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Open Source Hardware Hits 1.0

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the ok-now-where's-the-pilot-light? dept.

Hardware 59

ptorrone writes "The Open Source Hardware Statement of Principles and Open Source Hardware Definition have hit 1.0. Open Source Hardware is a term for tangible artifacts — machines, devices, or other physical things — whose design has been released to the public in such a way that anyone can make, modify, distribute, and use those things. This definition is intended to help provide guidelines for the development and evaluation of licenses for Open Source Hardware. The top open hardware electronics pioneers and companies have endorsed the 1.0 definition, and next up will be logo selection."

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59 comments

It's open source so... (0)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169222)

Why not just bring your own logo?

Re:It's open source so... (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170738)

Okay, I can't be the only one thinking that an OPEN SOURCE logo is going to see a great deal of images that look like this ...

http://unintentionalgoatse.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/westnet-logo-goatse/ [wordpress.com]

Re:It's open source so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35172352)

I took a chance on the link... looked around because I didn't get it... almost spit up my coffee when I saw it.... that's pretty damn funny. Cheers!

Arduino documentary (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169224)

On a side tangent here, if you're into open hardware, check out this (free!) online documentary about the Arduino. It's worth a watch.
http://arduinothedocumentary.org/ [arduinothe...entary.org]

Re:Arduino documentary (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169522)

Small tangent, but on topic in my opinion. The first speaker. Is is accent really so strong that it needs subtitles?

Re:Arduino documentary (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170152)

Is arduino open source hardware according to the new definition?

Re:Arduino documentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35173452)

Take a wild guess :)

Arduino is one of the groups who wrote the definition and signed it...

m

Logo Competiton (1)

JSG (82708) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169226)

seems to be the real output from this initiative, given the top post. Perhaps I ought to read the links just in case there is something more tangible ...

1.0... of a set of principles (3, Funny)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169236)

So, it's not a product. It's not even a design for a product. It's an agreement for what you might do if you had an idea for a product. (It's a little hard to tell, because as far as I can tell, it's hosted on a non-open-hardware Commodore 64. Maybe if it were implemented on Open Hardware the web server might actually serve up the page.)

Whatever it is, it seems to be evolving fast, because it's at 1.1 already. It'll probably be thoroughly mature and passe before breakfast tomorrow.

Re:1.0... of a set of principles (0)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169420)

The concept is pretty much stillborn anyway. Open source software thrives on the ability of people to apply a patch and compile it themselves or at least download some precompiled binary. I suppose you can download a FPGA design and use/tweak that, but only an extremely small subset of users have access to one of those. For anything else you pretty much need a company to do production runs and sell them so if they reject your changes it's very hard to get it into an actual product.

And unlike a bad patch that you can revert a bad design can cause subtle failure with massive recalls and losses, Intel just had a billion dollar one. No sane company will accept random patches to a hardware design without a lot of validation and testing, things that cost lots and lots of money. So it might be open for some other reasonably sized company but it's not very open for you, personally. And that sort of defeats the purpose IMO.

Re:1.0... of a set of principles (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169532)

I dont know about that...

One place this might shine would be archetectural plans.

An open library of archetectural plans would leverage structural designs for a host of potential markets, not all of which would need to be tangible. (Yes, I know this is a thing of the devil, I don't care.) Take for instance, virtual world environments like Second Life, or even just FPS shooters created under open licenses. Archetectural drawings are for more than just houses; they include manufacturing centers, office buildings, etc--- a free and easily accessible/modifyable archive of them would greatly fascilitate startup businesses or home builders (who would then not have to hire an architect to design their building, but only to vet the design), but also any software projects that might be able to make use of such detailed plans.

This wouldnt negate "all" costs, but pre-vetted designs would be essentially free, and due to license requirements any modified designs that get vetted would be added to the archive as well. Eventually you would have building plans for just about every concievable purpose, and that's just architecture.

Re:1.0... of a set of principles (2)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170068)

Open source architecture? I don't think so. A library of ideas is one thing, but having a general contractor build something based on the drawings of someone who is not necessarily a licensed architect/engineer, who may not even be in the country of manufacture, is just asking for liability problems. Seriously. Unless you're talking about sheds or other inconsequential buildings, I don't see this passing legal muster, either.

