!

the MONOME folks only allow non-commercial use and do hardware, have you seen that project? talked with them? there's also the OHANDA effort that (if we recall correctly) has an option that does not allow commercial? there's something for everyone out there.

we'd love to see others start another effort that defines what they want, and that fits their needs. just keep in mind if you call something "open source" --- everyone who is calling their works OSHW has universally agreed that commercial use is always allowed, "real open source hardware" isn't an accurate term if you will not allow commercial use. there is a lot of "good" in the words "open source" - it means something very very specific, but you'll find no one is likely to help you if you attempt to use it, co-opt it, hijack it and twist it in to something that it is not.

why not call it something else that reflects that you can't use your works commercially? shared-protected, non-commercial hardware or shared non-profit hardware, etc, etc.

usually people use the existing copyright, trademark and patent system when they want those type of protections. but even with those protections something can be cloned. here's a recent example of non-open source hardware getting cloned any way:

http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2011/02/04 ... d-any-way/

cheers,
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Re: Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by bt2 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:19 am

Whether or not a design is likely to be ripped off is besides the point. I agree that it is not likely, that it is impossible to protect a design, etc. but I won't simultaneously claim that ripping off another's work is immoral while mandating that others should promote that possibility on their work. We force designers to give attribution, for example, because we think it is the right thing to do, even if it limits freedom to some degree. I've used open source dual licensed software that was free for open source use and required a purchased license for commercial use, so I'm not sure the software analogy holds. I will change the licensing of my current projects to include commercial use because I agree with you on a practical sense and I want to be officially open source, but still feel those using an open non-commercial license should be considered open source.

I also have to apologize for my previous over the top rant which in part was due to a misunderstanding of the OSHW definition. I read the definition and found that an OSHW license "MAY" require a link between hardware and software. I previously thought it mandated it. Doing so, in my mind would be absurd. Sticking to the software analogy; imagine if you could only use Linux on an open source computer that included open source PCBs, processor, memory, regulators, etc. My design work generally involves circuit design, PCB work, and embedded software work. If my work is open, it should be considered open source, regardless if the parts I use are closed source, if some of the software files are closed source, if the tools I used are closed source, etc. I'm not claiming the transistor I use or a certain linker file I use is open source, I'm claiming my design work is.

Regarding the tools and components and such, I think many in the OSHW community are much too ideological here. I'd rather spend my time coming up with a cool design than trying to build yet another blinking LED project because of being handcuffed to a designs potential. If someone created an open source micro, cool, but I don't see it as being necessary or even useful from anything other than an educational point of view (for those interested in digital silicon design). If I had the choice between using an open source micro or a superior closed source micro, the choice would be a no brainer for me. I'd pick the part better for the design.

I only recently got involved in OSHW after hearing about it on Dave Jones video blog (which linked to one of your guys presentations) and on the Amp Hour (and I believe Dave took issue with the non-commercial clause as well). Before that, I was just doing commercial design professionally, which I still am, but have been generally excited about getting into OS design on the side, even if I have become a bit disillusioned with the movement. But as long as I'm free to use my preferred tools, vendor software libraries, etc., to make the best designs I can (as opposed to a sub-par ideologically perfect design), then I will adhere to the current definition, even if I don't agree with everything in it.
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Re: Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by adafruit on Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:05 am

bt2 wrote: I will change the licensing of my current projects to include commercial use because I agree with you on a practical sense and I want to be officially open source, but still feel those using an open non-commercial license should be considered open source.


a non-commercial license is not open source, it's something else - "open source" means something very very specific. people spent decades on this, open source means commercial use is allowed. try to float the idea of a non-commercial license for linux and see the response in various linux communities, see if anyone is ok with it being called "open source".

bt2 wrote: I also have to apologize for my previous over the top rant which in part was due to a misunderstanding of the OSHW definition. I read the definition and found that an OSHW license "MAY" require a link between hardware and software. I previously thought it mandated it. Doing so, in my mind would be absurd. Sticking to the software analogy; imagine if you could only use Linux on an open source computer that included open source PCBs, processor, memory, regulators, etc. My design work generally involves circuit design, PCB work, and embedded software work. If my work is open, it should be considered open source, regardless if the parts I use are closed source, if some of the software files are closed source, if the tools I used are closed source, etc. I'm not claiming the transistor I use or a certain linker file I use is open source, I'm claiming my design work is.