You still need to hire the architect and/or civil engineer to sign off on the drawings. And they'll need to crunch all the numbers. And random patches are not going to be accepted, period.

I like the idea of open-source hardware. I'm just not seeing a practical side yet.

Re:1.0... of a set of principles (1)

pointybits (818856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169848)

Like open source software it's not just being able to change the design, it's having access to the full internal details of the product. Companies are encouraged to produce open-designed hardware or variants of it because it's cheaper than designing new hardware and marketing it from scratch, and when you buy it you get the full details of how it was made, so you can easily use, repair, reprogram and extend it without having to beg implementation details from a vendor who is uncooperative because they're trying to shield their proprietary designs from competitors.

Look at what Seeedstudio are doing with Arduino boards for example; they have taken the open-source Arduino design and extended it in interesting ways (Seeeduino Film for example) and they publish the full circuit diagrams, board layouts and firmware so if you want to mod or fix their boards you can.

Re:1.0... of a set of principles (1)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175894)

Like open source software it's not just being able to change the design, it's having access to the full internal details of the product. Companies are encouraged to produce open-designed hardware or variants of it because it's cheaper than designing new hardware and marketing it from scratch, and when you buy it you get the full details of how it was made, so you can easily use, repair, reprogram and extend it without having to beg implementation details from a vendor who is uncooperative because they're trying to shield their proprietary designs from competitors.

If the documentation for any particular piece of open-source hardware is as bad as the same for most open-source software, I say: no thanks. The whole point of this is to save time, and if I have to waste time figuring out interfaces and verifying that the open-source design does as advertised on the tin, well, I will just do it myself.

Look at what Seeedstudio are doing with Arduino boards for example; they have taken the open-source Arduino design and extended it in interesting ways (Seeeduino Film for example) and they publish the full circuit diagrams, board layouts and firmware so if you want to mod or fix their boards you can.

What people keep forgetting is that Arduino is a trivial microcontroller eval board. It's really no different from a Silicon Labs kit, except that SiLabs markets their kits to actual engineers (people who do it for a living) and they're not trying to surf this absurd wave of "open source hardware."

Re:1.0... of a set of principles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35170894)

I really don't agree. The OpenRISC platform www.opencores/openrisc is used by both hobbyists and companies. There are a lot of things in that anyone can help improving, without even owning a physical FPGA. And yes, no sane company will accept random patches to a hardware design, but then on the other hand, isn't it the same thing with, for example the linux kernel? The key is that you need people with knowledge to review the patches and test the stuff.

It's a bit sad that open source hardware hasn't gained more attraction. Every one seems to settle with the closed source chips, and if there are hardware bugs, they try to work around them instead of fixing them.

Re:1.0... of a set of principles (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35169490)

It's like Creative Commons but for hardware projects. If you don't know the principal meaning of open hardware, you could familiarize yourself with e.g. Arduino: The Documentary. [arduinothe...entary.org]

Of course the term "hardware" encompasses more than just electronics, but usually those designs tend to be the most closed ones due to the wide selection and high pricing of available EDA software.

Re:1.0... of a set of principles (3, Insightful)

phooky (645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169730)

Perhaps you should browse the list of endorsers, which includes many companies that are already offering products and designs which are in accordance with the principles. This isn't philosophical wanking; it's an attempt to refine and protect a movement that's been active for years.

Re:1.0... of a set of principles (1)

smoothnorman (1670542) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175544)

But watch very closely who gets to approve the sticker "Open Source Hardware Inside!" A job offer here... a project supported there... and then a small set of private interests are determining what "Open Source Hardware" means. ("so we can't get the information to write drivers for this open source hardware device?" "sure you can! you just need to download and approve this EUA and install this small object code library")

Re:1.0... of a set of principles (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174468)

a general form of open hardware was there when they gave you schematics for the electronic stuff you bought, or the maintenance manual for your car. If our rulers really cared for out planet and our wallet the production of goods would have a modularization and compliance to standards phase.

Nice presentation (1)

JSG (82708) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169306)

Is that really the best presentation that can be done?

A huge mass of turgid text.

I'll grant you that its a good^H^H^H^Hfair defence against a /.ing but they probably have more than a modem to connect to the interwebs.

Cheers
Jon

I don't want to be the bad guy, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35169326)

I'll ask the question that should be asked. May be open source software works, but can hardware really work as open sourced? We know the majority of successful FOSS out there is backed by business (Red Hat, Linux, etc). Will there be businesses actually backing open source hardware?

I certainly hope so, but I want to hear some opinions.

Re:I don't want to be the bad guy, but... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169348)

Some of it already exists. I think some SPARC CPUs were open.

Re:I don't want to be the bad guy, but... (4, Interesting)

BillX (307153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169924)

It's still early if the definition of open source hardware is only official as of today, but a number of open-source-friendly hardware companies exist today - Sparkfun, Adafruit and the Arduino universe are probably the most well-known examples. It's definitely too early to say whether the Big Boys will get in on it, but it'll be exciting to find out in anycase.

An aside - who says it needs to be backed by business? I think the real story behind an "open source hardware definition" is that someone(s) are serious enough about it to lay the groundwork while the idea is still in its infancy, and expect it to begin really taking off. The difference between hardware and the FOSS we already know and love, as others have pointed out, is that hardware has real material costs while tinkering in software is free... but that is changing rapidly, too. Nowadays you can pick up Arduino-style devkits for $30 or spin your own PCBs for well under $100 USD, and open-source personal fabrication tools are at the cusp of exploding. That is, 3D printers for under $1k, laser cutters and CNC mills for a few hundred, pick and place robots for comparable (coming soon!). The wall to entry vs. pure software FOSS is still there, but getting shorter all the time.

Re:I don't want to be the bad guy, but... (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170800)

An aside - who says it needs to be backed by business?

If you need to have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in manufacturing equipment to produce a piece of "open hardware," it's gonna be pretty hard to get there without having a business backing you - the market for "open source wooden spoons" ("Whittled by inmates on death row from virgin balsa wood!") is probably pretty small.

Re:I don't want to be the bad guy, but... (1)

commlinx (1068272) | more than 3 years ago | (#35171080)

Sure but you don't need to own that equipment yourself, and smallish runs of PCBs can come in under $100 loaded with components (obviously depending on complexity) in which case you don't really need any equipment at all. Sure in practice you'll probably drop a few grand on test and prototyping gear to test the hardware first, but that's not much different in cost to a decent software development rig.

When all the design files are available there are plenty of small manufacturers that will do all the hardware stuff start to finish. Sure they'll charge setup fees, but I've had that done for around $1K (minus components) so for simpler projects you only need 10 friends / colleauges / customers / club members and it all starts to become cost effective. Not versus consumer products, but against niche products like say a vehicle telemetry system where your local racing club might not want to pay for a system that's aimed at Formula I teams.

I'd like to open source some hardware of mine. (3, Funny)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169386)

I have a coil of wire that I would like to donate to the project. I call it an "inductor" because I wrapped it on the INside of a roll of DUCT tape OR similar.
I also have a pencil broken in half with a wire glued on one end and another wire that you can "wipe" up and down the black graphite center... I call it a "variable resistor" for some reason...but in any case... I hereby release it to be OPEN HARDWARE!
yay!

Congratulations! (1)

joebob2000 (840395) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169492)

I have a coil of wire that I would like to donate to the project. I call it an "inductor" because I wrapped it on the INside of a roll of DUCT tape OR similar. I also have a pencil broken in half with a wire glued on one end and another wire that you can "wipe" up and down the black graphite center... I call it a "variable resistor" for some reason...but in any case... I hereby release it to be OPEN HARDWARE! yay!

The quality of your work has earned you the title "Maker".

Re:Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35171858)

ooh a drive reader

Re:Congratulations! (1)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35176110)

I have a coil of wire that I would like to donate to the project. I call it an "inductor" because I wrapped it on the INside of a roll of DUCT tape OR similar. I also have a pencil broken in half with a wire glued on one end and another wire that you can "wipe" up and down the black graphite center... I call it a "variable resistor" for some reason...but in any case... I hereby release it to be OPEN HARDWARE! yay!