that's correct! what *you* can open source is the key. you cannot control the chip, or the transistor, etc. we all do the best we can and try to work towards a totally open source hardware project.

bt2 wrote: Regarding the tools and components and such, I think many in the OSHW community are much too ideological here.


who specifically? can you provide examples?

bt2 wrote:I only recently got involved in OSHW after hearing about it on Dave Jones video blog (which linked to one of your guys presentations) and on the Amp Hour (and I believe Dave took issue with the non-commercial clause as well). Before that, I was just doing commercial design professionally, which I still am, but have been generally excited about getting into OS design on the side, even if I have become a bit disillusioned with the movement. But as long as I'm free to use my preferred tools, vendor software libraries, etc., to make the best designs I can (as opposed to a sub-par ideologically perfect design), then I will adhere to the current definition, even if I don't agree with everything in it.


that's cool, welcome! we use EAGLE and windows PCs to make OSHW, so do many others. our soldering iron doesn't have the CAD files posted for it - we do not think the tools matter, but we are all working towards a full OSS chain.

we don't agree with everything in it either yet - OSHW is at 1.0 of the def, we want to get to 1.1 immediately :) - join the forums, mailing lists and the various discussions around the web - it's a great community and everyone would love more folks to join in.

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Re: Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by Philly on Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:15 am

we don't agree with everything in it either yet - OSHW is at 1.0 of the def, we want to get to 1.1 immediately - join the forums, mailing lists and the various discussions around the web - it's a great community and everyone would love more folks to join in.


Care to share?

Im still trying to get my head around all this OSHW definition business.

Out of curiosity, if someone manufactured all your OS designs and sold them cheaper and in a quantity big enough to severely impact your business(unlikely), would you still feel the same? Would you continue? I realise its like a banned - something you have to stick with for life but I cant help but feel that I would have some negative karma if it happened to me.
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Re: Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by adafruit on Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:32 am

you can see our posts and comments on the OSHW list(s) - that's the best place to view and discuss specifics.

Philly wrote:Out of curiosity, if someone manufactured all your OS designs and sold them cheaper and in a quantity big enough to severely impact your business(unlikely), would you still feel the same? Would you continue?


yes, of course. companies and people do this to us now. this isn't a business decision for us - it's something we need to do - that said, it's a great business for us and thousands of other people.

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Re: Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by ColinFitzgerald on Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:13 pm

Hi all!

I've been trying to access the forum and other documents at oshwa.org and the links above, but I'm getting a pile of 404s. Can someone point me in the right direction?

In any case, I'm into starting a OSHW company and want to get in touch with the community!

Thank-you very much!!
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Re: Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

by adafruit_support_mike on Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:46 pm

But as long as I'm free to use my preferred tools, vendor software libraries, etc., to make the best designs I can (as opposed to a sub-par ideologically perfect design), then I will adhere to the current definition, even if I don't agree with everything in it.


See, there's the key issue.. or one of them at least.

Nobody cares whether you use your 'preferred tools, vendor software libraries, etc' to design a product. If they help you do a good job, or you just prefer them, that's cool.

People start caring when the design you release is only useful to (or usable by) people who *also* have that specific set of tools, libraries, etc. In other words, we object to people bundling proprietary requirements into a product and fobbing it off as Open Hardware.

We *really* don't want to see a resurgence of the tactics Microsoft used back in its early "let's adopt 'Open Source' as a marketing term" days.. "We'll give you a license to read the source code, but the code still belongs to us and if you use it you have to pay us royalties (except if you distribute it to other people who have the same licence) and OBTW, if you look at our code then ever develop anything similar we'll be able to claim it as a derivative work. That's 'open', right? I mean, we're letting people see the code and everything."

It's especially relevant in areas where hardware is programmable, like microcontrollers and FPGAs. A software CPU that could work as a drop-in replacement for the Atmel chips at the heart of Arduinos isn't really more Open if the code is written in a proprietary language that only works in the chip vendor's proprietary IDE ($3000 licensing fee, please), even if you do distribute the code itself freely.
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