The quality of your work has earned you the title "Maker".

Where are my mod points when I need them!

Re:I'd like to open source some hardware of mine. (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169646)

I'll add to this my tinfoil wrapped soda bottle filled with salt water, which I call a capacitor, and the highly polished chinese wok which I call a solar collector!

Soon we'll be able to build a rube-goldbergian technocratic empire!

Re:I'd like to open source some hardware of mine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35169944)

I'll add to this my tinfoil wrapped soda bottle filled with salt water, which I call a capacitor.

I'll throw in my bottle too, which is covered in macaroni and gold paint.
It doesn't really do anything. I guess it's just art. Wait, what is it we're building here?

Re:I'd like to open source some hardware of mine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35172134)

If you need a resistor, I have a block of wood here.

this will take off big. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35169428)

No, really, it will!

Limited but still damn good (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35169442)

Digital designs that can be implemented with FPGA is a lot like software, but when it comes to optical drives and others that are electro-mechanical or analog, being open-source won't have the same effect.

Eh, all the same, I applaud the effort. Open society demands open technology.

Re:Limited but still damn good (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170262)

"when it comes to optical drives and others that are electro-mechanical or analog, being open-source won't have the same effect. "

It could, if there was any appetite for developing open specifications/language for digital control systems (beyond simple PID setups.) But that would involve actually understanding differential equations and frequency domain math, and horror of horrors, hard real-time systems. That tends to send the lego kids back to their soldering dishes to hide among the rosen fumes.

As it is, opensource robotics dead-ends at reverse kinematics.

See also open manufacturing... (2)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170006)

Re:See also open manufacturing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35170264)

"A 21st century issue: the irony of technologies of abundance in the hands of those thinking in terms of scarcity."

Do you think oil is unlimited? Energy unlimited? Then we live in a world of scarcity. It is delusional and childish to think otherwise.

Re:See also open manufacturing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35171912)

No we live in a world of made scarcity and made abundance everything else you get told is plainly untrue.
there are plenty of resources we happen to spend it on the wrong thing's like the way we use tech-equipments as disposable

and if i look at the way we use oil IT DOES seem we have unlimited supply since there is absolutley NO effort to of using it carfully and responsible.
nor is there any effort taken to reduce or make any of the oil processes more effecient since this would undermine the business model of the oil industry.

and YES energy is unlimited unless ofcourse you have some black hole laying around.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_energy
(earth ofcourse is no closed system matter gets added every day in amount of ton's from space)

since it never gets distroyed nor made just changed from one form to another thats the whole idea at least.
sun, wind, tidel, thermo energy aren't going away either. and propably plenty of sources that would make some people a whole lot or actualy 0 $$ wich is exactly why no effort is made.

now the cool thing of open hardware is that not only can stuff be updated but all parts can be salvaged and be used as resource again given they aren't broken physicaly .
so instead of a waste deposit you could have a RESOURCE deposit

for those that like to play with electronics
ALL information of ALL components available datasheets ,pcb design

now you all have closed source parts one thing broken and you trow it away even when it's a 0.01$ part that failed
in case of smart/ phone the LCD screen got useless since it had a Closed hardware controller with no datasheet on it
NO shematic on the LCD so you could hook it to linux with lcd4linux or other cool.

nope instead all those phones, laptop's and other crap just have to be landfill waste for next 100's of years or send it back to china where it came from to let them dismantle .

the only people that would be bored are people like that like reverse enegenering hardware (egg ps3 ) because they can.

Re:See also open manufacturing... (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35195362)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_parity [wikipedia.org]
"The fully-loaded cost (not price) of solar electricity is $0.25/kWh or less in most of the OECD countries. By late 2011, the fully-loaded cost is likely to fall below $0.15/kWh for most of the OECD and reach $0.10/kWh in sunnier regions. These cost levels are driving some emerging trends:[8] ... Oerlikon Solar announced in 2010 that its 'ThinFab' production line is capable of manufacturing 143Wp panels at a cost of 0.5 euro per watt (0.64 dollars per watt) and has a capacity of 120MW per year. The company also claims that its production plants have very low energy consumption rates, so that the energy payback time of its 10% efficient, silicon thin-film modules is less than one year.[12]"

Who has been telling you otherwise, and why?

Eventually we will have 3D printing systems that probably can also recycle plastic and reuse it, as well as print out plastic solar panels to power them, and print out equipment to produce plastic...

Economics (1)

vosester (1163269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170260)

I use to think that the economics for open source hardware cloud not work, but a while back I thought about it.

One way would be for the R&D to be done by a community. Licensed to manufactures at fixed rates to recoup cost, kinda like a non-profit, any surplus could go to new or related projects.

Manufactures could build the designs. The market would be leveled because it's not who has the biggest patients or latest tech anymore, But who can make the most cost effective/efficient component.

Efficiency is the new selling point for hardware, So the marketing would not be that difficult for the masses to understand.

Obversely there world be resistant from the old guard but what's new there.

I know the situation is a lot more complex than I just stated, But you know the old Einstein quote about simplicity/complexity.

This needs to get fast tracked... (1)

ClaudeVMS (637469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170306)

Remember Palladium and the "Fritz Chip?" With all the bit torrent sites and Jayjays Free WebTV "disappearing" like a people did in South America in the 1950s we need to build some Kryptonite to counter the government or their corporate shills will be our system manufactures and administrators. I guess I said too much already...

Will it work? (1)

noobermin (1950642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170340)

So may be some people will fund open source programs but hardware? The pull of proprietary is stronger in the hardware realm it seems and the "open" people there seem closer to the "hobbyist" side.

Great news. (2)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170706)

I run a company that produces what we term open source hardware, and the open hardware definition takes a stab at providing a framework that individuals and companies can use to release a hardware/software project. The key ingredients are (a) that you must provide source code and design files sufficient to allow someone to build/extend your device, (b) that there can be no non-commercial restrictions (for example, "You can build one for yourself, but don't you dare make them for others", and (c) that any devices based on the source code and design files must be released under a similar license.

Up to this point, we've had to license the hardware designs, schematics, and code are provided under the GPL v3, and then release the documentation, schematics, panels, and illustrations under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license. It's a mess that doesn't work well with nebulous concepts like case design and control panel layouts.

Re:Great news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35171064)

I don't quite understand. If the licenses don't work for you, then why do you HAVE to release your stuff under them? Isn't the license just a bunch of text that you downloaded from the Internet and stuffed in with all the other stuff? It's not like you register it with some central authority. I mean, if essentially all you want is your stuff to be open, can't you just attach a sticky note that says "you can share this stuff, but give us credit, and make sure it stays open when you share it. Also include copies of this note. Thnx"

Re:Great news. (1)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174358)

That's basically what we ended up doing by releasing files under several different licenses. This is where the the open source hardware definition is important -- it encapsulates a consistent set of use terms for both hardware and software IP.

So where is it? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35170924)

I've been hearing about open hardware for a good decade now, so where is it? Where's the patent-free 500mhz MIPS CPU based tablet that runs on AA batteries, maybe with with a 32 shade grey scale b+w LCD (no backlite needed)?

if you fab it, they will come.

I'm sure there are chinese manufacturers out there who would love a tablet they can manufacture initially locally, without license or royalty payments. Hell the government has that as a major goal.

So with the innumerable products coming out every year why haven't we seen even one based on open hardware?

Re:So where is it? (1)

trickyD1ck (1313117) | more than 3 years ago | (#35178030)

Because it is not profitable/noone has incentive to do this/there is no demand. So no, they will not fab this, and noone will come. If open-source hardware made any sense, it would already be here. There would be no need for manifestos, logo contests, or "pushing." Why would a chinese company would want to do this and enjoy no competitive advantage and the corresponding 0.01% profits? A government? Right, those are well-known for innovativeness and efficiency.

Re:So where is it? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35183266)

If open-source hardware made any sense, it would already be here.

An idiotic assertion... Nothing is here until it its created. Not everything that can be made, has been made. Not every good idea had yet been realized. The demand its not there because you can't expect purple to demand a theoretical product that doesn't exist. One it's created, we will see if there is demand.

Why would a chinese company would want to do this and enjoy no competitive advantage and the corresponding 0.01% profits? A government? Right, those are well-known for innovativeness and efficiency.

Dvd players are a complete refutation of your above assertion. profits are terrible due to the heavy patent license fees, yet companies are rising to make them. their tony profit margins are better than the nothing they were getting before. And the government initially subsidized the factories building dvd players specifically because they wanted their populace to have cheap electronics available domestically. There done the same thing with the Dragon Chip, and many, many others.

chinese companies would love such a product without license fees, far more than they like dvd players, yet they churn those out for $20 a shot.

And cell phones are another good example. The no named chinese companies are turning out $50 smart phones ruining Android, at next to no profit, with no differentiation, while the big names are making vastly more profits... Yet the no name chinese companies keep churning them out, even with the royalties they have to party on the underlying tech. They'd love to be rid of those fixed fees they get nothing out of and only inhibit their business. And when the fees drop, and the device prices can be lowered even further, new markets will open, creating all nw demand, ala EEE PC

Re:So where is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35178558)

It's possible that software companies are afraid that explicitly promoting the use of OSH could lead to cass where courts rule that the act of promoting and running code through open source hardware automatically "opens" the code and makes it free to distribute. These sorts of fears have been around in the software world for years; it's not unreasonable to think the hardware industry might be having some of its own.

On the other hand, building a completely license-free product is going to be extremely difficult. Products like RAM and integrated video are typically protected by an army of patents, each of which would have to be negotiated around and accounted for. This sort of due diligence wouldn't prevent a patent holder from suing the manufacturer, either, should a company with an unknown patent suddenly step forward and claim infringement.

Re:So where is it? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35183178)

Products like RAM and integrated video are typically protected by an army of patents,

You clearly missed my meaning. I'm referring to something decidedly low end. Something that is dirt cheap, but more than capable of being a good ebook reader, though it won't compete with saxophones on the few high end features like h.264 video playback.

Its only at the high end where patents are a hindrance. 2D graphics is easy. Basic 3d has been around well over 20 years now, too. Jurassic Park comes to mind, on sgi they were probably using open gl as well.

Ditto for memory. You might not get the fastest or lowest power memory, but it will be plenty fast for a low end device.

Joking aside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35171376)

I have only one project "Open Source Hardware" that I've used (and its covered under the GPL license, although I don't know if thats exactly what "Open Source Hardware" is, but I digress: I built a Grey-Hoverman antenna. Its a knockoff of a Hoverman antenna, which was patented, but the patent expired quite a few years ago. About 3 years ago, some hardware developers wanted a nice DTV antenna, and found the Hoverman. They enhanced it (signal generator, faraday cage, signal processors, bode plots, and a lot of experimentation with reflector elements, lengths etc.). They released the plans (again, under the GPL). I build one. I can watch TV from 90 miles away (its fuzzy, but 90 miles is beyond fringe, and beyond line of sight for VHF or UHF, 610 meter high broadcast towers have a line of sight to the horizon of 54.758 miles, I'm getting signal 36 miles beyond that, and I don't think the broadcast tower there is 2000 feet high). --remember that only HF can refract 'skip' on the ionosphere, higher frequencies like VHF and UHF punch right through the ionisphere, and behave like ray optics (all line of sight). ...and yet this antenna pulls it in. If some of the other stuff is like the hardware I built, then there is nothing wrong with 'open source hardware'.

A bit late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174242)

I'd have though open source hardware hit 1.0 back when Sun opened up Sparc (beginning with, iirc, the T1/Niagara). There have been third party Sparc products (Leon produces scaled down T1s and T2s, there are others as well) floating around for quite a while.

The sad thing is, ultimately it didn't hurt their hardware sales, because nobody cares about open source hardware, not even RMS (he runs a Longsoon MIPS knockoff not because it's open or free (it isn't) but because (paraphrased) Windows won't run on it (NT historically ran on MIPS and CE has for a long, long time). When you can't get even RMS to give a rat's ass about open hardware, you're going to have a tough time getting anyone else to care.

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